- Starting good conversations with your partner. Maybe you and your partner are new to this whole birth thing, and neither of you knows where or how to start talking about certain things. Maybe you’ve had a birth and realized that you need to set expectations, or boundaries, or clarify some things. Creating a birth vision provides a context for discussion and a non-threatening way to begin discussions about your expectations.
- It’s hard to make decisions during labor. There’s a lot going on during labor, and it’s not an ideal time to be processing new information and making an educated decision. A birth vision doesn’t make the decisions for you or lock you into any particular option, but it does help you focus on what you want and remember what you’ve learned and talked about.
- Because having a clear idea what you want calms nerves. Nothing can be scarier than the unknown. Childbirth classes are packed full of information and we find that clients who take a good class have less anxiety surrounding their births. A birth vision adds to that confidence. While not a plan or a guarantee of how things with go, a written out vision reassures you that you’ve thought about some contingencies and that your team is ready to help you.
- Reinforcing what you learn in Childbirth Class – Speaking of childbirth class, the reason we love them (the wealth of information) can also be a downside (too much to process). For that reason, a birth vision is often especially helpful. Reminding you about what was discussed, distilling out the things that caught your attention, and helping focus on the aspects of the birth you find most important.
- It’s a jumping off point for learning and asking questions. When you start to write your vision, you might find some things you never considered, or options you don’t know enough about. These can turn into questions for your HCP, doula, or other professionals and lead you to something that might end up being key at your birth.
- Sharing your needs and desires with your HCP. Birth visions are our favorite tools for opening discussions with your chosen healthcare provider. We help you prevent it in a positive, non-threatening way if you think your HCP might not be as welcoming to a “birth plan”. Discussing your birth vision with your HCP often increases your confidence in them, and gives your doula a clear idea of what your providers are used to doing or seeing. We can also help negotiate or clarify parts of your birth vision if your HCP isn’t immediately on-board.
- Prevent (some) surprises during labor – As mentioned earlier, birth doesn’t always go according to our plans. Knowing what changes are likely and having an idea what they might mean helps you make decisions on the fly. While you might not have every contingency planned for in your vision, chances are your doula will have discussed most options with you, making the little surprises that crop up easier to deal with.
- Getting to know your doula and prepping for your birth. A birth vision gives your doula clarity on what you expect, want, and fear during birth. It’s not the only way we get to you know, but it’s a great tool in our belt and one that we love to be able to refer to. It can lead us to questions for a better understanding of you and your needs, as well as allow us to give you some suggestions for ways you could prepare for your unique birth. A birth vision also gives us a clear understanding of the thing that are important to you.
- So your doula can better advocate for you. A birth vision often allows your doula to share your wishes when it’s inconvenient or difficult for you do so. It may be reminding the team just before the birth, that your partner wants to announce the gender. Or it can be answering a nurse’s question while you’re having a contraction and can’t speak. “It’s in her birth vision” may carry more weight than just “that’s what she said she wanted.”
- Keep your entire birth team is on the same page. A birth team contains a lot of moving parts. Partner, doula, nurses and HCP who come on and off shift, other friends or relatives; the number of people involved in your birth can suddenly seem higher than you expected! Having a birth vision that you and your partner worked on, that your doula read and discussed with you, and that your HCP practice agreed with means that you’ve got a great start on ensuring all those team members are using the same playbook, which means a better chance at getting exactly what you’re envisioning.
The idea of a “Birth Plan” can be a hot button topic. We like to use birth “visions” instead of “plans” because one thing that’s certain is that you can’t plan a birth! A birth vision is a tool you, your partner, doula, healthcare provider (HCP) and nurses can all use to help you achieve your best birth by your standards.
Our doulas share their thoughts, tips and more with you.