Life Jacket

Imagine you are a competitive swimmer. You were born to swim. You’ve worked hard for all of your teenage years to become the best swimmer. It’s finally time for the Olympics. It’s right before you jump into the pool when your coach ties a life jacket around your waist. Wait? Why? You’re a professional swimmer. But he says, “Just in case”. You trust your coach, so off you go…swimming, slower, but still swimming.

A few laps go by and he pulls you out of the water. He’s worried the life jacket isn’t protecting you enough, so he adds a helmet over your swim cap. He mumbles something about it being safer. “Safer than what?”, you ask. He tells you that he read a study online that said helmets have been known to help save cliff divers from trauma when they hit the water. But…wait?! WHAT?! You aren’t cliff diving, you’re only swimming. You’re a natural. You were meant to do this all your life. You’ve trained hard for this moment. He insists. He’s only trying to help you. The study shows it’s better. He clips on the helmet and pushed you back in to the water. Everyone is cheering for you, but you can feel how slow you’re moving. It’s becoming so exhausting.

Just as you reach your breaking point, he pulls you out again…this time, he wants to poke holes in your suit because he hear that sometimes it can speed things up. Sometimes. Other times, though, it backfires and you end up having to be pulled from the race and rushed off to get your stomach pumped because you’ve swallowed so much water. It’s a risk your coach is willing to take though just to see you win the race. He offers you some steroids to give you a boost of energy to finish the race.

By this point in the race, you’re beyond tired, can’t catch your breath, your lap stats are starting to go way down. Everyone is staring at you. Watching and waiting for your epic comeback.

You start to resent the coach. Why did he have to fuss over the helmet? Why didn’t you say no to the life jacket?! So, you take the steroids. You see the look of disappointment in your family’s eyes. It’s not YOU they are disappointed in, it’s the coach’s rules. But you don’t see that. In the moment, all you feel is complete defeat. Not only did you lose the race, but now you’ve opted for a path you wouldn’t have chosen if the coach hadn’t weighed you down in the first place.

Now, imagine you’re not a swimmer but a birther. Your doctor is offering a sweep/induction. That induction seems beneficial for reasons 1-10. Doctor is genuinely doing this based on research (which way or may not still be valid). The induction is just too much to handle, so next comes pain meds, maybe the epidural you didn’t want. That ties you to a bed and creates even more issues.

See how one well-intended intervention can spiral to another? How one study or research paper might seem valid, but if you dig deep it’s not actually? There’s always a time and place for medical interventions. It’s like antibiotics or visiting the ER. When it’s needed, it’s needed. But when it’s not, it’s worth questioning. Know what’s happening. Ask the questions. Make sure you have given informed consent. Not just consent. Never say yes (or no) to appease someone.

The benefits of an induction should outweigh the risk of staying pregnant.

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