When working as a postpartum and pregnancy counsellor, I often asked women to imagine taking a piece of clay and creating a beautiful piece of artwork. Imagine spending time and effort creating something you were really proud of and then imagine crumpling the clay back up into a ball… That is how you have to think of a birth plan. It’s fine to spend time and effort creating one, but you need to be able to let go and throw it out the window if needed, for the safety of your baby.
So with my first pregnancy, I had no real birth plan. All I knew was that I wanted an epidural, and I did not want to feel any pain.
But ultimately, any plan I would have made wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because an emergency c-section was required. The moment came when making sure my baby came out alive and healthy was the only consideration. And sadly, I was not able to be awake for the birth of my first child and my husband was not able to be present in the delivery room for the birth. But my son was born into this world healthy — which ultimately was all that mattered.
There is a lot of grief that can go along with pregnancy, labour, and the delivery you thought you were going to have. Despite not having a birth plan, I still have a lot of grief about my birth experience. Grief that I could not be awake for my son’s delivery, that I wasn’t the first or even second person to hold him, that I wasn’t there when my husband shared his name with our family, that I missed the first 2 hours of his life (as I was still under general anesthetic). And those feelings can be hard to manage.
Pregnancy and labour can be so beautiful, but there are many complex feelings that are intertwined with it all. Once your baby is born everyone expects that you will be happy, but the truth is, for some, this transition can also feel like trauma. You might be struggling to adjust to a new version of yourself, feel the grief of your “ideal birth experience”, or feel a loss once your pregnancy is over.
The important thing to remember is that your feelings are valid. Please, don’t suffer alone. Reach out, ask for help. Talk about your experience.
Know that you are not alone. I understand, and I am here to support you.
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