If you happen to be a bigger woman, what are your chances of having a good birth experience, and feeling great about your body in the process? How can you be sure you will be respected on your journey to motherhood?
Who better to talk to that the vivacious and insightful Jen McLellan, founder of www.plusizebirth.com If you are in the curvier category and want to make the most of your pregnancy and birth, and if you want to celebrate your growing pregnant body more, or if you are not plus-sized but you want to address your own (unconscious?) prejudices, you will love todays chat.
We all want and need to feel honoured and respected when we are pregnant. For most women, becoming pregnant is exciting, but it can be a vulnerable time when you confront all sorts of unknowns. For a plus-sized woman, pregnancy can be a time of confronting huge prejudice. Just because a woman happens to be ‘bigger’, she is often treated differently or less compassionately, and birth procedures are recommended, in an inappropriate ‘one-size-fits -all’ approach.
Without realising, medical staff and care-providers can make biased statements that hurt and traumatize, especially when you are out of your comfort zone and already feeling nervous or sensitive (and let’s face it, most of us do feel a little less powerful in a hospital or doctors room). Insensitive statements can undermine a birthing mothers confidence, affect her experience, and create memories and insecurities that stick. This is terribly sad and completely unacceptable.
So what can a plus-sized mama do to have a good birth?
In this interview Jen shares her top 3 tips (and a few other great ideas) for optimising your chances of having a happy birth memory.
- Eat well
- Find a compassionate plus-size friendly care provider
(You can find loads more good info on all of these points on Jen’s blog, http://plussizebirth.com/)
Whether you are small, big, or in-between, and however you intend to birth, pregnancy is a time to empower yourself and make positive changes, for you and for your baby. It is a time to treat yourself right and to ask and expect to be treated right. So if you have a niggly feeling that the people around you are not unconditionally respectful and accepting of who you are, get new ones.
I was deeply moved in preparing for and during my chat with Jen. I recognised that even though I do my darndest to learn to be more loving towards myself and others, my ability to be truly accepting and compassionate is a work in progress. I realised that yes, when I watch movies, go online, read articles, do an image search, it appears that 99% of pregnant women women are ‘slim to average’ caucasian women. I hadn’t really questioned the size aspect of this, because I am in that ‘normalized’ group. And sadly, being in a more accepted or privileged group can come with a certain blindness.
Thank you Jen, for helping me see the bigger picture, for illuminating the suffering that some women experience, and for standing up and reminding us that every woman has a right to be treated with respect and dignity in pregnancy and birth. You are a fountain of compassion and wisdom, and the world of birth is a wwwwaaaayyyy better place with you in it. Here’s a snap of Jen and her gorgeous boys!
I am curious to hear how you responded to this chat. What is the one thing that stood out for you? Your thoughts are gold to me (and others), so share them below.