Some days it seems as though pregnancy and birth is all over the media. Even more true for pregnant people who have a super-heightened radar for picking up anything that mentions bump, birth, or baby. But with pregnancy, birth, and parenting information, there can be too much of a good thing.
When we research a decision, we pull from many different resources for information -- friends, family, care providers, and now, more than ever, the media. With the global nature of social media, the world becomes a much smaller place and the definition of "friend" more loosely translated. We ask our [hundreds of] "friends" on message boards and Facebook groups for input on pregnancy symptoms, care provider recommendations, and birth plan suggestions. And of course, opinions are diverse, conflicting, and even (or perhaps, especially) judgemental.
There comes a point when a trickle of helpful information becomes a flood. The process of teasing the facts from the fiction can you leave you feeling overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated. So what's an information-hungry pregnant person to do?
Find a tour guide. Would you travel to the Amazon without a guide? And yes, I AM comparing pregnancy information with the rain forest -- it's dense, sometimes scary, and incredibly difficult at times to see the forest for the trees. A "tour guide" in pregnancy comes in the form of a childbirth educator, doula, and respectful care provider. These trained professionals can help you make sense of the information and opinions you uncover, and while their job is not to make decisions for you, they can provide evidence based information to help you determine the best path for your pregnancy and birth.
Turn down the noise and listen to your gut. When you're driving and trying to find an address, do you find yourself turning down the radio so you can concentrate better? Similarly, it can be hard to process a decision with the "noise" of media sources giving you information at every turn on the internet. At some point -- probably sooner rather than later -- it's important to just. stop. searching. Sit with your own thoughts. Write down your own notes. Process your own feelings.
Discuss it with someone who can really listen. Most of us have that one person in our lives who we can really talk to -- the person who listens to us without judgement, without interjection. Sometimes, just dicussing your feelings out loud -- whether or not you receive advice -- helps you to process and make decisions.
Do what it takes to stand strong in your convictions. It's hard to go against the grain. If you find yourself making an "unpopular" decision about your pregnancy, birth, or parenting, be sure to take steps that will help you stand strong in your decisions. Ask your partner or perhaps a family member to support you; politely step down from conversations about your birth choices (in person and online); and be selective about where and how much time you spend on the internet.
How did you manage the information overload during pregnancy? What or who was your best ally in helping you make informed decisions?