Life is about decision-making. Some decisions are small (Do I wear the rainbow-striped socks or the green argyle ones?).  And, of course, some decisions are BIG, like, “Where should I have my baby?” And you would never make that kind of decision based on a chance flip of the coin, right?

Or would you?

It seems ridiculous. And yet… there are times when all the research is done. The pro and con charts have been made. You’ve chatted with all your friends and you still can’t decide.  This happened to a friend of mine when she was trying to decide whether to have a home birth or a hospital birth.

Growing up, she didn’t know you could have a home birth. But then she’d encountered friends and relatives who had had home births. She was intrigued, but still preoccupied with the question of: “What if something happens?”

I told her that I’d seen plenty of people have great birth experiences in the hospital–it makes sense for a lot of people. Having had home births myself, I also told her what I’d learned about that, namely that though complications do happen, most often they happen slowly. There is generally plenty of time for an experienced midwife to make an assessment that things are not going well and have time to transfer to the hospital.

She still wasn’t sure. So I told her something that I probably wouldn’t remember telling her if she hadn’t reminded me. I said, “Flip a coin. If you land on the “wrong” one you’ll know, because your heart will sink a little as you realize you’d actually been ‘rooting’ for the other one.”

Of course, you don’t have to do what the coin tells you to. But it’s a surprisingly effective way of deciphering what your gut is telling you. When you realize you’re pulling for one answer over the other, you know that you’re not as undecided as you thought you were.

My friend did the this trick and it’s what helped her settle on what she really wanted for her birth.

Don’t expect it to solve all your decision-making woes, but pull it out in a time of real indecision. You probably already know what the “right” answer is.

Note: The original title of this blog post was based on a children’s rhyme with racists origins. When I wrote it, I was ignorant of it’s history and have instead used the concept of flipping a coin to retain the meaning without using harmful language.