I wanted to write a simple post about birth plans. We are all pretty familiar with birth planning. We usually sit with a doula or our spouse, or sometimes by ourselves, and contemplate what we’d like to experience during our labor and delivery. Setting, birth location, permissions, refusals: birth plans are very dynamic.
I believe they contain their highest value in simply walking a woman and a couple through all the aspects of birth to consider and research prior to labor time! Sometimes couples, even experienced couples, find they learn new, updated, and powerful information about labor and birth through traveling the journey of writing a birth plan. They discover things they’ve not thought of before. Items they didn’t realize were significant to them become more significant than before.
And since the birth community is always growing, changing, and exploring new things, there is always something to learn that even the most experienced couples can benefit.
What birth plans are not is “magical.”
They don’t guarantee us the perfect birth. They don’t put into play all the factors we desire simply because we write them down. Birth plans don’t ensure a specific labor journey, and they certainly don’t trump the role of God, common sense, and safety.
Birth plans help us to explore ideas and measures, but they make no promises. We especially know now, through some pretty good research, that many care providers, nurses, and hospitals see birth plans as an act of “high maintenance” moms and couples.
I recently received an email from Rebecca Deker of Evidence Based Birth in which she specifically discussed the sad and depressing way birth plans are perceived among professionals. She said this in her email,
“I found research showing that the vast majority of families who create birth plans don’t have their wishes respected during birth. I found research showing that many nurses and doctors believe a birth plan is a ‘ticket to the operating room.’ I found research showing that women who make birth plans are often perceived by staff as being ‘high-maintenance’ and ‘setting themselves up to fail’.”
This further reinforces my thinking that birth plans offer their greatest benefit in the journey of writing them, not in their producing a specified outcome.
I write all this in order to ask, who paves the way for each of our birth experiences?
Since we belong to Him and He calls us His own, we have this amazing privilege of knowing that His plans and His will trump any birth plan or desire.
Does this mean we shouldn’t write a birth plan? NO WAY.
I’m a fan of traveling the journey of writing a birth plan simply for the reasons mentioned above. The more we know, the more informed we become, the more capable we are of making confident decisions and standing firmly by them.
Once we’ve traveled the journey of informing, educating, and empowering our decisions regarding our labor, birth and postnatal options, we give it all back to Jesus.
We have that gift. To lift it all up to the Father, confess our wishes and desires, and prepare to pray our way through the rest of our journey. Pray about providers that will honor our wishes. Pray over who to join us in the labor room or our home when the time comes, people who will lift us up and support our well-laid plans. Cover the hospital staff with prayer and love prior to delivery. Pray we can properly and confidently communicate our needs, wishes, and desires while being flexible to change when and if that time comes. This is what laying it all at the feet of Jesus looks like. This is what complete and total Birth Planning looks like. This is putting our faith in our FATHER rather than our birth plan.
This is like planting the seeds (birth plans) but watering them with prayer and faith then trusting the Lord to make them grow, only in His way. This is SURRENDER.
What is your faith in today? A perfectly written birth plan, or a Father who loves you, cares for you, and set all things in motion with a single whisper?
There are some simple birth plan samples you can see here to help you consider aspects of labor and delivery you may not have considered before.
But once you are done, put your faith in Christ alone! Lift up to Him the desires of your heart. Be ready to stand firm with your choices and wishes when necessary and to bend and breathe, firmly rooted in Christ, when necessary.