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The language we use around birth is so important. And one thing I hear a lot is women saying they are going to “try” for a vbac. Or that they are “hoping” for a vbac. Or, worse, they are hoping their care provider will let them try (but the language of permission will not be addressed at another time)

Why do I take issue with the word try? Well for a start it’s wishy washy. It doesn’t tell me anything concrete about what you want from your birth experience. If anything it tells me more about what you don’t want to do – you don’t want to think about your ideal birth and what that means to you and what you need to do to achieve it. You don’t want to put any plans in place to help you achieve your ideal birth. It makes me wonder if you are really committed to this course of action. It makes me wonder if you really want it. (keeping in mind that it’s totally okay if you don’t want a vbac – not everyone does!)

In my hypnosis studies I came across a very relevant and powerful statement about the word try: “The word try implies failure to the subconscious. So when you precede a suggestion with try the implication is that it will be difficult or impossible”. So by using the word try we are telling our subconscious that what we are going to be “trying” is likely going to be really hard, probably too hard. But at least we can say we tried.

Why is that a problem when facing a vbac? Because for most women, planning a vbac carries with it many challenges. It can be really challenging – doing the research, making the decision, finding a care provider to support the decision, facing road blocks and jumping through hoops, family and friends questioning our motives and abilities. We don’t need additional challenges, least of all from our own subconscious!

And I think that many women use the word try as an out for them. If what they wanted doesn’t come to pass they can say “Oh well. I tried”. I’ve known many women say that they don’t want to use firmer words as they don’t want to feel disappointed if it doesn’t happen. But if you don’t feel some level of disappointment when you don’t achieve something you wanted, did you really want it in the first place?

I also wonder how many women use it as a way to appease others? It seems that in many circles it’s not okay to have a birthing “plan”. We don’t want people to think that we are one of those selfish women who wants a particular type of birth experience. We don’t want others to think that we will be upset or disappointed if we don’t get the birth experience we want. We don’t want to tell people “I’m going to vbac” and then have to tell them that actually we encountered complications and had a caesarean. We don’t want to face “I told you so”.

But if not try, then what? How else could we talk about the vbac that we want? I prefer to use the word plan. “I’m planning a vbac and if I encounter complications I’ll change my plan”. Simple really. People seem to think that the word “plan” means “carved in stone”, but it doesn’t. We are totally capable of changing our plans. I can’t predict the weather, but I have no issues planning a trip to the beach. If the weather turns out to be crap on the day I just change my plan!

So are you “trying” for a vbac? Or are you “planning” a vbac?

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