An informed decision is more than just information gathering.
An informed decision = new information + old information + current circumstances.
Ideally this comes from unbiased evidence-based sources. The information needs to be relevant to the individual and interpreted into understanding. This info builds on old info.
This includes personal experiences, including childhood ones, anecdotal information and even unbiased evidence-based information previously understood. Old info will influence how you understand and accept new info. This may mean hurdles, challenges or confirmation of ideas. It may even lead to rather muddled and confused ideas. It is important to first unravel the old information, question it, consider it and accept, reject, or alter it using the new info.
This is your culture, your main influences, your beliefs, your philosophies, anxieties and fears, your financial situation, your work life, your future plans, your location…some are more challenging than others.
No matter what the decision you face, an informed decision involves all these elements. It is for this reason that different people facing similar decisions will make different choices.
The important thing is having options, knowing them and having the freedom to choose.
When it comes to birth: Creating a Birth Map and considering a doula that you mesh with to help you work through the old info, gather the new info and put it into context with your circumstances. Work through your history, to gain the understanding you need for an informed decision.
When it comes to parenting: reflection, adaptation and discussion are important. Informed decisions will need to be made, some before baby is born. A doula can help with the pre-baby decision making: The Transition. Beyond birth, seek a mother’s group, friendships or network that energises you, informs you, supports you. Avoid the ones you don’t click with.
It is very important to understand that there is NO One Way. The very nature of the informed decision means that we will come to different conclusions: “different people facing similar decisions will make different choices.”
You will know you have reached an informed decision because you will be comfortable and confident in your choice AND the choices of others.
If you find yourself feeling strongly (angry, frustrated, annoyed) about someone else’s decision or thought process…step back and ask yourself ,”why?”.
In the words of Atticus:
““Are you proud of yourself tonight that you have insulted a total stranger whose circumstances you know nothing about?”
“…but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself.”
“You never really know a [person] until you stand in [their] shoes and walk around in them”
“you never really understand a person until you consider things from [their] point of view- until you climb into [their] skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird