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Throw Your Birth Plan In The Trash

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BIRTH
WANDER WOMEN COLLECTIVE via Getty Images
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I had the warm socks packed in my "birthing bag," lavender eye pillow (because birthing is kind of like going to the spa?!), meditation music, gummy bears, three outfits for baby and 27 receiving blankets, arnica cream for my potentially sore vag après birth, and a list of all the important items to remind my midwife about: Delayed cord clamping, long baths with omming, limited vaginal check-ups and heart beat monitoring, and absolutely no drugs for pain management.

None.

Got it?!

Good.

So I had a Birth Plan. Yes I did.

Here's how it really went down:

0-9 cm dilated in three hours and back labour equals me wailing like a banshee with every sensation and begging for drugs. I needed SILENCE, I needed to be taken out of that bath water, and I needed someone to shut off that "soothing" meditation music yesterday.

No socks required and no food (gummy bears) could even come near my pie hole. I was huffing on nitrous oxide upon arriving at the hospital.

My son was born vaginally with the cord wrapped around his neck twice, which meant immediate cord clamping and vitals checked ASAP (or at least that's what I was told).

I had no vag tears, no sore vag to rub anything on, but serious cramping from placenta delivery; they said I could go home two hours later.

So much for that birth plan, right?

And yet, I didn't walk away feeling like I had failed my birth plan at all. I felt like She-Ra, Princess of Power, wielding the Sword of Protection. Super bad-ass. Super stretchy vagina, apparently. Six hours door-to-door.

It was a win. Because although I had a plan, I wasn't attached to any of it.

"Plans create expectations, and when birthing needs change, those expectations can be unmet."

However that isn't always the case. Sometimes the birth plan can be held in such an intense grip that when things don't go according to said "plan," disappointment, blame, trauma, and resentment can ensue. I have witnessed this firsthand on many occasions.

Enter the Birth Map. I understand that we are talking a little bit about semantics. Birth Map, Birth Plan -- what's the ever-loving difference? Both require that you jot down the vision for your birth, right?

Kinda. A Birth Plan is more like a questionnaire with set questions, and it implies that there is a PLAN. Believe me -- or almost any birthing woman -- there is not. Each birth is totally unique and you have no idea how it's going to go. No two births are the same. Bam.

Plans create expectations, and when birthing needs change, those expectations can be unmet.

Birth mapping is a paradigm that allows for course re-direction and fluidity. You know you are going to climb That Mountain. Do you go up the North Face or the South Face? Depends on the weather. The map has a lunch spot marked on it half way up. You thought there was going to be a sandwich stand, but instead there is a pie stand you, so you eat pie (clearly) -- what an opportunity.

Ok, so the pie analogy might be a bit trivial.

But when we are talking about the details of your birthing vision, there are important choices to be made. You may decide that some choices should be adhered to, like delayed cord clamping, because of the benefits for your baby. Other choices will be greatly influenced by factors beyond your control, and your birthing process may require a shift in thinking about how to ascend That Mountain.

With Birth Mapping we are able to get clear on which choices are truly important to you, and look at the vision for your birthing without attachment to the pathways for your ascent. When we practice non-attachment, it allows our highest selves to show up and witness the unique task at hand. We feel the map-pathway leads us through the birthing process and we course-correct when needed, gracefully and with acceptance.

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