What if you planned something for months only for it to fall through? Or you spent weeks researching and reading about something only to fail? Both are bound to make you upset and maybe even question yourself a little. Now imagine that those two things that didn’t go as planned were you birth and breastfeeding journeys. How do you go about forgiving yourself as a mom when two of the most important aspects of your baby’s life don’t go as planned?
Forgiving yourself when your birth doesn’t go as planned
The one thing that I love about birth stories is that NO story is ever the same. They are all so unique and special and beautiful. The thing that every birth story has in common is that at some point something didn’t go as planned. It can be something small like your water broke in the waiting room or it could be your doctor was out of town. Maybe it was something more emotional like an emergency c-section. What do you do when your birth plan doesn’t go as planned?
I’m going to be honest, when I was pregnant with my first I had no real birth plan. I thought that I would be in labor for 2 maybe 3 hours and I would be able to take the pain and wouldn’t need any medicine.
You’re laughing, aren’t you? Because we all know that’s not how it works. I was in labor for over 32 hours with my daughter. While she was born naturally, I still look back on that day and wonder. I wonder what could I do differently? What could have changed to make it easier? What if I had been stronger through the contractions?
It took me a few years to look back and realize that it was only 1 and a half day out of my daughter’s whole life. There is no need to dwell or worry about the past when she was standing in front of me. The last thing she needs to hear is how her birth upset me or made me feel sad. I had to rejoice in her birth, as long and painful as it was, in able to forgive myself and move forward.
Here are some tips for moms-to-be on how to forgive yourself if your birth plan isn’t going as planned –
- Breath. It sounds easy but taking a second to breath during the intensity of child birth is NOT effortless. You need to focus all your energy on your own breath and take a moment to re-center yourself.
- Focus on the goal. The one and only goal of labor is to deliver a baby, no matter if it takes 2 hours or 32 hours. After you take a breathe, think about what’s best for baby and try another plan.
- Have a backup plan. If plan A is not working then move on to plan B. Then plan C and then if that doesn’t work out, make up a plan and give yourself some grace. Every birth is different and yours is no exception.
- Be able to vent. If you are upset that Plan A didn’t work out take a moment to let your husband or doctor or nurse know it. Once you have let it out, move onto the next plan.
- Rejoice in the good. This is the hardest suggestion, almost as hard as it is to breath through a painful contraction. During your labor take time to rejoice in the good. You are in a hospital (or birthing center) with well trained staff. You have already survived 10 (or 100) contractions. You are not alone. Take a minute to just enjoy the good during your labor. It will help change your mind set and give you an energy boost to continue.