I often hear women saying they aren’t going to prepare for birth, they’ll just ‘go with the flow’.
I get that birth can be unpredictable and you may have heard stories from friends or family members whose birth went out of control and they have made you feel like there is no point in planning for your birth. Going with the flow means you haven’t put pressure on yourself to perform, to have the ‘perfect’ birth. It shows that you are totally relaxed about the whole situation and will put your trust in the experts around you and hope that you’ll be ok.
And I get that you don’t know what to expect so you feel there is no option but to go with the flow.
The term ‘go with the flow’ implies that your birth will gently unfold, stage by stage, and there is little that could be done to influence the outcome. You accept any interventions suggested by your support team (midwives/obstetricians/birth partner etc) as inevitable, and assume that every suggestion made is the best option for you and your baby.
What if going with the flow actually means that you hand your birth over to the experts and aren’t even given the chance to consider your other options, to weigh up the risks and benefits of an alternative course of action, and to make an informed choice (which is something I bang on a lot about!)? What if the flow you end up going with is based on a general population and not you as an individual? What if the decisions that are made, are made from a place of fear rather than a place of knowledge?
What if, by going with the flow, you end up disappointed with your birth experience and wish there was something you could have done differently?
What if going with the flow means you are missing opportunities to understand how your body works during labour, missing opportunities to learn how to take control of your birth, missing opportunities for your birth partner to learn simple ways to help you manage your labour and most importantly, missing opportunities to learn how to make your birth different to theirs.
Wouldn’t you rather take control of your birth and understand all the ways you can influence the outcome?
Birth preparation is not about planning for a ‘perfect’ birth (whatever you think that is).
It’s about understanding birth, how you can work with your body instead of fighting against it, all the things you and your birth partner can do to stay in control throughout your labour, whatever direction your birth takes.