There is a tonne of material out there about writing birth plans: what’s in a birth plan, how do you write one, what it’s used for and so on. I have thus had conversations with expecting mums about birth plans giving them a false sense of hope, confidence, and control.
“Jamie, how can you possibly ask mothers to plan for their birth? Isn’t that going against nature itself?”
“Jamie, what if things don’t go as planned – doesn’t it just make it worse?”
“Jamie, I thought you were supposed to support the birth mother and her spouse? Sounds like you’re giving them a false sense of confidence and control!”
These are the reactions I often receive when I speak to both female AND male peers – about birth plans.
It is easy to form the misconception that when writing a birth plan, the aim is to control nature; that nothing can or will go wrong as long as a birth plan is written, communicated, and abided. If this were gospel truth, it wouldn’t rain during garden weddings and eagerly-anticipated holidays would not be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Birth Plans: Why You Should Have One
Image courtesy: Pixabay
In my opinion, birth plans are written so that birthing mamas may:
familiarise themselves with hospital protocols. (So that they aren’t in shock or experience high stress when they arrive on the date of delivering their precious little ones.)
think about their options, preferences, weigh in on pros and cons and make good choices for themselves when they have the time and capacity to do so. (Not when we’re experiencing waves of contractions!)
can better communicate thoughts that they have to members of their birth team – the gynae, nurses, midwife, doula and most importantly, partners.
This doesn’t mean that a mama rules out a Caesarean section if she’s choosing to have a natural delivery. Or that she doesn’t consider having an epidural if she wants a drug-free birth.
It just means that she would rather have it one way and not the other. But in the event that an emergency (or a strong enough reason) supports the latter, she’s given thought to what would make it a more bearable, more positive experience for her.
It could be a simple request like ensuring a gentle C-section be performed or that an epidural is used only when she gives the signal.
Picture credit: www.pregnancybydesign.com | Credit to writer
Upon reflection, I remembered something a wise friend and coach taught me: There is no like or dislike. It’s all just boundary work.
“Yes! This is genius!” I thought.
It’s All About Setting Boundaries
Image courtesy: Pixabay
As mamas, you’ll need to communicate your boundaries and how far you’re willing to push them. We all want to deliver healthy babies but we also have our personal limits.
We should be aware of the boundaries that we need to keep to stay strong for both–the life that we’re bringing into this world and for ourselves.
Whether you’re somebody in labour or the one who’s birthing, we shouldn’t forget what makes us who we are, what we hold dear. In fact, it is when we are at our most vulnerable that these boundaries matter and we should protect them all the more.
Furthermore, this helps us to be more at peace with ourselves to take care of this new life we’ve been entrusted with, postpartum.
So, are we trying to play God by writing a birth plan? No! Writing one just helps mamas to illustrate boundaries, thoughts and what they know will bring them closer to a better birth. When you read a mama’s birth plans, you’re listening to her individual, authentic voice.
Hmmm…maybe we should use the term “Birth Boundaries” instead?
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This article was first published on Just Dolah and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
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Disclaimer: Any views or opinions expressed in this article are personal and belong solely to the author; and do not represent those of theAsianparent or its clients.