I was the mom that wrote the super long birth plan. It was two pages long. And that was only because I had forced myself to pare it down! I included specific desires for my birth. While I used language that implied I understood things may not go that way, it was clear that these wishes were what I was hoping for. And I think that’s all of us right? We realistically know that birth is unpredictable. We know we don’t really get a say in how things play out. Yet somehow as we’re writing it down or filling out the hospital provided birth plans, we think to ourselves that surely things will go our way.
However, what I learned and what I’m sure many of you mamas also discovered is that birth has a way of reminding us that we are not in control.
If I could line up the desires I wrote down on my birth plan with the sequence of events that unfolded the day my son was born, it would make you laugh. Because truly it was so opposite of what I’d imagined.
To give you a taste of what I mean I’ll share how things got started. I wanted to go into labor naturally, avoid Pitocin and allow my water to break spontaneously (rather than the doctor doing it). Around 6:15 am I was at the hospital to get checked out with a few symptoms I was unsure of. By 8:30 I was hooked up to the Pitocin and the doctor had just broken my water. Rest assured, I was actively involved in this decision and wasn’t forced into by my doctor, it was just the right way to go at the time. But talk about the opposite of what I’d been planning!
The list of things I had hoped for goes on, as does the ways in which my labor did not cooperate with those wishes. My desires for an unmedicated birth with the least amount of interventions possible, ended up being an induced labor with an epidural and a vacuum assisted delivery.
After the birth whirlwind settles and we were home with our little bundle of joy, I had some time to think through my birth. And I’ll be honest with you, I was a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled that my son was here and healthy! Of course that was all that really mattered to me at the end of the day. But it didn’t change the fact that I had spent months imagining how things would go. I’d spent hours and hours preparing my mind and body for the birth I had envisioned. And then it didn’t happen. There is nothing wrong with the birth I had. It was still beautiful and I look back on the day with joy even though it wasn’t what I pictured.
But if you find yourself thinking about your birth with a twinge of disappointment, or of longing for something different or even with the heavy weight of birth related trauma I just want you to know you’re not alone. Births don’t go to plan. I would be willing to bet more moms can say their birth didn’t go as planned, than those who can say it did. In the months that followed the birth of my son, I’ve had time to process the feelings around my birth and I’ve got two important nuggets I’d like to share with any other mamas who resonate with the words above.
- It’s ok to be disappointed- it is not a reflection on how you feel about your baby, motherhood or anything of the sort. Give yourself time and permission to grieve the birth you wanted and process the birth you had.
- You are a strong and powerful mama no matter what your birth looked like. No matter what, you brought life into the world. Whether you did it at home with no interventions, in an OR via C-section or anywhere in between. You are a rockstar and don’t let anyone (not society, your best friend, especially not your own brain) ever let you think differently.
I hope you birth went exactly as you hoped! But if it didn’t, I hope your heart felt seen and found encouragement in these words. Let’s hear it for ALL the strong mamas bringing their babies into the world!