Most people hear birth plan and think of something set in stone, something that has to be followed to the letter and has no room for error. Something that is inflexible, rigid and ultimately impossible to achieve. Birth is unpredictable, so surely it is pointless to plan.
This leaves you with two options:
- Hand over your power and be a ‘good girl’. Don’t ask complicated questions, just do as you are told, no need to worry your pretty little head with the details.
- Create a Birth MAP.
A Birth Map considers the many pathways of modern birthing. The process of creating a Birth Map is called Birth Cartography which helps you to understand the possible pathways and the circumstances that might require them. This means making Informed Decisions in advance, not just for your expected pathway, but for your contingencies too.
There are many advantages to making these decisions in advance – even though you may not use those pathways:
- This means you do not need to be disturbed with trivial matters.
- This avoids stressful on-the-spot decisions, where limited time and information mean we can not make truly informed decisions.
- Your Birth Partner will be more relaxed (less likely to release adrenaline).
- You can be sure you have chosen the right care provider for you.
- Knowledge is Power
If you imagine yourself as the driver, the road trip rules apply:
- The driver chooses the music
- The driver determines the speed
- The driver determines the route
- The front passenger assists with navigation (map reader)
- The back passengers do not interfere unless asked.
In many cases, the driver has familiarised themselves with the route, and requires minimal assistance from the co-pilot. The occasional ‘left at the next intersection’ or redirection in the event of road blocks, whilst offering the driver a drink periodically and changing the music if directed by the driver. Sometimes, the driver may seek assistance through a difficult section, with the co-pilot reading the map directions out. Just as the pre-programmed GPS will “recalculate” the route if you stray from the main route, giving the next best option when the main route is no longer possible, the informed birth plan allows for these pre-determined alternatives.
The Birth Pathways are no great mystery. The options available can be investigated and understood. When determining who will accompany you on your journey, you must first understand which pathway you prefer. The people who accompany you must be prepared to follow your lead. To support your journey. The care provider you choose, should be experienced and familiar with your chosen pathway.
It is Your Birth – Your Way, even if you have to take a detour.