The idea behind creating a birth plan is generally, a good one: provide an avenue to discuss preferences and details for the birth of your child with those responsible for supporting and caring for you. Of course, the main goal of your birth experience is to have a healthy baby, but what happens when the experience doesn’t go as planned? Postpartum depression can develop from a disappointing or traumatic birth experience, as well as challenge bonding with the baby and breastfeeding. Because things don’t always go as planned, make room in your birth plan for flexibility and postpartum support.

Experts agree that birth plans can be a helpful tool, but caution new parents to refrain from being overly attached to the plan as this may create an opportunity for disappointment. Most births don’t go exactly as “planned” and being mindful of this can be helpful during the birth planning process. In the event your birth experience isn’t what you imagined it to be, please know your feelings are valid. Do not let others dismiss how you’re feeling. Remember, time often helps to heal disappointment. However, if your birth didn’t go as planned and you are struggling to cope with it, or feel like you are developing depression, do not hesitate to seek help.