I hear it a lot. ‘Birth Plan’ is restrictive, inflexible, even conflictive.
Your birth plan is NOT a list of wishes. It is NOT a list of preferences.
So use ‘preferences’ or ‘wishes’ to soften the language. The Language of Birth Plans matters. So too, does the title.
To call your birth plan ‘preferences’ or ‘wishes’ implies a lack of conviction.
Preferences are things we might want regardless of reality.
A decision is something we make based on our reality.
Our reality, our circumstances, may change over time. This means we may make different decisions at different times.
A decision has conviction and understanding.
A preference may be a dream or an ideal…may be a possibility, or may be unattainable.
It’s easy to dismiss a preference.
Not so much a decision.
If this. Then that.
A good birth plan, or a birth map, is a document containing your informed decisions for various pathways.
You have the right to refuse or insist on various procedures. If your care provider uses words like “flexible”, “let”, or “allow”, these are red flags. You should not have to fight for your rights when you are in labour. Your thinking brain needs to shut down, so your primal brain can take over, so you can be flooded with positive birth hormones. Feeling safe and supported is important to this process. Being uninterrupted is critical. Your birth map becomes your voice. It allows your support person to advocate for you.
Informed. Supported. Confident.
This also means that your support person is empowered, bringing positive hormones into the space. If your support is fearful or anxious, this can impact your hormones. Hormones are contagious.