Many people avoid ‘writing a birth plan’ because you can’t plan birth…this word ‘plan’ is a problem.
It evokes the idea that you are fixed to an order of business, or a set outcome It implies inflexibility and rigidity, and many feel it just sets you up for disappointment.
The no-plan approach seems to suggest no preparing at all.
Many prefer to “go with the flow”…but whose flow?
What does this mean?
I will do as I am told?
I trust my care providers to give me the info and support I need?
I will listen to my body, birth instinctually?
If you are in a hospital, your instincts may invoke a flight or fight, freeze or appease response. Adrenaline can inhibit birth.
Not all hospitals are the same, nor are all care providers. ‘Going with the Flow’ means trusting to the lottery of life...
Do you feel lucky? Well do ya?
Is the hospital low intervention, or can you expect high intervention?
Do you have continuity care?
Is your birth partner aware of your needs and prepared to advocate for you?
There are many variables, sure, and you can’t guarantee a particular outcome. But the ‘going with the flow’ approach doesn’t have to mean no preparing at all. The Birth Map allows you to go with the flow in an informed, relaxing way. It is about understanding all your options, all the possibilities.
Given the luck component to going with the flow, you may feel preparation-free ‘going with the flow’ will make it easier to accept your birth experience, but it won’t. Sure, you may get to the other side with a healthy baby, but a part of you will lament the experience, especially if it leaves you with physical difficulties, an unsettled baby, breastfeeding difficulties, and no sympathy or support (because a healthy baby means you can not complain). Your birth experience may be no more than a niggle that you can push away, to the back of your thoughts. It may fester and grow, eating away at you as you wonder why going with flow was not the serene and chilled out experience you expected, but a tumultuous ride over rapids, being crushed and battered, afraid and confused. Birth Trauma and disappointment are linked to post natal depression, and it is established that birth trauma and disappointment arise when we feel done-to, rather than a part of our birth experience. (see more: Autonomy in Childbirth – Why it Matters and Mothers Matter!)
Your birth experience shapes your mothering.
It is critical to be supported.
The Birth Map, or more importantly the process of creating one, benefits you, your partner and your care provider.
The process of creating the Birth Map, Birth Cartography, means you will be able identify the rapids approaching, and you will navigate them on your terms, you will develop a supportive team, all focused and aware. The journey may still be difficult, but you will be ready: informed, supported and confident.
If you want to ‘go with flow’, make it your flow – consider creating a Birth Map and be prepared for anything.