Written by: Doula Lindsay Neal
“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” – Corrie Ten Boom
I read this quote years ago and it has stuck with me. There have been so many applications for this in my life. As a doula, I found this wisdom to be very useful in preparing my clients for the unique, and certainly unanticipated, aspects of labor and birth.
Expectation is defined as a strong belief that something will happen or will be the case in the future. In life we have lots of plans and expectations. One of the most important things we do in a prenatal meeting, as doulas, is to come up with a birth plan. This plan is essentially a set of expectations for how you want your labor and birth to go.
Do you want to give birth at home or in a hospital?
Do you want to spontaneously go into labor or be induced?
Do you want an unmedicated birth or an epidural?
Do you want intermittent fetal monitoring, or move freely?
Do you want to labor in water, have an IV, or the spontaneous rupture of membranes?
Do you want delayed cord clamping, immediate skin-to-skin, delayed newborn procedures, or to breastfeed?
The list goes on and on…and it’s IMPORTANT. As a doula, it is essential in educating our clients of their options. You can’t make an informed decision if you don’t know you have options. Empowering our clients to be effective self advocates involves serious discussions about their desires and expectations. Developing a birth plan is a great tool to do just that.
Second to creating a plan is the importance of managing those expectations. Understand that your body and your baby can’t read your birth plan. In a unique and beautiful way, they may have a plan of their own. At best, unmet expectations can cause disappointment, and at worst it could lead to serious trauma. So I suggest to hold onto this plan with a gentle grip, that way you are prepared to handle all the unexpected twists and turns that the birthing process can take.
My hope in expressing this little bit of wisdom is that you will feel empowered to face whatever comes your way.
To close with the words of Nelson Mandela: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
#birthexpectations # birthplan #laborsupport #hopeoverfear #empowered #doula #doulasupport