: doctorjen.So, what motivates you mdc mamas to assume responsibility?
i guess i tend to take responsibility for my own education in all aspects of my life. i very rarely ever go head-first into anything without fully researching it. (example: although i had wanted a pet rat my entire life, before i committed to adopting one, i researched rats and rat care for about six months.) i've always been a bookworm, and a geek, sharing the "hacker personality" with my best friends ~ the drive to question everything and seek knowledge constantly.
growing up, i had a great deal of very bad doctors. the HMO we were with was complete crap. i had a number of very bad experiences during hospital stays as well as regular doctor visits. even when i was old enough to start researching health issues and trying to get into a good discussion with my doctor(s) they didn't listen. five minutes into the appointment and they'd shoo me back out the door.
finally i got different insurance, moved, and started seeing two new doctors ~ one at a family practice, and my current OB ~ and i was, by then, so fed up with doctors and so jaded toward the medical industry as a whole that i made it clear (loudly clear :LOL) that i wasn't going to take any bullsh*t. i let them know that i was taking charge of my own health care and that i knew my own body better than anyone, because i had lived with it for a pretty long time. i made my beliefs known from the beginning.... and they actually finally listened to me and took the time to discuss my health problems, my history, questions i had... and finally they said that they were happy to have someone who seemed so knowledgeable and was so willing to play an active role in their own health.
the experience i had with my new doctors reassured me that not *all* doctors are awful, but also that patients have a huge responsibility to themselves, to educate themselves before they ever step into a doctor's office.
with respect to birth, i think ~ in this country at least ~ that since it's such a cultural norm for women to just do whatever their doctor(s) tell them during pregnancy and birth, and give birth in a hospital and put themselves and their children at the complete mercy of the medical industry, it really doesn't occur to most women to even question anything. think about the best-selling "guide" to pregnancy and birth -- What to Expect When You're Expecting -- which only reinforces that women should not ask questions and should do everything their doctor(s) tell them. even the relatively progressive (yet still mainstream) pregnancy magazine Fit Pregnancy advises women to obey their doctors and do whatever they're told, because ultimately "doctor knows best."
i think the only reason i really started questioning the standard medical model of birth at all was because i had been through so many bad things with my doctors already, and because my sister had at that point had one very horrible experience with our HMO hospital during her first birth. i really think that if i, and my sister, had been through nothing but great experiences and had nothing but great doctors, my choices would certainly be different and i'd have very little problem accepting whatever the doctor(s) told me to do.
also, after reading all of the birth stories on Laura Shanley's site, i really began to see that labor and birth really isn't a medical process. pregnancy isn't a disease ~ if it was really something to manage and freak out about, the human race would not have survived.What do you think I could do to encourage mamas IRL to do the same?
short of reinventing how this country views labor and birth.... i don't think you can do anything more than you already are. if you are providing them with the resources to educate themselves, and they are not... there isn't any more you can do.
maybe get them all subscriptions to Mothering magazine?
eta ~ Mamid
s i am so sorry to hear about your injury + loss.