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Birth Plans: Are They Useful or Setting Us up to Fail?

Birth Plans: Are They Useful or Setting Us up to Fail?

I have been thinking of labour and birth a lot recently…as in it keeps me up at night wondering how it is all going to play out for my partner and I in a few months when our time comes…and when I say “Partner and I” I really mean “I”. I know it’s not all about me, obviously. But as the one attempting to push a watermelon sized human out of my body I figure I can make it a little more about me than him.

To be honest, even as a nurse (a baby nurse at that), the thought of labour and birth has often had me squirming in my seat. Don’t get me wrong I like to listen to people talking about their own experiences but I often find that friends will overshare with me because as I nurse I don’t find anything gross right?

Wrong. I am a nurse, not a midwife. So when you tell me stories of your afterbirth, your blood loss or the fact that you did indeed poo throughout labour I sit there and nod along, but the whole time I am willing myself not to vomit, or give that little shudder your body does when it rejects something.

I was asked recently how I planned to deliver our baby.

“What do you mean?” I said.

Then a list of questions were fired at me so quickly I only managed to remember some of them.

Do you have your birth planned typed?  – No

You’re doing Hypnobirthing right? – No

You won’t have any drugs surely? – I will if I need/want them

Is your partner going to cut the cord? – If he hasn’t passed out then I am sure he will

Are you doing delayed cord clamping? – Most likely, if it’s an option at the time

Have you booked into the hospital? -Yep

Will you stay for 3 or 4 nights? – I would like to discharge as soon as my baby and I are safe and allowed too.

Are you going public or private? – Private til 20 weeks (today) and now Public

Will you immunise at birth? – Absolutely

Will you be so disappointed if you have a C-Section? – Nope, not even slightly.

OK stop asking me things, please stop with all the questions!!

I am a planner by nature; I like all my ducks in a row. I often write lists of errands I have already completed just so I can tick them off. It’s therapeutic for me and I struggle with anything not going to plan (hence the crazy person I became through the fertility treatment). But the delivery of my baby is not something I feel the need to make a list for. What to take to the hospital in 4 months’ time? Oh you can bet your last dollar on the fact that I have already made, remade and laminated that list. But a list for how to deliver my baby? Nope.

Now please don’t be offended if you have made, typed and laminated your birth plan. I am not for one second saying that I think it’s a crap idea. I am saying it’s a crap idea for me. Let me tell you a few of my reasons. As a neonatal nurse I am aware that things don’t always go to plan with our babies and often whatever is going to happen will happen regardless. I also know that when I make a plan I really reeeeeaally struggle with deviating from it, so if I were to make a birth plan and have it in my head, then if things changed throughout the birth I know that emotionally I would find that very difficult.

My final and probably most important reason is this; I am not a midwife, nor am I a Doctor. Delivering a baby is not my job; I have not been trained to do it. I believe that a trained health professional helping, supporting and leading the way to a smooth and safe delivery of a healthy baby and an exhausted but safe and healthy mum is the most important job in the world. As the friend of many midwives I know them to be kind, caring and love what they do, so I trust them to guide and support my partner and I through something I know nothing about.

In saying that, I have excellent instincts and let me tell you that if something doesn’t feel quite ‘right’ no-one could stop me standing up and advocating for my baby. No-one.

My plan is simple; to deliver the cutest, healthiest baby in the safest way possible.

What kind of things were on your birth plan? Did everything go to to plan for you and your baby?



Emily Lockley

Emily Lockley is 32, which she thinks is a great age by the way, still young enough to want to have fun and just old enough to not really care about the dramas of your twenties.and not where she thought she would be. In saying that for the most part, she loves where she's at. Great partner, loving family, amazing friends, living in Melbourne..blah blah right?! There is always something else we want, for her that's a baby, but it's just not happening the way she thought it would. Emily is an infertility blogger who writes of her journey through fertility treatment and the longing to become a Mum in a very real, raw and honest way.


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