24 Mar, 2018

So many times I have chatted to women after their birth and we have had a conversation about the birth of their child and I see the sadness and feelings of loss that their birth didn’t go to plan.

They had been encouraged to write a Birth Plan and in their own words that plan went out the window, leaving them feeling bereft and a word often used in birth a ‘failure’! How horrendous to refer to anything in birth as a failure and to insinuate that the blame lays at the body of the woman. This woman has just grown a life, a human, a human being!

Nothing man made will EVER be able to replicate the incredible magnificent unimaginably awesome capability that exists within a woman. Not only does she grow this human but she then has the perfect system within her to birth and nourish this human. It is beyond logical thought, incredible and worthy of the highest respect.

For me as a birth worker it’s such a fine line and one that I often worry about misjudging, the last thing I want is a woman who’s birth doesn’t go as she had hoped and planned for to feel a failure, to somehow feel that the blame lies at her door.

In birth there should be no blame on a woman ever.

When a birth doesn’t go to plan there is often the guilt she places on herself and the response from others, such as condemning the woman for planning for a natural birth, home birth etc. The ‘I told you so’ party.

This is never ok.

If a good friend of mine told me they were about to run the London Marathon, I would never in a million years dream of saying, ‘what are you thinking of, you’ll never be able to do that’ and if they didn’t make the whole marathon I most definitely wouldn’t be saying ‘oh you absolute failure’!

I would be supporting that friend telling them I believed in them and to stay focused, but if it didn’t go to plan and they didn’t complete the course I would be greeting them with ‘you did amazingly, I’m so proud of you, look what you achieved’.

Why don’t we do the same for birthing women?

So some advice. Definitely write a birth plan. It’s not about ensuring your birth follows the plan to the word, but in writing the plan you will be learning about your options and choices, informing yourself, not just being a passive passenger on the journey to birth.

Birth like life can be unpredictable but you are definitely stacking the odds in your favour of a positive experience by planning and preparing. Most importantly if birth deviates from the plan then you will informed enough to make the best decisions for you and your baby.

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