As a mama who is expecting her third baby, I know my way around a birthing room. I have had two vaginal, drug-free deliveries with midwives. With both, I had a birth plan, an extensive series of things I believed about birth, and a clear sense of how the birth was going to go. In both cases, my births went exactly according to my plan. So why are so many people adamantly against the idea of a "plan"?
Every time I bring up my plan (or a friend brings up hers), we always hear the same refrain: "You can't plan for birth. Whatever happens, happens." To this I say two things: Bull and Shit. Would you go into any other major life event without some semblance of a plan?
The thing is, the grand majority of births aren't medical events. They could just as easily happen in the comfort of your living room with the assistance of a trained professional as they could in the hospital hooked up to monitors and an IV. Are some births emergencies? Sure. But we can't PLAN for the worst case scenario.
Only in a culture as messed up as ours around birth would we possibly judge a woman who is choosing to have a positive mental attitude and researching her options.
Now, obviously, a woman can't be TOO wedded to her plan. Yes, emergencies may arise (though that isn't the norm) and, especially for a first-time mom, you really can't anticipate what you will feel going into a birth. You may not want the epidural and then change your mind halfway through. That's OK.
Having a plan isn't about "I will do this at all costs." It's about really thinking through your options, letting go of fear, and doing all your homework. It's hard to understand why people are so judgmental about that.
In part, it really is a cultural issue. We have turned ALL births into scary, painful, medical events. They needn't be so awful. Half the birth battle is letting go of fear. A "plan" helps you do that. Even if you deviate, the exercise and taking the time to create one actually helps you understand better what your body is going through.
The next time someone mocks me for my birth plan (a home birth, for the record), I will simply laugh and say nothing, inwardly disregarding their judgment. They really have no idea what they are talking about.
Do you get judgment for having a "birth plan"?
Image via D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr