Stop Two – VBAC By Numbers
Because we are not taught to cope well with ‘unknowns’ in life (and because the VBAC journey is full of them), it can be tempting to look for a ‘VBAC by numbers’ solution thinking also that a VBAC will automatically be an empowering experience in and of itself. And, I totally understand why this shortcut is so tempting, especially when we all have small children, minimal research time and a craving for VBAC Hacks which will make life easier!
The ‘VBAC By Numbers’ set of instructions for empowered birth often looks like this:
- Consider choosing to birth in a birthing centre or at home
- Employ the services of a VBAC-friendly care provider
- Do a lot of research and read a lot of stories
- Gather stats – lots of stats
- Find professional support and assemble a birth team
- Keep your physical body fit and healthy
- Face your personal demons re ‘What Happened Last Time’ (and any others)
All of these steps are absolutely important and integral to planning an empowered VBAC. Everyone who is serious about planning a VBAC is well-advised to work through these things (plus a few extras which I will cover in a separate post!). So, please do go forth and consider doing at least one, some or all of these things.
However, here’s the harsh reality check… Ticking off all of these things and then assuming this will guarantee a VBAC outcome and/or an empowered birth is, unfortunately, ironic. Whilst a VBAC preparation list is something you can google and work through without any personal reflection at all, if you miss that opportunity for personal reflection, you have also missed a chance to practise being empowered.
The other problem with the ‘VBAC by numbers’ mentality is the danger of switching one form of outsourced responsibility for another – if you blindly follow a ‘How to Plan a VBAC’ list, you are not necessarily any better off than you are when blindly following the advice of a care provider. If you want to be empowered, you must question everything (including this blog post!) and come to your own conclusions. The second you stop thinking for yourself is the second you risk becoming disempowered.
Working through any list of dot points (like the one above) is totally fine as part of an ongoing process – a work in progress which is your own journey to empowerment. But, once you’ve exhausted the ‘How to Plan a VBAC’ list, keep going! Stay open to the possibility that, with every layer you work through, you get closer and closer to an empowered birth.