Lie #73: The Birth Plan
I had so many moms ask me when I was pregnant if I had a “birth plan.” Wut.
If you’re coming into this thing for the first time, prepare yourself. People are going to ask if you have a birth plan, how you plan to give birth, and trust me when I say that the most personal questions about your anatomy will be fair game.
Will you have a Cesarean section? Or do you plan to give birth vaginally? Are you going all-natural or are you planning to get an epidural? Do you want to be induced or are you going to let things progress naturally? Are you going to give birth at home, in the hospital, or at a birthing center? Are you going to hire a doula? Wait, you don’t know what a doula is? OH MY GOD. Wait. Are you thinking of having a water birth? OMG you haven’t written any of your wishes down?!?
And if you are stupid enough (*raises hand here*) to provide an answer or even a hint of an opinion one way or the other, you can rest assured that will be the WRONG BIRTH PLAN.
“Are you sure, because I had a _[insert wild story here]__ and it was the [best/worst] birth experience of my life!”
I need a drink. Of water. Cuz I’m pregnant. Duh.
In the ten months that you are pregnant (yup. TEN.), you will be bombarded with decision after decision regarding your own health, and the health of your tiny bundle of joy. The birth plan, as it were, is the one thing that I pushed until the very end of my pregnancy and desperately tried not to think about. In fact, I tried not to think about birth in general. I had purposely gotten myself into this mess, and I did not want to think about its conclusion.
The stories are, for a first time mom especially, horrific. The miracle of birth doesn’t quite seem so miraculous when somebody tells you about the Stage 4 tear they had (don’t you dare Google it – hey, I warned you), but YOUR birth experience is gonna be just fine. Promise.
If I wasn’t already terrified of a tiny human shooting out of my nether regions like in the Doritos commerical, pretty sure that story sent me straight into Hyperventilation Station. Dear God, the birth stories. The birth stories and the birth plans. Words cannot accurately describe the feelings.
Here are a few of the lietruths I was told throughout my pregnancy regarding births and birth plans. I call them lietruths because there are aspects of the truth and lies in all of them. Some are outright lies. I’ll leave you to decide which on your own.
- Healing from a C-section is NOTHING – way easier than a vaginal birth… no, I’ve never had a vaginal birth. Why do you ask?
- If you don’t go naturally, you can’t fully appreciate the experience of birth and the juxtaposition of the beauty and the pain. You will have a horrible birth experience if you have an epidural.
- (MALE COWORKER) I bet you have preeclampsia. My wife had that and you just look swollen- that’s how it started for her. (NOTE: this isn’t falling under birth plans or lietruths, but I thought I tell y’all that a male coworker actually told me this)
- There is NO medical reason you would ever have to be induced. Get a second opinion before you ever let a doctor induce you.
- YOU DON’T HAVE A DOULA? You have to have a doula and a birth plan because all doctors just disrespect your wishes and you have to have someone fighting for you and what you want. In fact, all hospitals do is ignore your wishes. Girl, get you a doula.
- If you have an epidural, the drugs will flow directly into your baby’s brain and they’ll be born all drugged up and it will ruin it.
- If you’re in labor more than four hours, you’re doing something wrong and you need to have a C-section. You should just schedule a C-section; it’s easier.
Everybody thinks that their way is the best way and their birth plan is the best plan. Truth Nugget: there is no best way or any best plan other than getting your kid into the universe safely.
My doctor told me something that stuck with me when I casually mentioned a birth plan. At the end of the day, “Babies do their own thing. Plan or not.”
So I didn’t have a birth plan. My “plan,” if you could call it that, was to do whatever my doctor suggested. After all, she was the expert and I was not. I asked questions if there was something I didn’t understand, and tried my hardest to go with the flow, as it were. My kid arrived safe and sound.
Do a birth plan if you want to. Don’t if it stresses you out. Whatever. But whatever you do, don’t listen to any birth stories while you’re pregnant. They’re the worst.