taking responsibility

In today’s episode I want to talk about taking responsibility and share with you something that happened to me last week that was a huge wake-up call. It’s not exactly birth related but it is …


Last week I had a minor op. I thought it would be this no big deal. They were OK with me walking home afterwards so I thought I’d be able to carry on with normal life afterwards. How wrong I was! The day after the op I crashed into a painful and depressed state. The anaesthetic had worn off and I slowly came to the realisation that I had been slightly traumatised by my experience. There were 6 people in theatre with me and the lady who was meant to be there keping tabs on me just wasn’t that interested and kept walking off. Looking in, it certainly didn’t look like a traumatic experience, and I’m using the word trauma with tiny T, but it affected me that’s for sure. As I was lying there for 25 minutes being worked on I couldn’t help thinking about birth (I’d asked for a drape like in c-sections), and in the days that followed the similarities continued.

I wasn’t prepared for this. I didn’t really do any research about the procedure I was having. I thought I could just “go with the flow” and that “it would be fine”. And it would’ve been, had I prepared for it. If I’d done my research, I would have ben prepared psychologically for my experience. I would have planned for being bed ridden and AWOL in my head for a week. Instead I was trying to continue with normal life – work, client sessions and household duties. I was failing and this was making me feel even more crap. My inspiration during this low period was Catherine Holland. If you don’t know her story listen to my podcast chats with her. She died and came back – awful bike crash. During her recovery she didn’t even use painkillers. All last week, I was thinking, “if Catherine can do it, I can!” I only took 4 paracetamol all week! (< my version of Catherine’s hardcoreness!).

Why taking responsibility matters

I can’t help think about the similarities with birth. Those women who don’t prepare and who don’t do their research are the ones who suffer and have the shitty experiences. One thought kept making me angry last week “Why didn’t they warn me I’d me like this?” Well guess what Lex? Your health and wellbeing is YOUR responsbility, not theirs. Just as in birth. Don’t hand over to the health care professionals thinking they’ve got your back. They have, but only to a certain extent. You need to meet them half way. You need to take responsbility too. And when it comes to health this means doing your homework and preparing. It means getting savvy on what your about to go through and understanding the facts and the practical consequences. It means making psychological preparations. For me I had to learn that it was ok to be weak and depend on others (not easy for me!).

I can’t believe I let this happen to me. With the work that I do around birth how could I have been so naive? And yet, this happens to women all the time when it comes to birth. Intelligent, proactive, responsible, empowered women still rock up to birth with the “i’ll be fine, I’ll go with the flow” attitude and it crushes them.

Please don’t be one of those.


Alexia Leachman
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