Creating a birth plan is a true rite of passage, whether you're a first-time mom or you're about to welcome your fifth. When I started drafting my "perfect scenario" plan — complete with all the intricate, impossible details — I was inundated with various and relentless outside opinions and unsolicited advice. Regardless, I knew it was my baby, my birth, and my plan. So then, and always, there are things people don't get to ask me about my birth plan; unless "people" means you're my partner, doctor, or Steven Tyler (because Steven Tyler is a magical unicorn of a human being, OK?).
When I was pregnant with my first child, I had all the dreams and visions of a "successful" labor and delivery. I didn't know what a birth actually consists of, other than what I'd heard from friends and family or what is shamelessly portrayed on television which, obviously, isn't totally realistic. I guess you can say I was "naively optimistic," but that's the beauty of going through something as taxing as labor and delivery for the very first time: everything sounds lovely until you're actually going through it, which is why you agreed to go through it in the first place.
Having a birth plan makes becoming a new mom feel a little easier. So, the last thing a mom-to-be needs is someone asking endless and intrusive questions while she's trying to devise a blueprint that will, hopefully, make her labor and delivery go down as smooth as possible. So, honestly, save these questions for another day, kids:
"Why Don't You Want To See Your Kid Crown?"
Most of the birthing process is a string of personal decisions. I opted not to see my children as they crowned because I have a weak stomach and, honestly, didn't want those images haunting me the rest of my life (let alone if there might be accidental pooping as I pushed).
Some women live for this first view though, so it's simply stated "no mirror during delivery" on my birth plan. There's really no other explanation needed.
"Why Are They Allowed In The Delivery Room, But I'm Not?"
This question is off-limits. I don't want to start a war or anything, but those allowed in the room are in there to keep me calm. I don't want drama or discomfort in any way, so if your name isn't on the list please don't ask me why.
For my first birth, I initially only had my partner's name on the "allowed to be in the room" list, because I didn't know what I wanted. Eventually it changed, but when reading through who's names are on there, just leave it so I'm not stressing out during an already stressful time. Besides, there's only so many sets of eyeballs I want on my nether regions.
"Why Did You Choose Medication?"
Another personal decision is pain medication, such as an epidural. I wanted the damn thing because labor and delivery are hard enough. What I don't want, however, are a thousand questions about why. It's obvious and really doesn't require a Powerpoint presentation on how my pros outweighed the cons.
"What Are Your Plans Regarding Circumcision?"
With my second labor and delivery, my birth plan (which wasn't nearly as detailed as that of my first), I was pretty set with the way I wanted things to go. I'd already been through it once before, knew what worked and what didn't, and because this baby was a boy my partner and I already discussed circumcision. It wasn't up for debate, it was merely written in the plan as our wishes. Some choose not to for religious or other reasons. Cool. I don't ask those people why, so don't ask me why, either.
"Why Are You Weird About Examinations?"
I actually don't think I even need to explain why this is in my birth plan. I've had one labor where I was examined frequently and without being asked, and once I got to my second I didn't those frequent and intrusive examinations as necessary. If anything, they made me more uncomfortable and delayed any relaxation progress.
So I discussed my plan with my nurses and doctors, making it clear that I only wanted to be examined when it was absolutely needed so I didn't feel so violated. It goes without saying, consent matters.
"Don't You Want The Doctors To Examine The Baby First?"
Once I delivered my second baby, I made it clear in my birth plan I wanted minimal handling of my son (unless medically necessary, and it turned out intervention was necessary).
After my firstborn, it interfered with early bonding, breastfeeding attempts, and my overall emotional wellbeing. It might seem weird to explicitly make this requests, but I assure everyone involved that I had my reasons.
"Don't You Want To Breastfeed?"
Breastfeeding is such a highly debated parental choice, no matter which side you're on. My decision not to try breastfeeding with my second baby, at least in the same I did with my firstborn, was an easy one for me to make, though. I knew the anxiety and depression I experienced the first tie around. I knew the way it fed my postpartum depression and delayed the bonding I wanted to with my new baby. I don't owe anyone an explanation for wanting none of that to happen again. Period.
In the end, it's important to remember that birth plans are personal. They cater to a mom's taste and preferences and may not be as everyone else would prefer. Everyone else isn't having my babies, though. Basically, whatever you read on that plan, just don't ask. There's no convincing a determined mother with a plan.