Walking the planning line

There seems to be a correlation between planning and disappointment, for me, at least. The more I think about the future in detail, then, the greater the chances of disappointment and unmet expectations.

So when my Hypnobirthing preparation prompted me to imagine a good birth to replace my mental snippets of scary ones, I hesitated. If I spend the time to imagine a really nice birth, how will I adapt when it doesn’t turn out that way?

But I once told myself I’d work harder to plan for the great, not just the bad, so I’ll do the exercise, though I will do it in bulleted format (versus the screenplay I initially considered).


A bad birth experience would be/ have:

– about other people

– spent worrying how I sounded/ looked/ seemed

– miserably painful

– polite

– ambivalent

– thoughts about how things should be

– us telling people to leave or stay away or rush over

– many decisions about details

– nagging worries about being ready

– anxiety about meeting him and being his mom


A good birth experience could be/ have:

– our people prepared for what we’d like them to do

– someone else to answer questions

– help in making final decisions (with me)

– thought and quiet and relaxation

– someone to talk to about my worries

– excitement

– everything ready for our return home

– quiet time spent with my husband

– lots of touch (I think – usually being touched relaxes me)

– enough knowledge to know what’s “normal” or “expected” but not so much that I begin to expect



This list reminds me that preparation prevents (some? many?) questions, so before we get much closer, we need to have agreed on our boundaries for people being with us during and after labor and have communicated them. I think I’ll be more ready to meet my son if his nursery is set up (including clean sheets and prepped diapers) and we know his name.  I’ll be more comfortable coming home quickly after he’s born if the house is clean and stocked (with a plan for what we’ll eat), our bedroom is emptied out (lots of stuff in corners) and we have a bed (I know, I know, kind of a big deal to figure out this late but our mattresses on the floor bug me). Our first days home will be most joyful if our guest room is ready or occupied, the fence is complete, and we have a refrigerator that makes ice.

Without ever having experienced childbirth, I’m having a hard time imagining what I might need or want (or not need or not want), but the following make sense to me:

Music – so a charged, loaded iPod

Distractions – a movie or TV show already downloaded

Snacks – salty? healthy? Cheese sticks, yogurt, trail mix, peanut butter, water, watermelon… plus anything my husband might want

A blanket – but if I take something from home, will it get icky?

A pillow – new pillowcase?

Comfy pajama pants, a robe, and some toiletries

A change of clothes for my husband

(Assuming we give birth at the birth center, we’ll be home in just a few hours after he’s born, so we don’t need as many supplies as for a hospital.)


Funny how the to-do list encompasses the mundane (trail mix or just nuts? ice maker!) and the more significant (letting people know when they can be close, to be in the kind of head space that manages or avoids or even just honors my usual anxieties).  With about two months left to go, I’m feeling the pressure of dealing with the bigger projects (fence, kitchen, bed) but we’ll make it work somehow.

In the meantime, we have lots of discussions to begin, my husband and I:

– who can be at the birth center while I’m in labor

– how we’ll divide up duties after the baby gets here

– how to get started on the kitchen

So much to do, but listing it out makes me much less anxious, strangely.


3 thoughts on “Walking the planning line

  1. Re: the list of stuff to bring – if you bring a blanket from home, it may get blood, etc on it, but it may not… depends on when you use it. During actual labor? Who knows what condition it’s coming home in 🙂 For post-delivery? Probably safe. If you bring your own pillow, buy a pillowcase in a recognizable pattern (if you want to bring it home). I ended up bringing a bag of stuff to the hospital, but the BEST stuff I brought was good shower gel/body lotion (the first shower I took post-delivery was amazing… literally the best shower I have ever taken) and the 3/4 kimono sleeve bathrobe. After 18 hours of labor/pushing, I ended up with an emergency c-section and needed an IV for 4 days. The short sleeve bathrobe allowed me to wear my own tank/bathrobe instead of the hospital gown during my stay, which was awesome.

  2. Ugh I am so into the planning! For instance – here’s a little confession. Nowhere near babyhood, yet have been researching the daycare centers in our area. In my defense, many have a year-plus wait list. But even still… what am I do, planning out where our kid should be in daycare when they’re babies, so that they’ll have the same daycare when they’re in pre-K and in grade school for after-school care and…

    So I get the planning thing. Totally. Since I have no baby, I have no advice for the things to take with you. Oh wait I do. Actually. My sister could not stand her hair in her face while she was in labor and recovery, so she had lots of hair bands for braids and ponytails. Also, my mom always had really fuzzy, comfy socks to wear. So maybe those will be helpful?

    Mostly, I’m commenting to say, I understand your need to plan, and I think you’re doing a great job of being zen while still planning 🙂

  3. I absolutely must agree with Katie’s shower comment. Literally best shower ever. I was glad I had comfy clothes from home to put on afterwards–black yoga capris & a nursing tank from Target. I liked having some Gatorade during labor (though I normally don’t care for it): I only wanted liquids, but appreciated the energy from something more than water.

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