My favorite acronym! This is one of the most useful tools in my “life bag” as well as my “Doula Bag”. It is a reminder for me to slow down and think it through! By nature, I make quick decisions. This character trait works both to my benefit and my detriment. I often react rather than respond and B.R.A.I.N. helps to prevent that from happening for me. So, here is the breakdown: B ~ Benefits. Ask yourself, what is the benefit to choosing to do this?I R ~ Risk. Ask yourself, what are the risks involved in doing this? A ~ Alternatives. Ask yourself, are there any alternatives to doing this? I ~ Instincts (my personal favorite). Ask yourself, what is your instinct telling you to do? N ~ Nothing. Ask yourself, what if you do nothing right now and revisit the idea later or another day. It is helpful to have a friend to discuss this with. Use them as a sounding board. This is one of the many important roles that your Doula plays! Remember, you are not looking for the other person’s advice, so make that clear to them. You are only seeking the answers to each of the 5 questions… Benefits? Risks? Alternatives? Instincts? And Nothing? Here is an example of how it relates to birth. Your doctor or midwife comes in during your labor, you are 6cm dialated. She suggests that she break your water. You pause and you try to bring your mind back to everything you have ever read or learned about artificial rupture of membranes. Keep in mind that you are in labor when you have to make this decision and that can be very difficult. It is a good thing you have your Doula with you (wink)! You ask your doctor/midwife for a couple of minutes to process this new information, she steps out and you, your husband and your Doula go through the acronym. You ask your Doula… What are the benefits to breaking my water now? She replies, “breaking your water now while you are 6cm dialated and having a consistent pattern of contractions will likely speed up your labor.” Next, you ask your Doula, “What are the risks to breaking my water now?” She replies, “The two risks you should be most aware of are, 1) That once your water breaks, you will be “on the clock” and they will want to continue to speed things up and 2) The other is that your contractions will likely become more difficult.” You ask your Doula… Are there any alternatives to artificial rupture? She replies, “Unfortunately, there are not. You can either have them break it or wait for it to break on it’s own. The choice always belongs to the person whose bag it is!” Next, your Doula asks you what your instinct is telling you about this and encourages you to do what feels right for you. She also validates your decision to choose the provider that you chose and completely supports what YOU decide! (If she is a good Doula!) Lastly, you ask your Doula, “What if we do nothing now and think about this again in an hour?” Your Doula replies, “That seems reasonable but you should discuss it with your doctor/midwife because they may not be here in an hour if you decide you’d like to do it then. Ask if they would come back to do it at that point or if you would have to wait until they were available again.” Take a minute to process the answers to this. Make the decision that is best for you and then… RESPOND RATHER THAN REACT! Always remember to use your B.R.A.I.N.!   Authored by: Randy Patterson