Remember your dating days? You tried out person after person in search of THE ONE. Then, remember when you finally met THE ONE? Swoon.
And as excited as you were I’m guessing that after your first date you didn’t end with, “You’re great, I’m great…let’s get hitched!” Nope, instead, you decided to continue getting to know this intriguing person. You spent more time with them, you asked questions, you evaluated how you felt around them and asked yourself whether or not you wanted to spend the most intimate moments of your life with them.
Birth is one of the most intimate moments of a woman’s life. The experience of bringing her child into the world is transformational and imprints itself onto her memory—-what was said to her, how she was treated, how she felt. When I ask older women about their births the level of recall even after 40 or 50 years is uncanny——the way their doctor’s face looked, how it felt to hold their baby, even the banter between husband and nurse (incredibly, one woman I spoke still remembers the exact amount of the hospital bill...$200).
And wonder of wonders, YOU get to decide who will join you on the most important day of your life—-your birth day. But before you invite them onto your team consider dating them first. No, drinks and witty banter don’t need to be involved. Dating your doctor means spending time with them in conversation, asking questions, evaluating how you feel around them, and asking yourself, “Do I want to spend my most intimate moments with them?”
Most of us have never dated a doctor or midwife before so you might be wondering, “How do I do it?” SO glad you asked! Let me share a few ideas:
Ask juicy questions. You want to avoid yes/no questions because you don’t learn a lot about your doctor. Instead, try open-ended questions. Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing…
What is your philosophy of birth?
How do you feel about natural birth?
How do you feel about birth plans?
How do you approach informed consent?
How much choice do you think I ought to have in the decision-making process?
What is your c-section rate? When do you recommend c-sections?
In what situations do you feel an induction would be necessary?
What is your induction rate?
I plan to birth in an alternative position, potentially out of the bed. How will you support me?
How do you feel about VBAC? (even if you’re not planning a VBAC)
How do you feel about doulas? (even if you’re not planning to have a doula)
2. Check his/her interest level in you. You know that phrase “he’s just not that into you?” Well, ladies, your doc may not be digging on you. Here’s how you can tell.
Doesn’t greet you by name
Doesn’t remember your health history or current state
Doesn’t treat you like an adult (infantilizes you)
Only talks to your partner
Cuts you off when you’re speaking
In a hurry to leave the room (one hand on the doorknob)
Doesn't answer questions
Rolls their eyes (or other icky facial expressions)
3. Do a gut check. Now it’s time to ask yourself a few questions.
How does a visit with this doctor make me feel?
How did his/her answers to my questions make me feel?
Is the doctor able to fully address the concerns I have? How about the concerns of my husband?
Do I feel comfortable in his/her presence?
Would I like him/her to be at my birth?
Remember that settling for crumbs is for the birds. YOU deserve excellent, loving, attentive care from your doctor on the day you give birth. You get to choose who joins your birth team. And it starts with dating your doctor.