Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fearful Decisions

When it comes time to make a decision I’m pretty thought through. I’d say about 95% of what I do and the way I do it and my values and beliefs is very thought through. I usually think about the simplest way to do something or what works best for me and my family. When I wanted to home birth, I had been researching it and hospital births, midwives and such. I told David what I wanted to do and why. While some people probably thought that I didn’t give it much thought, I had given it a lot of thought and we decided it was what was best for us (we still believe that).

When I read birth stories or blog posts or just hear conversations in passing I hear that a lot of people have made decisions based on fear. Let me give an example; in the medical community VBAC’s (vaginal birth after cesarean) are considered dangerous. If a woman goes to her doctor, more often than not they will hear that if they attempt a VBAC they could rupture their uterus and lose the baby and that it’s just too risky. Now let’s briefly talk stats, the risk of a uterine rupture for a low transverse scar (horizontal bikini cut) is less than 1%. Now let’s talk rupture, a rupture can be anything from a small tear (window) to a complete blow out. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t consider a less than 1% chance of something happening as “risky” or “dangerous”. (I’ll go into more detail on VBAC’s in another post). Unfortunately many women don’t hear the stats from their doctor; they only get the danger card, so they agree to a repeat c-section. They just made a decision out of fear. They didn’t do the research themselves to make sure what they heard was completely true. And instead of finding out that VBAC’s are a safe option for most women and that the risk is very small, they allow a repeat cs which is a LOT more risky. Ok, enough birth examples.

Why do we make decisions based in fear? We don’t make a good quality decision, one we can feel good about later on. We end up second guessing ourselves because we let fear rule our lives. If we made all our decisions based in fear, we’d never leave the house. And no one ever said that life was without risks. I’m not saying that we need to take needless risks, and of course everyone needs to do what’s best for themselves and their family. But decisions based in fear only breeds more fear.

I for one do my best to not make decisions out of fear. I research, I talk it through with David or friends/peers, and I pray. Then I make the best decision I can and go with my instinct. Don't let what you want to do be influenced by what you're scared to do.

A quote from the movie Kung Fu Panda from the old turtle master: “One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it”. Don’t make a decision based in fear because you will often end up with exactly what you set out to avoid.

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