You've made a birth plan. You took a childbirth class. You did your research. You know what you want and what you don't want. You're doing great work!
Seriously, you are. If you want to be informed and really have the knowledge to make decisions that are right for you, you gotta get educated and figure that stuff out. Your care providers will know that you're invested in your experience and they will have your birth plan to use as a guide for your care.
One of the most important topics that we cover in our childbirth education class is about accepting the unpredictable nature of birth. Visualizing your experience is super valuable! Doing research and making choices is important! Knowing your preferences beforehand is necessary! But, we all know that birth, like life, rarely goes according to our plan. When we do the mental work to accept this before labor even begins, we're in a much better place to stay focused when the road of birth begins winding and becomes more and more bumpy.
How we might feel when life doesn't go to plan (below). This is not generally not a good solution in labor LOL!
How can we prepare for this if we don't even know what it will look like? We can use a tool by master personal development guru Todd Herman called: Script Your Setbacks. When we're in labor, even the smallest "setback", can send you through emotional turmoil. All of our senses are heightened, our fears and deepest emotional issues rise to the surface, and when they're triggered, it can be very difficult to stay in the calm mindset that you worked so hard to create and sustain! So, let's try an exercise where we script a setback. We want to do this so that if that setback pops up during the course of your labor or pregnancy, you'll already have a script prepared and won't need to waste your precious brain power on drafting a new plan.
This is just a made-up example: Let's say your birth plan states that you do not want your water artificially broken. But you've been laboring for many hours, are very tired, and a care provider asks if you're interested in having your water broken to potentially speed things along. You're caught off guard, you didn't expect them to ask, but you're also surprised at your instinct to want to say yes because YOU'RETIREDANDREADYTOHAVEABABYNOW.
A couple things could happen: You could stumble all over your words because you're caught off guard, you could say "absolutely not how dare you ask me when I put it on my birth plan!", you could say "YESPLEASEDOITNOWIWANNAHAVETHISBABY", or you could simply state your script that you've already practiced, "Can we have a few minutes to talk about that?".
Your care provider leaves, you discuss your feelings or the pros/cons with your partner and doula, you make a decision, and you are prepared to share your decision with your care provider when they come back. No regrets, no fear, no split decisions, and who knows? Maybe your water will break on its own in the meantime.
We want to spend the majority of our focus on positive things when preparing for labor, but the reality is that sometimes life throws us curve balls and the more prepared we are, the less likelihood that we'll have a negative experience or make decisions we regret.
What are some other curve balls that labor could throw your way? How would you script that setback?
P.S. If you want some extra guidance on crafting a birth plan, click the image below to go to our doula's guide to the perfect birth plan!