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
– 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
– 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.