Scrapping the Birth Plan

October 6, 2011

In case it isn’t obvious, I’ve got some MAJOR control issues surfacing around this whole birth thing.  This is frustrating for a variety of reasons, but most notably because I’ve done a ton of personal work on this in the past and largely eliminated it from several areas of my life.

I imagine that it is triggering me so intensely for a couple reasons:

  1. The birth signifies the beginning of a massive new chapter in our life and I always get a wee bit anxious during transition periods.  And when anxiety shows up for me, control usually likes to join the party as well.
  2. I feel very vulnerable with the idea of birth and the fact that it’s not just MY BIRTH, but Nia’s as well.  Vulnerability inevitably causes fear for me, which I then try to mask with control.  All an illusion of course, but pretending to be in control feels so much better than embracing the vulnerability (just being honest…)

SOOO, if I truly believe that control is simply an illusion (which I do), then it dawned on me that this whole idea of a birth plan is encouraging this bad behavior.

Now, let me clarify.  I KNOW how I’d like my birth to ideally play out.  My care team knows my preferences and so does my husband.  I realized that’s enough.  I don’t need to write it all up in bullet points and tack it to my hospital room door so that I can check off each thing as it happens (or beat myself up when it doesn’t).  Again, it just mentally reinforces this illusion that I have some semblance of control over this process.

So there you have it.  I’m scrapping the formal birth plan. I’m clear on what my birthing ‘wish list’ is, have had the conversations I need to have and now simply just need to let go of it and embrace the experience for whatever it is.  As with all intention setting, the first step is to be clear on what you want, put it out into the Universe, and then release all attachment asking for “This or something better.”

You see, I’ve been too attached to the way the birth looks, to the ‘doing’ part of it.  My coach helped me realize that I need to spend my time focusing on what I want the experience of birth to be like, essentially the ‘being’ part of the birth.  It is very possible that the events (or doing part) could play out in a variety of different ways and I could still have the ‘being experience’ that I want.

Isn’t that a cool A-HA?  So instead of focusing on the circumstances that may be out of my control, I simply focus on how I want to be present for the birth (no matter how it plays out).  Happily, that is something that’s within my power!  Stay tuned to see what new revelations show up in these last few weeks.  If there’s one thing I can say for sure about this process, it’s that the learning seems to be non-stop!

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  1. Nomads By Nature says:

    I wish I had this wisdom when my two were born. What a healthy outlook to go into the whole process/experience with! You will be awesome, regardless of how the details play out.

  2. Sarah Novak says:

    Thank you for the vote of confidence. :) It is sure to be an adventure, no matter what!

  3. elise says:

    Scrapping your birth plan is (in my opinion) the first step to being a FREAKING AWESOME mom. Rolling with the punches is quite possibly the most important aspect of my being as a mom. I’m not always good at it, I too posses control freak qualities that are binding, but when you want/need/omg-have to have the baby asleep at 10am or you will DIE and the baby doesn’t go down until 11am you have just saved yourself at least 5 years of life by not stressing that which you can not control. I’m still learning, way still learning, but the less I try to control (the things that aren’t important, like exact nap times and dwelling on work when I should be playing with the boys), even a three year old, I’m sure even a 10 year old and a 18 year old, the easier and happier and more smooth our life becomes. You’ve already outlined your hopes let life fill in the bullet points.

  4. Sarah Novak says:

    I know we’re a lot alike, so your comments feel particularly meaningful Elise. Thanks for taking the time to affirm my choice. :)

  5. Mandy says:

    As a nurse having worked in the OB world I can tell you now… those moms with the bullet point birth plans… just about 75% of them end up with emergency c-sections and baby to NICU.

    You have the right idea. Go with the flow. Do what your body tells you.

  6. Daniela says:

    Yeah, I think that having a birthing plan just adds to your stress level. It’s good to know what you want and share it with the people that need to know but writing it down can actually be counter productive. I had a very specific idea of what I wanted the birth of my first child to be and was majorly disappointed when it was everything but. I was very upset about it for a long time and as a matter of fact I think my disappointment over the birth was one of the reasons I ended up with PPD.

    So, I’d say “know what you want but be flexible” because there’s no telling what your experience will be like. Try to relax and enjoy it as much as you can.

    That said – hope your birth is as close to your dream birth as possible!!!

  7. Lindsay says:

    I think the best birth plan is simply this: Have a baby, no matter how she ends up getting here. I LOVE that you are scrapping the birth plan. You will find, as I did, that having a child is the best way to learn to let go. Here’s a good book suggestion for you and Baby Nia: “It’s Going to be Perfect” by Nancy Carlson. Don’t be fooled by the pictures, it’s really a book for moms :) Can’t wait for her to finally get here!!

  8. Joyce says:

    All you really need to do is have your husband ready to take you to the hospital. Just showing up is the big part. It’s all up to Nia after that. Good luck, love you, and hurry up and make me a grandma.

  9. bfiles says:

    Good for you. I echo the other comments. Birthing a baby really isn’t something you can plan out. Just go with it as it happens, make each decision as it comes, if time allows it. I am looking forward to the post about her arrival! Best wishes for a quick and healthy delivery!

  10. Sarah Novak says:

    Thanks – I think we’re all itching for her arrival! My days are getting insanely long…

  11. Sarah Novak says:

    Thanks for the book suggestion Lindsay – I love getting tips from expert mommies like you!

  12. Jennifer says:

    I’m a bit late to the party on this post, but it is SO EXACTLY what I’m playing with in life right now that I just had to post a belated comment THANKING YOU for writing it! This idea of commitment vs. attachment is such an interesting practice. I’ve realized that I’ve been very focused lately on the “how” or the “doing” of life, which is essentially me being a total control freak :) About a week ago I started pulling back and focusing more on the “what” and the “being” and ohmygosh is the Universe responding with gifts! Another “aha” I had just this week is that sometimes my control-monster tricks me into thinking that I’m focusing on a “what” when it’s actually a “how” in disguise…my next step is to keep digging into the “how”s to uncover the “what”s…if that makes any sense haha! Here’s to BEING unstoppable in fulfilling on visions and dreams!

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