Women have been giving birth for a long time – we are one of the most successful species on planet Earth. Yet it seems now more than ever that society wants to actively dissuade mums-to-be from planning the birth of their child. Perhaps there is still the perception that a ‘plan’ is a rigid set of fluffy ideals that mums must be discouraged from attempting for fear of not achieving the perfect birth?! Here Daisy teacher Fi Hennessy explores some of the reasons why we may be afraid to plan for birth…
The Perfect Birth
What even is the perfect birth? Let me tell you what the perfect birth is – one that mum, partner and baby can feel happy and positive about. That’s it. A perfect birth is down to each individual to decide what they want and how they feel about it afterwards. It is simply nothing to do with you or me.
When you are approaching one of the biggest events in your life, why wouldn’t you want to plan for it? I often wonder if because we have a free at point of service NHS that mums are more reluctant to present a plan for birth, not wanting to be seen as ‘that’ mum who demands this and that. If we had to pay and knew we’d be presented with a bill for however many thousands of pounds for a birth that we would be more inclined to ask for the best. Need I remind you, we DO pay for our NHS!
Birth is still shrouded in mystery and often the reason presented for not planning is that you can’t know what’s going to happen so why bother trying to plan? Again, I say this is the perfect reason to plan! Precisely because you can’t know how it’s going to go – why wouldn’t you want to work out your preferences for each stage? Despite what people think birth is not mysterious and unknown and there are a finite amount of ways that baby will be coming out!
But I don’t know how I will react to labour – I just want all the drugs!
Of course you don’t know how you will react, especially if it is your first. That’s fine. All the more reason to plan. If you want all the drugs, great! What order would you like them in? What happens if you react badly to the drugs? How will you mitigate the effects of the drugs on your labour? All of these things can be outlined in a birth plan.
A birth plan gives you the upper hand. It means you have probably done a little research into what might happen. You may already know what your options are and how to go about getting them. You may have heard of new information which could help you in your specific situation. You are aware of available pain relief options, the benefits and disadvantages and this helps you to inform your choices. You know you can choose where to give birth and the advantages of each location.
So let’s collectively stop telling women they shouldn’t plan for their birth and actively helping them to decide what’s best for them.
Love Daisy x