Is there such a thing as Too Much Information?
A point where overwhelm means overcome?
Is it possible that blissful ignorance
Protects us from being The One?
The One who has a bad time,
The One who gets The Lot,
The One who is disappointed
The one whose birth was shot.
And what does it mean to be ignorant?
And going with the flow?
Accepting all that might happen,
because it’s too much to know?
Handing over power – Leaving dignity at the door
Birth will happen to you – Expect no less or more
Is Medicine the only arena, where Too Much occurs?
Where The Knowledge is held too tightly by The Few qualified experts?
Indeed, is it just in Birth, where women are expected
To do as they are told for fear of being rejected?
Is it only women who are discouraged from learning all they need to know?
Or are others also subjected to this appalling show?
From where I am sitting, Too Much is not the worry,
The question needs to be: is it enough, and why the hurry?
What is Information Overload?
Information overload occurs when we feel overwhelmed and it impacts our ability to make an informed decision. Despite the term, however, It is not a matter of too much information.
There are two main issues when it comes to information overload: the quality of the information and time
There is so much varying information out there, much of it contradictory and full of bias, that it can be difficult to know where to begin in seeking information. For many, in pregnancy, we default to our care providers. Our modern maternity systems tends towards invention rather than support, and you may find yourself pressured to accept intervention that you’re not sure you actually need. The recommendation may not be given to you with a full disclosure of how it changes your pathways. In this case, the information is provided to us with in a narrow context, that does not give us enough detail to make an informed decision, or may limit our options.
If you rely on the information provided by your care provider, you may find it is not enough or feels coercive. And when you are asked if you have any questions…you can’t possible know what to ask, when you don’t know what you don’t know!
If you try to do your own research, you may be overwhelmed with the number of articles, website and blogs and not know where to begin. How do you filter the quality information from the rubbish?
When you are exploring new information, keep these questions in mind to help determine its value:
Reliability – who wrote it, is it well written; who said it, why and based on what?
Is it selling something – and is that something a product that suggests you can’t achieve your goal without it?
Is it sponsored (beware the formula company giving breastfeeding ‘advice’)?
Does it have an ‘agenda’? Is this agenda in your best interest or is there some benefit to another being favoured?
How does this information fit with your current understand? Does it challenge it or reinforce it?
How do you feel about it?
In labour we are often expected to make informed decisions (or rather provide informed consent) in the moment. This is extremely stressful, and indeed overwhelming. Decision making is made more difficult when bombarded with information in a short time frame, leading to a feeling of overwhelming and being more likely to be compliant rather than decisive.
The moment of the decision, is not the time when the research is done. If we have time in advance to consider the various pathways, we are more likely to know where we are, and where we can go. when the time to make the decision comes.
Appointments during pregnancy are often too short to fully discuss the options, and if we do not know what questions to ask, we are often unable to contribute to these discussions. There are 11 different models of care in Australia, and within those models over 800 different approaches…some with more time for questions. It is often the benefit of hindsight which reveals the things we should have asked.
How to avoid information overload
My book, The Birth Map, evolved in response to this all-too-common situation. We need to know in advance what the pathways look like, so that we can recognise where we are as our journey unfolds, and be ready to decide where we need to go. The flows of modern birthing can be understood in advance, birth is not as random as we are lead to believe. It is possible to consider the various pathways and come to understand why one pathway may be better for us than another.
I created The Game of Birth, to help demonstrate the aspects that we can control, and the aspects we can’t. This way, as our birth unfolds, we are better equipped to make informed decisions,.
Both the book (in flipbook format) and a digital version of the game can be accessed in the free member area. I have done this, as whilst they are for sale, I want you to be able to access them and decide for yourself if they are worth your investment. In the member access, you will also find resources to help filter through the information available. The resources recommended have gone through the value-filter . I choose resources that are biologically-based, informative, well researched and context-based. They are not instructive, and respect your autonomy.
The conclusions are yours to make, always.