My Birth Plan is Not to Plan
As a type-A, calendar using, to-do list making, color-coding, incessantly annoying planner, I really mean it when I say, my birth plan is not to plan.
I’d like a little trust here, people. A little understanding that I’ve done my research and this ain’t my first rodeo. Maybe it’s the crowd I run in, maybe it’s trendy, maybe it’s legitimate, but I feel immense pressure to labor the way the vocal minority of society expects me to, not necessarily how I want to (one report cites 61% of women using epidurals while other statistics report usage as much higher). If I want to labor in a hospital with a doctor and specific interventions of my choosing knowing all the risks and side effects, that should be my choice to make without judgment and guilt.
A common theme I’m hearing is mothers have a right to control their birth. I don’t get it. Yes, we all hope that birth is a positive experience. And yes, mothers should choose what happens to their bodies. But my personal feelings are birth is mostly uncontrollable. I cannot control what my body does and I don’t want to take any risks in a precarious situation. I do not want my experience and desire for control to be more important than the healthy birth of my child.
The baby’s health is paramount to any experience.
For example, I wanted my daughter placed on my chest right after delivery, I requested it but it did not happen because she was in distress and needed immediate attention.
I’ve read studies and information that state that babies who are away from their mothers for the first 10-30 minutes struggle with a poor rooting reflex and cry more than those that who go straight to the chest. While it would have been ideal to have her immediately on my chest, I did not get the ideal. Instead of beating myself up that I didn’t have the perfect scenario, I enjoyed the heavenly moment I did get to hold her.
Therefore my birth plan is simply that I choose to birth in a hospital. Even though they have germs and problems and imperfect doctors, I feel most comfortable there. I want to be as close to medical help as possible in case of an emergency. That is my choice to make without scrutiny. And without scrutiny others may choose to birth elsewhere, or forgo pain relief, or get an epidural the moment they walk through the door, or opt for a C-section.
For my peace of mind, I’m giving up control of trying to create the perfect experience. Please do not misunderstand me. This is not to say I will naively do whatever the doctor says. I just think that my body does what it is going to do and I don’t have control. I do have control of not being forced to do something I don’t want. But for me, actual control comes from letting go of huge expectations and everything not going according to plan. Really, the only plan I ultimately have is to bring a healthy baby into this world to the best of my abilities and choices.
Image: Calendar with baby shoes via Matthew Benoit/Shutterstock.com