I think that the birth plan is something that comes across as all or nothing and therefore is downplayed. I believe that they are more than that. They are an opportunity to really think about your birth, your baby and your experience.
When I meet with my clients, I encourage them to have an idea of how they would like things to go because
"the power isn't in the plan, it's in knowing all your options".
Because birth isn't always a straightforward process, I have witnessed birth plans take a complete one eighty and the parents feel satisfied with their experience because they felt prepared and the decisions were made on their terms. How mothers and fathers experience the birth of their children is important to their health and that of their baby. I have also witnessed plans go better than hoped for and the end result is wonderful.
Being informed and involved in all the options and decisions should be a role that is entrusted to the birthing party. I believe that when parents are given the recognition that they are vital participants in the birth of their baby, outcomes are happier and healthier.
Birth is like a trail mix. Some people want the pretzels, some can't have them. Some want the peanuts and others prefer almonds. Preferences will differ from person to person and with each birth.
Having a birthing preference brings the focus back to the fact that you are a human giving birth to a human and would like to have a unique experience the suits your needs, wants and desires. Birth preferences don't need to put safety on the back burner, you can discuss with your provider how you can achieve what you wish and hear their take on it. Then you can use that info to make an informed decision on what you would like. In most cases, you will have time to take the time to think about your options and make a decision that works for you.
They are also a benefit because no one wants to feel rushed or scared into an uninformed decision when they are tired, hungry, and unprepared. Thinking about how you would like things to go even if it's not what you originally wanted can help your decision making if labor takes a turn. Unexpected outcomes can still be positive!
Birth preferences aren't just annoying dreams that will complicate labor and birth. They are your tools to ensure that you are receiving the best, patient centered care possible.