Birth Plans vs. Birth Wishes
New Doula, Doris Jean Kolarek, really gets it! I am absolutely thrilled to have added her to our staff of amazing doulas at Northeast Doulas in the recent weeks. As her mentor, I have had the opportunity to discuss various topics with her relating to pregnancy, birth, labor support, emotional wellness surrounding birth and much more. After a recent conversation about birth wishes as opposed to birth plans, I challenged her to write a blog about the differences. As you read her thought provoking words, it will be clear to you why I am so thrilled to share her with our clients while selfishly keeping a small piece of her for myself.
Wishes; we make them on stars, fallen eyelashes, wishing wells, necklace clasps, dandelions we blow in the wind, birthday candles, pennies we throw into fountains and fairy godmothers we hope to appear. Throughout cultures around the world wishing exists but one category of wishes we all too often don’t hear about, talk about or make, are birth wishes.
Birth wishes are not birth plans and let’s examine the use of language in these phrases that differentiate them so. A plan is defined as a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. A wish is defined as a desire or hope for something to happen. In birth no matter how much we plan to do something we cannot guarantee how our labor will go. If we however desire and hope for a certain outcome it changes how our mind digests the information once it has taken place.
A labor doula is good to have for a myriad of reasons and one of them is because when she meets with you for a birth wishes session she becomes your fairy godmother working her hardest to make your wishes come true during your birth. Birth wishes are an amazing tool for communication between doula and mother to be. The birth wishes session allows your doula to get to know you better. You are not talking about planning anything; you are talking about your desires, your hopes for your experience of giving birth. Together you will be exploring your options, the many, many options you have, and learning and understanding more about labor and birth, long before your baby is born. For your providers the use of the word wishes over plan is most welcome. They know that with all the variables that birth brings that you cannot predict or plan exactly what will happen, your wishes helps them to know what’s important to you in a way that is non aggressive. In essence you aren’t telling your providers, “This is my plan, this is the way it’s going to be!”, instead you are telling them, “This is what is important to me, and these are my hopes and dreams for my birth.”
As the months and weeks and days go by before your baby makes his or her way out of the womb and into the world, you, your doula and your providers will have a reminder of your hopes for that big day. You can use that important piece of paper as a way to go deep within yourself for further reflection on how you feel at the core about this important experience that will be happening soon, as a tool for further communication between yourself and your providers before you go into labor and as a way to be reminded that during your baby’s birth you will have a woman that will be by your side the entire time serving as your doula, that was there to talk with you about those deep desires, educate you about your options and will do her best, within reason, to see that, in the words of Cinderella, “The dream that you wish will come true.”
Authored by: Doris Jean Kolarek