As you go through pregnancy and approach childbirth and life with a newborn, one thing that is probably on your mind are all of the questions and decisions that seem to multiply with each passing week. Questions and decisions that your friend Google can only give you so much guidance and reassurance on.
Fortunately, if you have a doula in your court, she can listen to your questions and concerns, validate them (because they truly are oh so normal!), and then help you start finding answers and making decisions that YOU feel confident about.
What is one tool that you can keep in your back pocket and your doula can help you pull out and use while navigating these questions and decisions? The infamous B.R.A.I.N. acronym. In short, B.R.A.I.N. stands for:
- B: What are the benefits?
- R: What are the risks?
- A: What are the alternatives?
- I: What is my intuition or instinct telling me right now?
- N: What would happen if we do nothing different (right now)?
It is always ok for you to ask questions and get clarification whenever you are faced with a question or decision. So how do you implement this tool?
Slow Down. Take a deep breathe. Don't get caught away in emotions or in the moment. If you feel unsettled about something, now is the time to speak up before moving forward. As a doula I can help you slow down the room by gently reminding you of your prior stated birth preferences and asking if you have any questions that you would like answered.
Ask for Time. Unless something is a true emergency, and your care provider will let you know if it is, there is almost always time to ask for time. Whether it's a minute to catch your breath and clear your mind, five minutes to talk things over privately, or an hour to wait and see if anything changes before taking the next step, remember to ask for time.
Use your B.R.A.I.N. Below you will find a handy printable card, one that will print to exactly the size of a business card so it will easily fit in your hospital bag or in a purse or wallet. Pull it out and go through these questions with yourself, your partner, your nurse, your doula, and/or your health care provider. Ask them in relation to yourself (what are the risks or benefits to me personally) and in relationship to your baby (what are the risks and benefits to my baby)? Don't stop until you feel like you have as much information as you feel comfortable with to make a decision.
Start practicing this technique now so it's second nature to you. The beauty of B.R.A.I.N. is that it's not just for pregnancy and birth. After all, life is full of questions and decisions to make!
Enjoy this free printable, and let me know in the comments below about any experiences YOU have had with the B.R.A.I.N. acronym!