You are your OWN expert.

Its hard to believe, because medicine will often tell us we don't know what is happening in/to our bodies, and that we need a professional to tell us, but this isn't always the case. Do I agree that modern medicine has it's value? Yes. Of course. Sometimes.


However, one instance in which I think our innate sense of knowledge and whats best for us is overlooked, is during pregnancy and birth.


No one besides me knows what my body feels during labor. Even if you've given birth before, you don't really know whats going on inside me, like I do. You don't know what I'm feeling, like I do.


So when a pregnant person in labor looks at me and says this is excruciating, and hard, I'm like, "yeah, you're absolutely fucking right. Its hard. And you can get through this." As your doula, sister, wise woman, I'll ask what sounds good to you. Position change or stay how you are. Water or land. I'll suggest things to support you. I'll listen to you telling me whats happening in your body, how your body is feeling. I won't ever tell you its wrong, or that its not doing what it should.



During labor, people instinctively move their bodies. And they'll look over, or say after a contraction, "what should I be doing?" or during pushing asking "is this right?" and more often than not, you're doing exactly what you should be, and I tell you that. "This. You're doing it, just keep listening to your body." You're usually moving your hips, or swaying during a contraction. You're telling us what feels good as we're doing it, and letting us know it doesn't when, well, it doesn't. You push when you need, or let baby come further down and out during each long contraction.


You are the authority during birth. What you say, goes. What you want can happen, right? You might not know how many centimeters dilated you are, but you know when you're stuck. You know how to push, and what feels right during pushing. You know when things just aren't moving along. And it doesn't take a cervical exam to tell you that, or your birth team. Its you.



So use your intuition during labor.


Its stronger than we think, yet we push it aside and take outside opinions over our own. We listen to others like they are living in our bodies. Why? Its not always the case that we need this. Maybe we need more people listening to us during birth. To hear what we sound like, or are saying. To take us more seriously, and intervene less. To hold space, and let things happen. To have someone reminding us that this is part of the process, to be allowed some fears and doubts, knowing that we can overcome them, that we can surrender to birth, in a culture that doesn't want us to.


(Obviously there are exceptions, I know that. But are there exceptions during every birth? Are we so lost that we don't know how to do this inherently natural, physiological process that we all need an intervention or someone to tell us how? Hm...)

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Marissa Peterson
Bellingham, WA
253.334.7282