Why I Didn't Have a Birth Plan
I love to plan. I love going to the grocery store knowing every dinner is planned out for the next week. If Matt and I are toying with the idea of a vacation or some sort of an outing, chances are, I’ve already found the perfect Airbnb and created a spreadsheet of all the attractions in the area. Checklists are my favorite. Sometimes I will add an item to the list that I’ve already accomplished, JUST so I can have the satisfaction of checking it off.
I think I like plans so much because they are predictable and safe. The more I have planned something out and thought it through, the less I leave up to the chance (aka, the more control I think I have). Knowing this about myself played a large role in my decision not to have a birth plan when I was pregnant with Cyrus. I realize that I am broaching a very touchy subject for some women. Please note that my desire is not to ruffle feathers or even change minds. I simply hope to offer comfort and peace of mind to anyone who may be conflicted over their own experience.
When I was pregnant with Cyrus, I (like most mommas-to-be) had a lot of fears about motherhood. If I could have made a list that would safely navigate me through infancy and toddlerhood, I would have. I had such fixed ideas of how I wanted to parent and what life as a mother would look like. I wanted to breastfeed exclusively for the first year and introduce nutritious foods early on. I planned to limit screen time and be the most present, loving, intentional mom there was. But when it came to the birth plan, I never had peace about making one.
My mom had to have a c-section with my brother and me, and while I am a major advocate for all things natural, I couldn’t help but be thankful that it was a c-section that quite possibly kept us both alive. I also wondered if I would inherit some of the same attributes that kept my own mom from experiencing a natural childbirth. I will spare the details leading up to Cyrus’s birth, but as it turned out, I had a near identical situation to my mom’s. And after many hours of labor with no dilation, the nurses wheeled me back to the operating room for a c-section.
We are strong and capable women regardless of the events that unfolded the day we became mothers.
Seeing Cyrus for the first time was undeniably one of the greatest joys of my life. But I realize, sadly, how many women had a birth plan that didn’t go the way they hoped and it tainted their memories of childbirth. There was very little natural about my pregnancy, and I realize how unideal that is for some. But the only thing I cared about was giving birth to a healthy baby. All the details leading up, in my opinion, paled in comparison. I know that my memories of that day would be so, so different had I made a list of what I thought a successful birthing experience ought to be. Knowing myself, I would have spent the first weeks of Cyrus's life grieving over the day that should have been one of the very best days of my life.
For all of you natural mommas out there, I salute you. Home water births with no drug or doctor intervention are amazing. And in an ideal world, every woman would be able to have that same experience with no complications. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world, and I pray that every woman who has ever had to have a c-section or deviate from their own plan is able to look at their child and see a miracle. We are strong and capable women regardless of the events that unfolded the day we became mothers. But if you are anything like me, you cling tightly to your plans and you feel a twinge of shame or failure when things don’t go the way you hoped. For that reason, I chose not to have a birth plan. And as it turns out, it was one of the best plans I’ve ever had.