I’m the custodian of some powerful knowing,
But like seeds, it won’t grow without sowing,
Knowledge shared is a gift
For it gives a lift
And gets the power flowing.
The Birth Map evolved in my heart
Four births of my own at its start
It is ready now for sharing
With those who are daring
To take their birth power to an art.
There is no one way, no ‘fits all’
And we really shouldn’t be passing the ball,
Don’t leave it to luck
or your birth might suck
The Birth Map protects from a fall.
Followers of my blog will be aware that I am The Birth Cartographer. Quietly, over the last 8 years, The Birth Map has been evolving in my care. I am still pinching myself that I have been chosen to be the custodian of this powerful tool. The Birth Map is the solution to the maternity problem. The Maternity Problem stems from the medicalisation of pregnancy and birth. The Birth Map is the result of Informed Birth Preparation. It is a powerful document that works like a ‘choose your own adventure’, where the birthing woman is the author. It is the advance care directive of birth. It benefits woman, their partners AND THE CARE PROVIDER.
The trouble with consent in birth, is that not enough time or information is given. Usually a ‘need to know (NOW)’ approach is taken. This is stressful and not conducive to making informed decisions. Coercion is a problem, as insurance-driven policies put pressure on care providers to direct birth towards medically ‘controlled’ options.
The first, rudimentary, versions of The Birth Map began to appear in 2011. More and more questions were added to the birth plan template, more details included and more alternative explored. With each birth I attended, and each of my own pregnancies and births, the process was adapted. No longer a ‘birth plan template’, I saw before me the Birth Map. There were no ‘tick boxes’, and no directives. What became really obvious was it was The Questions that mattered. Knowing what to ask, and being able to ask well in advance, means to explore the options. Understand the various pathways and how they intertwine, means the power to make Informed Decisions. I could no longer manage with a self-print and bind making of the guide. I was limited to Australian audiences, and there was demand from overseas. So I made an ebook version and sort a self-publishing option. This was a great step. I learned a lot.
The book has been designed to be written in, make notes, add affirmations, decorate it. Journal in it. There are pages dedicated for Your Birth Story. The first section give you The Insights, the foundations for understanding the maternity system and your options within it. Section Two: The Questions, takes you through each pathway (fast birth, expected and contingency). This is where the personal Birth Map is developed. The advanced care directive approach creates an ‘if this, then that’ series of decisions to be used by your birth team and care providers during your labour. It is your birth, your way, no matter what. The third section takes you beyond the birth, giving a reality check and helping to set up a support network for the early days of parenting. It covers preparing for siblings, ‘what is normal’ and breastfeeding. An appendix gives you a glossary of medical terms, a list of recommended reading, and resources for special circumstances. More than ‘just another birthing book’, The Birth Map is linked to the free Member Area on bellabirth.org: a portal of resources and a hub of support.
And now, the second edition is available. With two covers to choose from:
The Awesome Pregnant Woman or the ‘censored’ word map cover
Which would you choose?
Also available is the workbook. This focuses on Section Two: The Questions. It is perfect for birth workers to use with clients. Designed to be written in and taken to appointments, the workbook becomes a keepsake of the journey. There is space for The Birth Story.
During September 2018, $5 from every book sold will be donated to Birth Time