Should I make a birth plan?

"If birth never goes according to plan what's the point in making one?" is something I am often asked.

And I'm afraid there isn't a straight up answer to this one. Whist YES, one half of me believes you should make one, the other half of me says NO.

The subject of birth plans isn't quite so black and white as it would first seem.

If you don’t write down what you would like to happen in an ideal birth scenario, then nobody is going to know what you want.  And if the people caring for you don't know want you want how can they help you?

The other thing is, if you dont have an idea of want you would like during birth.  Your motivation to take the necessary steps to help you get there will be missing.

On the flip side to that.   If you write a plan, believe it wholeheartedly to come true and your baby has others ideas.  There's a chance you'll be left feeling disappointed. And no-one wants that either.

The way we teach making a birth plan is different to most schools of thought.

Because birth, like life doesn't come with a guarantee the contrarian in me wants to tell you to tear up that plan!

You see for some of us plans can make you feel rigid, like you have to stick to them to get the desired result. This is especially the case if you naturally think in absolute terms. Anything that takes you off plan into the grey unknown, can make you feel uncomfortable and out of control.

Let's say your going to a dear friends wedding, it's a few hours drive away.  Due to work commitments you arrange to drive up that morning and set your alarm for 6am. You make a plan to ensure that you get to the wedding destination at least two hours early.  This will give you time to check in to hotel and freshen up before the service.

You plan to get up, have breakfast, check you have everything packed and leave in plenty of time. If all goes well, you’ll get there for around 10am.

If something goes awry, say you sleep through the alarm, the car doesn't start or maybe the main road you want is shut due to roadworks. Then all of a sudden the plan you made has failed, leaving you feeling let down, disappointed and out of control.   You feel like this whether it’s something that you could have done or somebody else should have done.  Fact is, the plan has not worked.

Here's the thing with making birth plans.

They tend to feel quite rigid and if X, Y, and Z hasn't happen to get the desired result you can be left feeling deflated. Unfortunately, birth just has too many variables for plans made in this way. Your mindset needs to be able to adapt and your thinking needs to flexible. This way you can ride the waves of uncertainty childbirth brings.

Because we never know exactly what’s going to happen.

Feeling capable, knowing you can meet whatever is presented to you on the day is a much healthier place to be than focusing only on what you would like to happen.

So out with the rigid plan and in with the capable mindset and, of course, the tools to ride the waves of uncertainty.

We like the word intentions here at PBHQ it’s just much calmer feel to it and allows you to be more flexible and evolve with the circumstances you're in. Setting an intention to be, calm, confident, capable and courageous is about saying, ‘I know I have the emotional resilience and coping skills to manage my birth positively.

With this mindset you just evolve and ride those waves of labour.

Knowing you have this capable mindset and the necessary tools in place is a much healthier place to be as you approach, plan and prepare for your baby's arrival.

Let me know have you made any mindful birth intentions for your upcoming birth. Ideally, how would you like to feel in labour? Or maybe you made plans with a previous birth experience, how did that go for you? I’d really love to know.

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