I know there are a lot of great birth planning tools out there these days; free downloadable birth plans, visual birth plans, and I’m sure there’s probably a birth plan app floating around somewhere that I haven’t discovered yet. I totally understand the appeal. Birth plans are a nice idea. They can give you a sense of control, comfort, and preparedness. It is important to have knowledge of what options are available to you, and know what you want.
The reality though, is that birth does not follow a plan. When we write a birth plan it is almost as though we are creating a set of instructions to follow- and more often than not- setting ourselves up for unneeded stress and unreal expectations. This could leave us feeling pretty discouraged if things don’t go as we had hoped, because no one can control how the events of any particular birth will unfold.
If you need something official for yourself, your partner, or to hand to your care provider- try making a list of your “birth preferences”. The word preferences already makes it sound less demanding doesn’t it? When I have my first prenatal meeting with a client I ask them what their priorities are for the birth, and to think about some words or phrases that describe what their ideal birth would be like and feel like. From there I help them build off of that to really understand what is most important to them. A list of preferences is saying, “Here are the things that are important to me, and these are the things that I would prefer”.
So as the title of this post states- don’t get too attached to the idea of having a birth plan. Keep an open mind, let your intuition guide you in making any decisions in the moment, and most importantly- trust your body (and your baby) to get it done- however that may be.
What are your experiences with birth plans? I’d love to hear your story!