Labor and delivery can be intimidating. Having a birth plan in place eases some of those concerns, but birth plans don't always pan out. Having a baby is a complex process with lots of room for surprises. For example, Counting On star Joy-Anna Duggar's birth story with her son Gideon shows just how important it is to be flexible with your own birth plan. As long as mama and baby are healthy, it will all turn out fine.
Duggar and husband Austin Forsyth welcomed their first child last month. “We are blessed beyond measure with the arrival of our son, Gideon Martyn Forsyth,” the couple told People. “Looking at our child for the first time was such an incredible moment! God is so good, and we are so thankful.” Along with their announcement to the magazine, Duggar's cousin Amy King shared — and then promptly deleted — a photo of Duggar and her newborn in the hospital shortly after she gave birth, according to the Daily Mail.
Anyone who has been following Duggar's pregnancy knows that she did not plan on having Gideon in a hospital. Rather, she was prepping for a home water birth, as she shared in a video on Monday with TLC. "We got the birth pool set up. We got our house somewhat cleaned out and trying to finish a lot of the bigger projects before the baby arrives," she said in the video. "I think now we just need to fill up the pool and hopefully set up some beds in the guest bedroom and we'll be good to go."
If King's post is any indication, things did not go exactly as planned. It isn't clear why Duggar ended up moving her delivery to the hospital, but there are a number of reasons that could have led her to do so. In the same TLC video, the new mom shared that she received some important advice about her birth plan: to be "flexible" and "prepare for the birth and have plans but if something doesn't go as planned then be OK with that and just have another plan." That flexibility is key when it comes to planning your labor and delivery.
Parents underlined the importance of remaining flexible with your birth plan and taking it easy on yourself if things change, explaining:
It's all right to aim for your ideal birth plan, but remember that plans change, especially when it comes to something as unpredictable and delicate as childbirth. Be knowledgeable but flexible, and be gentle with yourself if you didn't achieve a birth that's exactly how you planned. Just remember that delivering a healthy baby is the ultimate birth plan.
Trying too hard to achieve your idea of perfection in delivery can have negative consequences for moms. Nicole Giangregorio, manager of Women’s Education at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns, told Sharp.com that it can be hard on moms' mental health:
You’ve anticipated the birth of your child for the past nine months or longer. So when the time comes and things don’t go exactly as planned, it can lead to feelings of disappointment, failure and even perinatal mood and anxiety disorders such as postpartum depression and anxiety.
Accepting, as Duggar seems to have, that birth plans change is an important part of a healthy delivery. But she may still be able to have that water birth of her dreams one day after all. Forsyth spoke with People in June and shared that the two don't plan on slowing down any time soon. “We love kids and we’re excited to have a family,” he said at the time. “We’re just going to see what the Lord does. We want as many as he thinks we can handle, and we are putting it into his hands.” With the Duggar family's beliefs against birth control, there could be a lot more birth stories in her future.