Coffee and Hoo-has

Okay, so this post has to start with a confession. No, not that I actually went to a Starbucks (it was a rainy day while trying to do some Christmas shopping in Oxford with a hungry/tired toddler in tow) but that I eavesdropped on someone else’s conversation. It isn’t my fault that they were talking loudly and the tables were close together, right? A girl and her male friend were sitting having coffee and he asked her if she was trying for kids with her husband. She said they were. As conversation progressed, they ended up talking about the labour. He said, laughing, that she should have a caesarean or all the drugs because she’d be trying to get a baby out of her “hoo-ha.” He continued to banter like this for a bit longer and she, laughing along with him, finally quietly said that she was “thinking about a water-birth.” He laughed some more, asking what that was. The conversation drifted quietly into another topic.

Hearing this conversation just made me think about women and the influence our friends and society has on us. I have no idea who this girl is or what her personality is like, but she was obviously talking to a close friend. Even if she pursues the idea of a waterbirth, how much will remembering this conversation and the normality of that conversation influence her birth plan and eventual labour? How much does what we say impact on other people – even if said in a light hearted way? Do midwives, doulas, doctors, say the right things to help empower women to make decisions for themselves and for what is right for them and their babies?