1 – “We’re just gonna go with the flow…”
Yes, “flow” can be extremely useful in the birth process. AND without preparation, intention, information-gathering ahead of time, it can be hard to keep your flow once you step into a hospital setting that has a whole lot of it’s own flow – most of which isn’t set up to support the flow of a hormonal laboring person and family.
It is imperative that you do the work – now – of learning your options and working together with your partner to strategize as a family how you want to navigate the birth process before the big day, so that when it comes to your labor, you CAN truly go with the flow.
2 – “We need to commit to a plan in order to write a birth plan…”
The notion of a birth “plan” often leaves folks feeling like it’s necessary to commit ahead of time to a certain distinct way of decision-making in labor (ie – I *will not* do any pain medication or “give me my epidural ASAP”). The inflexibility of this is a setup for disappointment if things don’t go to “plan.”
A birth plan isn’t actually meant to be a plan for how your birth is going to go; think of it as a tool for communication with the medical team as to how you want to feel as you birth your baby – no matter how things unfold.
What’s lovely about this is that you can let go of feeling like you have to commit to a particular pain management strategy in order to do your birth plan; you will, however, need to do the work of understanding all of your options (for pain management, but also hospital protocols, care provider-specific preferences, and baby-related care/interventions and choices).
3 – “We’re just going to do what our doc/midwife tells us…”
We choose our care providers for the medical care – 100%. That does not mean that we have no responsibility for our family’s decision-making. The evidence is clear – to have a birth you’ll feel good about, being an engaged consumer of healthcare is good strategy.
Understanding the physical and hormonal process, learning about hospital protocols, having access to what the evidence says, as well as knowing about potential interventions will help you both to navigate your birth process with confidence.
4 – “All that truly matters is healthy mom/healthy baby…”
It’s a common dismissive phrase – “in the end, what matters is a healthy mom & a healthy baby”. Emotional and mental wellbeing IS a part of health. All families are striving for healthy outcomes – to imply that they are not is kinda bullshit.
How you feel (or are made to feel) about your birth stays with you for always. Research has shown that even people with dementia and memory loss recall in detail how they felt when they gave birth.
5 – “Birth and breastfeeding are natural processes – so we’ll just know what to do…”
We don’t live and birth and parent in community. We haven’t (usually) seen other families give birth and learn to breastfeed. There is a lot of instinct and hormones that contribute to these processes – and they aren’t always enough.
Sometimes people get lucky and birth and breastfeeding is “easy”. More often, it takes some work – and learning about it now with intention – instead of in a panic as it’s happening – is just good parenting.