It’s time to come up with a plan.
Time to explore, excavate, dive in, and bounce around ideas! Time to get a feel for what brings you comfort and confidence. Time to consider your choices and choose them wisely.
Please keep these two important points in mind when creating your Birth Plan. First, birth is normal and natural. Regardless of elaborate birth plans that most of us consider to fully prepare for the occasion, birth will happen, and more often than not, beautifully. Our bodies know what to do. Our babies know what to do. So no matter how we plan, birth unfolds in its own sweet time and way. That said, few approach birth in ignorance or innocence. So a part of our planning process is simply taking responsibility, and doing our best to create the safest, most comfortable and fulfilling birth situation. And since we all have our own unique formula defining safe, comfortable and fulfilling, taking the time to clarify our choices – and make the arrangements to best assure their possibility – is the responsible way to prepare for birth.
Second, there is no one right way. There is only your way. May you make that as beautiful, unique and special as you are, and flow with the progression as it unfolds, even if it is not fully as you planned. Every woman is different, every birth is different. The goal is not to find “the perfect birth” as there is no such thing, any more than there is a right way or a wrong way, a better way or a worse way. There is no place for comparison or competition in birth. Likewise there is no place for judgment or criticism. Birth is by nature expansive, powerful and personal. The understanding of natural and normal allows for tremendous diversity as beautiful in every special birth as the infinite varieties of flowers, clouds, and stars.
Further, the days of birthing in “The Twilight Zone,” when the standard was simply having the baby removed from the body by a third party, are passing. More women and families are understanding their responsibility and role in this Sacred Transformation and are enjoying this shift in birthing choices. Consider deeply what role and responsibility you and your family and/or partner care to, can and are willing to take.
No matter how you plan, honor this birth as it unfolds. Birth is a combination of your desires, the baby’s desires, and your choices for the greatest health, well being, and a safe and spiritual entrance into this world. And something else. That higher power or bigger picture. The great mystery. Trust that, and to that, release when the time is ripe.
The Birth Plan: Consider your Choices.
So, to consider and create your choices for birth.
There are the three main choices: location, general condition and attendants. And then there are several other options beyond that to consider if you so choose. Even though there is a lot to think about, I like to throw it all out there, spread it out on the table before you, because sometimes women don’t know unless they are exposed to the possibilites. In other words, how can we consider that which we didn’t know existed? I don’t want to confuse you, but nor do I like to hear a woman say, “Gee, I didn’t know about that,” or “I didn’t even think about doing that,” or “I wish I thought of that earlier.”
We talk about birth being primal and instinctual, but we also know it helps to open up, share, make suggestions and discuss options. What would happen if we approached birth from a state of complete ignorance? Silly as this sounds, I remember the old movie Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields and her expression of innocence approaching birth. And I remember it turned out just fine. In reality, yes, chances are good that would be the case for you too. For example, most unintended unassisted natural births, like women who deliver in the taxi cab or along the highway, turn out fine. I always think that’s an important statistic to keep in mind.
So, if it can and does “just happen,” why does it seem so complicated? Well, my friend, welcome to our increasingly modern society where we are further and further removed from that which is normal and natural…
Often times when birth is spoken of, words like “primal” and “instinctual” are used. Unfortunately, birth that many women experience is very far removed from these descriptions. Birth instead becomes a managed process, filled with words, machines, interruptions and interventions.
Birth is rarely allowed to “just happen.” The myth of the woman squatting in the fields, dropping her baby, strapping him on her back and continuing work is just that. A myth. As far as we know, birth has always been considered an event, usually a sacred, special and/or celebrated event.
Traditionally, this honor was between women in the community. Mothers, grandmothers, midwives. In recent years, it has become common for women to pass on the authority of the birth experience to a doctor and the medical system. The celebration and beauty of the event can still be honored if this is your choice. Additionally, today more and more women are returning to the nature of birth and choosing to do it themselves, with partner, or with family – with or without a doctor, midwife or other assistant serving them.
No matter how, where or with whom you choose to birth, for the most part we see the fewer disturbances, the smoother the results. When intervention or disturbance occurs, the risk of the so-called cascade of interventions is increased. Though birth may no longer be natural at that point, we can still consciously work to have it be honorable and beautiful.
Whatever your preferences, today most of us want to know our options, our choices and make decisions accordingly. Birth can just happen. Sure enough, it will, and usually just fine. Or we can do our best to make this the most special experience we can. Make the most of it. For our baby, for ourselves, for our families. How best do we choose to usher this little one into this world? No matter your choices and how the birth unfolds, you will never forget the moment. Never. I suppose that’s why most of us do our best to make the birth an exceptional, empowering, passionate and ecstatic event, and the warmest welcome we can for the new life.
So now, let’s start by looking at the first of the three “biggie” choices, and then we’ll move onto the details.
Location – where do you want to birth? The most common choices being home, birthing center or hospital. This is an important and highly personal decision. The rule of thumb about location is this – it should be a place you feel safe, comfortable, private, respected. A place in which your baby would want to come into the world!
Some environments are more conducive to releasing into the birthing process than others. This has been well studied and recorded. It is interesting to note that the same suggestions for ideal factors in childbirth for beneficial hormonal release and progress of labor are the same as the romantic, sexual, and/or sensual environment.
These qualities are noted as the following:
- Dim lights
- Soft sounds or silence
- A gentle, supportive environment with minimal interruption, distraction and disturbance.
How would you create or define your ideal choice for a birth place?
- What makes you feel romantic? (get that oxytocin flowing!)
- In what sort of environment do you envision bringing your baby into the world?
- In what sort of environment do you envision yourself most able to let go, surrender and flow?
- What makes you feel safe?
- Where and how will intuition, instinct thrive?
Tune in deeply to your personal inner wisdom. This is where you must decide for yourself what makes you feel safe. No two women are the same, and thus our choices may have great variation. Find out what creates your safe and sound environment, and honor that.
If you are not yet certain where you would like to plan on birthing, take some time, explore, dream and meditate on this. This is a huge decision that only you will know the right answer to.
Next we’ll take a look at the other greatest decisions to consider for creating your Birth Plan.