When Your Birth Plan Doesn’t Happen

birth-plan-doesnt-workWhile I wouldn’t classify myself as a complete control freak, my husband and friends might tell a different story. I prefer the term organized and pulled together. While I am still up for spontaneous adventures, I will admit that changes to my well-laid plans can throw me for a mental loop. And I don’t think that I am the only one. In fact, it seems like the grasp for control seems to kick in during pregnancy and only increases as the due date draws near. However, what happens when your well planned birth experience doesn’t happen the way that you thought it should?

For as much as a control enthusiast as I am, I was actually very laid back about my pregnancy. I didn’t really have a birth plan, as the thought of organizing everything from birth songs to birth balls overwhelmed me. Instead, I just knew that I wanted my husband with me in the delivery room and that I didn’t necessarily want eager visitors in the immediate hours after delivery. Instead, I wanted time for our family of three to just…be.

However, a few weeks before delivery my OB encouraged a scheduled c-section due to a projected big baby who was down, but not exactly in the best position. I’ve never been big on the vaginal delivery vs. Cesarean debate, and I trusted my doctor. I set up the surgery and marked the date in pen in my planner. Baby boy was coming!
Jackson came into this world routinely via Cesarean, and my recovery was (thankfully) easy peasy. I was overjoyed and we were thankful that our son was here, healthy and without incident.

As my friends have gotten pregnant, though, I am noticing a trend of complete meltdowns when their well laid birth plans do not happen for one reason or another. A mom who planned for a natural birth had to have a scheduled c-section due to a breech baby boy. Try as she might to get him to flip, she was the one on verge of a major flip out when she called my cell crying and yelling. “But what am I going to do??!! We were supposed to have a natural birth. I have a doula. I HAVE A DOULA,” she yelled to me on my drive home from work.


Moms, it is great to have a birth plan. Developing a plan keeps you, your family, your doctors, and your support team all on the same page. A birth plan gives you some peace of mind and control over the birth. But here’s the thing about being a parent – not everything goes according to plan. Your natural birth might turn into a c-section. Your home birth might end up at the local hospital. Your plan for an epidural might be contraindicated and you might need to power through au natural. Kids change things, and babies certainly do not always adhere to plan.

Sketch out your birth plan, but don’t spend hours obsessing about it. Instead, remind yourself that you are a strong woman who wants a healthy baby, by any means necessary. Try to relax and enjoy the ride, no matter what that ride looks like. We think you are amazing no matter if you have a home birth, a natural birth, a vaginal birth with an epidural, a c-section, or otherwise. To my fellow control enthusiasts, welcome to the best unplanned time of your life.

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About This Blogger

Haley Burress

Haley Burress is the proud Mama of Jackson, a 4 year old who was conceived after 4 years of injections, procedures, and more early morning internal ultrasounds than she cares to count. She spends her time writing for parents and educators while her son is at preschool or napping. Haley lives in the northwest Chicago suburbs with her (handsome) Principal husband, son, and a fish named Blue that somehow has not died in the past year. She's a Christian, an introvert, and a wanna-be yogi. You can usually find her reading a good book, dancing in the kitchen while cooking dinner, falling on her face while attempting crow pose on her yoga mat, and hiding in the bathroom eating a brownie so she doesn't have to share.