My Labor Didn’t Go As Planned… Now What?


In this article we’re going to address the question: My labor didn’t go as planned… now what? and debunk some damaging ways of looking at childbirth. I hope you enjoy, and more importantly, are encouraged.

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My labor didn’t go as planned…now what?

With the wave of “birth critiquing” and intimidating buzz terms, the bar has been set exhaustively high for moms. Not only are you supposed to be pregnant and remain perfect, slender, happy and glowing, but you’re also supposed to give birth just right.

I mean, we’re supposed to birth our babies with superhuman strength, bounce back in 6 weeks, smile and “humbly brag” about it, and–oh yeah–I went natural–how did you give birth?

But it does’t always happen that way. Something gets bumpy. We need some help. It hurts–a lot. Our plans change. There are interventions, meds, even c-section.

What happened?

How am I supposed to talk about this? How will everyone look at me now? I don’t want to tell my birth story. I don’t want to have to talk about the fact that I had a c-section instead of birthing my baby while running a marathon and taking a selfie.

Isn’t that what everyone else is doing?

As a result, we’re creating unrealistic birth plans, forming inflexible expectations, and setting ourselves up for serious disappointment.

Not only are we robbing ourselves of the earned (I mean, seriously!) joy of childbirth, but we are also creating the perfect storm of emotions in our already hormonal-fraught and readjusting minds.

We were supposed to give birth so flawlessly, so gloriously and glamorously! My labor didn’t go as planned…now what?

Is this you?

Then hold it–stop everything.

My Labor Didn't Go As Planned... Now What? What You need to know when your childbirth doesn't go as planned. Mama Fearless

If we are all honest, we can all say we’d love to have given birth naturally, med-free, without any help. We’d all love to accomplish that. Yes, there’s a certain type of pride in knowing you did it without people jumping in.

But the truth is that it just doesn’t happen that way for everyone, for one reason or another. Things aren’t always so clear. Things don’t always go just as planned.

Yes, we’ve read about how c-section rates are sky-high compared to this or that and that a good amount of those c-sections weren’t absolutely necessary.

But let’s keep it real for a second.

You’re huffing and puffing in the moment, and it hurts. Contractions are occurring at rapid-fire pace. You’re focused on having this baby so you can get to the other side of this.

And then the doctor is looking at the monitors, looking at you. They state there is a problem, and that Baby needs some help.

They offer alternatives. The alternatives don’t work. Next, they recommend c-section. They’re looking at you, waiting for the “nod”.

The decision is on your shoulders, and you can tell something isn’t totally peachy. Now you’re worried about your baby’s safety.

My labor didn’t go as planned… now what? What To Do?

You want a natural birth. You’ve tried. You’ve labored for X amount of hours and you’ve given it a really, really good shot.

But now you need to make a choice. Is the doctor pushing something that you don’t absolutely need? Maybe.

But how are you going to be certain at this exact moment? You’ve trusted the doctor so far, and you decide to trust them again. You opt for the c-section.

Everything’s changed, but within a short amount of time, your baby has arrived.

Sure, you could have stayed out of the hospital. You could have been at a birthing center or even at home. But you chose to go to the hospital because that’s where you decided to place your trust.

Maybe you started out at the birthing center and had to be transferred to the hospital.

Things don’t always go as planned. We can argue and fuss about why and blame whatever we want.

In the end, all of that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’re holding your child and trying to cope with how things turned out, feeling guilty for feeling disappointed.

You want to feel pure joy and excitement, but you’re battling this onslaught of emotions because all you can think about is how none of the boxes on your birth plan got checked.

Listen, Mama. It’s time to reprogram our thinking.

So, your childbirth didn’t go the way you wanted. You tried everything. You gave it your best. Things just happen. For whatever reason. Casting blame won’t take it all away. You’ll still have the memory of what actually took place.

You have some choices.

You can live in regret.

Or, you can feel so incredibly thankful that through everything that happened, you are holding your perfect little.

I know it can be painful and disappointing. Allow yourself to feel how you feel–it’s alright, and it’s healthy to be honest.

But don’t allow the pressure of the “mama culture” to cause you to feel ashamed or inadequate for giving birth the way you gave birth.

You brought your baby into this world. You love your baby. That’s what matters right now, more than anything else.

It’s all too easy to critique one another. It’s easy to slip into the “comparing notes” aspect of discussing childbirth experiences. Just let it all go. You’re better than that–you’re more of a hero than that.

We can plan, and we can work. We can do our absolute best to guarantee the childbirth experience that we want so badly. I believe in that. You’ll read a lot about how I took my pregnancy into my own hands in many ways (read about it here).

But, we must also be flexible enough to accept the fact that when it comes to childbirth, we simply cannot be promised anything. I know there are a lot of folks out there who may say differently. It’s a hurricane of opposing opinions.

Don’t Give In to It

No matter where you stand on the issue, there is no denying that the moment you hold your child is the most beautiful, victorious moment as a mother.

You carried this baby for months. You nourished and fed this baby, connected with this baby, protected this baby, and gave this baby a birthday.

This is your baby.

This new chapter in life begins–exhausting, exciting, fulfilling, challenging, and the most loving of your life so far.

There is no love like a mother’s love. There is no protection like that of a mama bear over her little.You just can’t find anything that compares.

When it comes down to the life of your child, when they are old enough to place their little hands on your face and regard you with those wide, all-showing eyes, completely trusting you, how you brought them into this world is a back-burner thought that disappears into a puff of distant memory.

It will always be there, but it doesn’t take priority. And you, as the mama, have the final say over the hero that you are.

There is no other person on this earth that can tell you how to feel when it comes to giving birth.

You should be too proud to be ashamed, too grateful to be disappointed, too heroic to feel inadequate, and far too loving to be held back. Because you had a star-role in giving life.

You’re MamaFearless

Planning your childbirth? Fortify your inner “mama” with this resource!

Simply Mama Fearless

Thank you for reading My Labor Didn’t Go As Planned…Now What? I hope you feel encouraged and more like the hero you truly are!

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Elizabeth Jimenez

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