My Birth Plan is Not to Plan

24 weeks/5 months

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/

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations
  1. by Alyssa

    On October 25, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    That’s my birth plan too! I also want to be in a hospital “just in case!”

  2. by Jessica

    On October 26, 2012 at 2:24 am

    I have two kids n I didn’t want to use the epidural but the pain of labor hurts so bad . And I was disappointed that I didn’t have a all natural birth.

  3. by Erin H.

    On October 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Here, here! I agree and I feel it wouldbe a lot easier and less stressful if more new moms thought that way, I just had my third child in July and I went in determined not to get any medication for pain control, (had very bad reactions last two times) and I was able to have an all natural birth 9.1lb boy,that time around, but I knew if I needed something for pain or needed medical attention it was right there and as long as the baby and I ended up healthy I was not going to beat myself up over it if I had to use any of it! It’s an experience you only have once but that’s just a small moment of the whole life you have together with your child. Don’t be too hard on yourself if its not your ideal birth! Expect the unexpected good bad or indifferent and it’ll go a lot easie
    r! Like the article says don’t be a push over, but try to realize you only have so much “control” over your body and that situation! Happy Birthing!

  4. by Liz

    On November 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Right on Bekka! This is my favorite post yet. I didn’t get E placed on my chest afterwards either. I didn’t even get to see him until 3 hours later. :( So I’m shocked when the natural hippies give me crap for wanting to have my kids in a hospital with the best medical care available.

  5. by Ashley F

    On November 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, I was the same way. I wanted to be in a hospital so I could be near help if needed (and it was definitely needed with all three of my children) and had no plan after that. My doctor knew how I felt, I trusted his experience and knowledge, he’s an amazing doctor, I had done my research on everything that could happen so I just went with it! I wouldn’t do it any other way.