Birth is unpredictable, a birth plan = high expectations…but instead of lowing them…how about having no expectations! Birth plans set you up for disappointment, you must be open to whatever unfolds….
This is actually a very interesting point, as behavioural specialist Ray Williams does suggest that no goals are better than failed goals. This suggests that there is some ‘wisdom’ in lower expectations…or better yet, having no expectations. BUT the reality is, doing this means you also must TOTALLY disregard yourself.
You must relegate yourself to nothing of worth…otherwise known as leaving your dignity at the door.
If you choose to go with the flow – that is have no plan and be open to ‘whatever’ – birth will happen to you. You will play a passive role in what is a critical life event, a rite of passage. You will be transformed by this event.
This sheds a different light on the issue on birth preparation. You do Matter. You matter a lot!
This matters because the current maternity system does not encourage women to own, trust or actively participate in their birthing.
And Yet, how we experience birth matters, because it stays with us for a lifetime.
Women and their partners are at their most vulnerable AND most powerful when pregnant, giving birth and parenting.
The reality is: birth may be unpredictable, but that doesn’t make it unpreparable
Rather than No Plan, A Birth Map helps a woman find Her Way and then make the choices to ensure she receives the care she needs.
Birth Mapping starts with the general considerations, such as:
- Who should be your care provider and where you want to give birth?
- What are your feelings around birth?
- Who will be with you?
- What do you understand already?
- Do you have fears and anxieties?
It can take many weeks to go through this, the earlier you start thinking about it, the better: trying to conceive? get the book!
Once you have set the scene, take time to explore each stage of labour:
What are the standard procedures?
What are your options?
Where do you need to provide consent?
Based on your expectations, you develop a BIRTH MAP that reflects your needs.
What makes you feel safe and cared for?
The next step is to consider deviations from expectation.
The contingency planning is vital.
You do not want to make on the spot decisions. You want to make informed ones.
This is not about creating fear, but alleviating it.
Knowledge is power.
Once you have your pathways mapped out, you can relax.
You are now Informed, Supported and Confident.
At this point, you may want to have a ‘gathering of support’.
Unlike a baby shower, this focuses on supporting the family, relaxing the mother to be, and paving the way for a positive transition. I recommend filling the freezer with meals!
I encourage parents to think beyond the birth, to set up their ‘village’ and know where to find support.
After baby arrives, take a moment to write down the Birth Story.
A story that is an ending, and a beginning…
Birth Mapping means your support team is onside, no matter what.
Many partners love the ‘if this, then that’ approach, it gives a map to follow and refer to.
Informed. Prepared. Confident.
This matters to all of us because the wellbeing of Mothers is the well being of babies, of children and of Society.
Reality and expectation do need to align…but this does not happen by ignoring the entire situation.
The Best Birth Plan is a Birth Map!