The Life Changing Magic of Writing a Birth Plan: A Birth That Sparks Joy
Marie Kondo is a genius.
Her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, was a hit and now, her show is truly magical. Although there are a lot of mixed feelings about her approach, especially when it comes to books (Yeeeeah, I’m not keeping less than 30 books), the concept of only keeping those things that spark joy is fresh and breathes new life into a home!
After watching just a few episodes of Tidying Up, I started wondering what a Birth Plan that Sparked Joy would look like! That’s why we write birth plans, right? It’s putting all of the things we envision our ideal birth experience to look like, into one compact page. The life experience that is birth, the landmark memory that we will carry for the rest of our lives, lives in that little wish list. Months of planning, reading, researching, taking classes, asking questions, all comes down to being communicated through a birth plan!
What is a Birth Plan?
It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be a long 5 page document. You want your care providers and birth team to read it. It can be just a list of the things you would like for your birth. A birth plan is not a way to jinx yourself out of a natural birth, nor is it a “sure fire way to make sure you have a terrible birth”. A birth plan is a means to communicate what you want! We make plans for every aspect of our lives, of course we’re going to write a plan for our births! Once you are in labor, communicating your plans isn’t always what you want to do. You want to focus on what’s happening in the moment and you want everybody to be on the same page without having to bring everybody up to speed when you get a new nurse or when a new OB comes on call.
How do you write a birth plan?
Well, there are so many templates on the internet, you don’t need me to give you that (Although, yes, I have one.)! You may have specific things that you want to have happen in your laboring and birthing experience. For example, you might want to have use of a tub for hydrotherapy in labor, you might want to have delayed cord clamping done when your baby is born, or maybe you do not want anybody to offer a epidural - you want to have complete control of that. But before you sit down to write your birth plan, I encourage parents to write down 3 words that describe how they want to feel in that experience.
You can use words from the word cloud below or come up with your own.
Once you have your words chosen, you really have everything you need to have a good birth experience! Which bring me to…
How do you write a birth plan that sparks joy?!
So, you have your words. You can close your eyes and picture your ideal birth environment around how you want to feel. Great!
Now, go through your list of things you are wanting and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?” or “Does this make me feel __________ (safe, happy, empowered, informed, etc)?” If the answer is “No” or “Maybe”, either change the plan to align with your values or learn more about that particular practice and what is an alternative option that makes you feel comfortable!
Just because it is on the birth plan, does not mean you cannot change your mind later! What makes you feel safe or comfortable now, may not make you feel safe and comfortable in labor. You may be adamant that you will have music playing at all times, but in labor your playlist is suddenly annoying! Either have your partner or doula find new music for you or turn it off. This is your experience! Use your words to guide you! You can change your mind about what you want based on what sparks joy for you in your birth.