“The plural of anecdote is not data.”
-Dr. Stuart Fischbein, supporter of choices in childbirth and vaginal breech birth
I love a good anecdote. You love a good anecdote. On top of that, we want to believe these anecdotes, even if they are third hand or the 3428th forwarded click. Even if they are terrifying. Especially if they are terrifying. We're more likely to repeat horror stories, probably because we love each other and are trying to warn each other of the dangers inherent in grocery shopping, filling your car with gas, and ironing. Especially ironing. (Admit that it's horrifying.) You should probably just have your groceries delivered, stay home, and read all day long (but beware becoming so fat, sedentary and antisocial that your skin fuses to your recliner).
But seriously, we tell stories as a way of both healing and perpetuating our own fear by planning to avoid the same hideous outcomes in our own lives. It's healing because it didn't happen to us and because we feel better about the crap that happened to someone else when we share the burden by telling the story again. It's perpetuating our own fear by encouraging decisions based on fear. Making decisions based in fear is a good way of setting ourselves up for poor outcomes, continued fear, resentment, distrust, and misery.*
Instead, I choose to make decisions based on love. Or at least, I try to. I think about it sometimes. OK, I once read that somewhere. I do try to remember it in retrospect: Did I do that out of fear or out of love? The distinction can be quite difficult to make. It's a valuable one to make, though, if you plan on continuing to be human. We tell stories and listen to stories and we take them in. We want to be warned about what bad things might happen and how we can avoid them. We want to have control, to think we can avoid all the bad things by just being informed and diligent enough. Well, I do. I really do.
I love my baby and want what's best and safest for her and myself so I'm going to schedule a cesarean.
This distinction makes all the difference in how my life moves forward. When all is said and done, even if it turned out badly, I will either look back and say “I made the best decision I could” or “I was so scared, I felt like I didn't have a choice, but I chose wrong naawhaaahhhahawahh!” With fear comes trouble and with love comes peace. The devil is the father of all lies. Jesus said: Be not afraid, only believe.
All your fears are lies.
Especially in birth and parenting, we make a lot of decisions that are fraught with fear and love. If we can pick our decisions apart and focus on the love, infusing them with more love, we will make better decisions. Bad things happen, but fear does not make good or smart decisions. Fear is not real. Love is. Life can be beautiful, perfect even. Things can work out in your favor. It can all go as you hoped and planned. With love, wonderful is not a ridiculous expectation.
Love hopeth all things.