Birth plans are synonymous with so-called "demanding" mothers-to-be. I, honestly, have no idea why they get such a bad rap. Regardless of how meticulous a birth plan may be, every woman has the right to decide what happens to her body and her baby. So I feel confident saying there are more than a few things things you don't get to tell me about my birth plan because well, it's my birth experience we're talking about, people. When it's your turn, I promise I'll keep my opinions to myself. Fair enough? OK, cool.
My first birth plan was created over the course of nine miserable months. I'd left my job, been ordered to bed rest due to high blood pressure, and had all the time in the world to obsess over the future and how I wanted labor and delivery to go. My partner and I were committed to one another, but my pregnancy solidified that commitment in a way very few things can, essentially forcing us to re-evaluate where we wanted to go in life and how we planned on getting there. In other words, that 40 weeks (more or less) of pregnancy were all about big decision making, and how I wanted to give birth was one of those important choices I found myself making.
Thus, my intricate birth plan was born (excuse the pun). It was my way, however small, of reeling in a little control I felt like I had lost. I needed to go into labor and delivery feeling secure and confident. My plan reflected my preferences, and I didn't take anyone else into consideration. I mean, no one else was going to give birth to my baby, so why should I? So with that in mind, here are some people shouldn't be allowed to tell you about your own birth plan:
"It's Too Detailed"
It doesn't matter how long, or short, my birth plan is. I spent the time and energy to think every point through, then I wrote (and typed) them out, so I deserve to have my preferences heard and taken seriously. I'm detailed with everything else in my life, so why would this be any different? If it makes me feel better to chronicle every last moment of what I hope my birth will be, let me.
"Well, You Better Be Flexible"
Of course I know things don't always go according to plan, but if you have the nerve to tell me I need to be "flexible" when I'm fully dilated and ready to deliver, prepare for all the rage.
Throughout my life I have bended, caved, and compromised when it was necessary (and even when it wasn't). But when it involves my body and the plan I thoughtfully created to honor my body, you can keep your "be flexible" sentiments to yourself and let me hold onto the hope that my plan will go exactly as I wish. So even if I'm being prepped for an induction I didn't plan on, or an emergency c-section I didn't think I would need, you can keep this comment to yourself.
"You Should Just Throw It Out"
OK so technically I did have to toss my birth plan. My unmedicated birth went right out the window when I was induced and needed a slew of medical interventions.Still, You don't get to tell me to throw out my birth plan, even if I literally have to. I don't want to hear it.
"[Insert Snark Or Judgment Here]"
I had the misfortune of getting one of the nurses who'd either had a bad day, hated her job, or disliked me. Regardless of the reason behind her particularly hurtful mood, it made an already stressful birthing process that much harder. You don't get to mock my birth plan just because you think it's unrealistic.
"Childbirth Is Too Unpredictable For Your Plan To Matter"
Does it even matter? I mean, honestly. If a plan helps me push through the anxiety of childbirth and my fear of the unknown, just let me have the damn plan. Sure, labor and delivery is unpredictable and a number of things can unexpectedly happen, but I need a birth plan for reassurance if nothing else. Let me have this, you monsters.
"The Nurses Are Going To Hate You"
Um, so? Look, pregnant women don't write their birth plans for anyone else other than themselves. To ask us to care about someone else's comfort or feelings when a human being is exiting our body is to ask for the near impossible.
I'm allowed to be selfish during labor and delivery, so sorry I'm not sorry.
"You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into"
I get it. Some people think birth plans are useless because childbirth is so unpredictable. But honestly, who knows exactly what they're going to experience in any situation, labor and delivery included? So yeah, childbirth was surprising. For me, aside from the induction itself being a shock, I was astonished that I wasn't able to dilate or progress as quickly as I had hoped. I needed medical intervention because my body wasn't cooperating with the plan. Hey, what are you going to do, right?
So regardless of your thoughts and/or feelings about my plan to bring another human being into the world, keep it all to yourself. Until my doctor requests another route for the sake of my health, or the health of my child, it's my body, my birth, my plan. End of conversation.