Do I Really Need A Birth Plan?

When I found out I was pregnant with Charlie, I knew our pregnancy was going to be vastly different from most.  There would be more rules and doctor's appointments.  I'd have to give in to some things that I typically wouldn't have done, just to keep us healthy and safe.  If I was to plan the my ideal birth, I'd keep synthetic exposure to a minimum, try alternatives to reduce use of interventions, and create a calm and empowering space. 

I truly believe the heart of birth is natural. Our bodies know what to do and the best thing we can do is to keep a peaceful and calm perspective throughout the birthing process.  However, I'm not jaded and I know today's medicines and doctors can do wonderful things to help women, especially women like me, deliver babies and remain at the top of their health. 

So do I really need a birth plan?

I'll tell you what, I wrote one. I wrote a birth plan even though I know my options are more limited due to health. I wrote one to feel empowered, to become educated the options I do have, and to feel like an active part of my child's birth. If there is one thing I don't like, it's being told what to do. And being told I'd need an epidural, to be induced, to be in the triage room is something I met with fierce (also known as toddler tantrum-style) resistance. I wanted my labor to be a natural, uncomplicated process. But I also had to come to the realization that, for me, the most peaceful and healthy environment would come from allowing my body to rest during labor through an epidural, to be induced to lower my risk of complication, and that the triage room will offer better care to my baby and me.  For me, this will be the most natural and uncomplicated.

When I first asked friends about what to include in a birth plan, I was met with some pretty aggressive opinions (but I guess that comes with becoming a mom, huh). People saying birth plans are just highways to emergency c-sections and others saying no one will read the birth plan anyways, so whats the point. And I do understand where these sentiments come from. Labor is a personal experience and with any personal experience, its best to be flexible. It's hard to know what your body will need until you are going through it. And I understand it can seem like waste of time for others. 

Here are my thoughts and you can put as much value in them as you would like. It is your body and it is your baby. I believe there is nothing wrong with having preferences over what your body and baby experience.  I believe I can be more flexible when I have a plan in place. If I have planned for something, it means I have researched different avenues and I feel more comfortable deviating from them. 

So do you need to write a birth plan? It's completely up to you. A birth plan can be written as a communication tool between you and your doctor prior to labor.  It can open up doors of different options and allow the doctor to get to know your desires for birth. It can be a tool you keep to yourself to educate yourself on the process. Or it can be a waste of time. 

Just remember that no matter how your baby is born, it is beautiful simply because your body brought another living and breathing human into the world. And there is nothing more natural and uncomplicated as that.