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Birth plans in pencil

An OBGYN once told me: “Think of pregnancy and labor as the first lessons in the flexibility it takes to tackle parenthood. You may think that you are in control, but at the end of the day that baby is. When it comes to delivery, healthy/happy baby and healthy/happy mama are the most important things.” Looking back now, after experiencing three completely different pregnancies and three completely different deliveries, that statement still holds true. I am somewhat Type A and 100% a planner. I find comfort in being able to make lists and write down schedules, and truly believing that is how things will conspire. As I have added more and more years of motherhood under my belt, I find more often than not, those plans and expectations never completely come into fruition. I am now an “add items to my list so I can check them off” and a “write my schedule in pencil” kind of mom. My true character and who I am has not changed, but my expectations of what is important have. Instead of making lists and stressing when things are still on them at the end of the day, I am attending my kid’s performances and taking them to piano.

When it comes to birth plans, I think it is definitely important to have an idea of what things are important to you. Ask yourself questions before birth such as:

· What do you want available for you during labor: music, sound, aromatherapy, laboring tub?

· Do you want a natural labor or are you open to medication or an epidural for pain relief?

· Who do you want in the delivery room?

· How do you want to feed your baby after they arrive?

All of these things and more are important to consider before delivery and it can often make expecting moms feel better to have a “plan.” This is due to a mother’s natural tendency to nest late in pregnancy. But equally important to the questions above are questions like:

· When being given news that is outside of your birth plan, whose opinion do you value most?

· Who will communicate on mom’s behalf if necessary?

· Do you trust the decision of your OBGYN/midwife/doula?

The last one is probably the most important in the overall picture of delivery. Delivery is NEVER going to go 100% as planned. Do I need to repeat it? NEVER. There are just too many moving pieces. I think most delivery practitioners and expecting mothers can agree- the big picture is a safe delivery for baby and mother. We all want to get to the end point of meeting that little life that has been tumbling inside us and sometimes to get to that point safely we are required to take steps recommended by our doctors and midwives that are outside of our delivery plan. And as long as you have a strong, trusting relationship with the person delivering your baby, that is ok. So go forth and write those birth plans mama….in pencil.

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