Plan vs preparation

By definition:

  • plan (n) a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. 
  • preference (n) a greater liking for one alternative over another.
  • preparation (n) the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration.

I’ve always thought I was a planner, an organiser, someone who just has to be in control all the time. But for the past nine months I’ve been shedding off these layers and feeling so much lighter. What I actually am is someone who thrives on being prepared. I am a doer.

For the many years I was in event management, while I felt I had a plan for every scenario, in reality I was just putting mechanisms in place in preparation for things going a little differently. It wasn’t because I was scared something would go wrong, I just wanted to have some notion of what to do if something did happen.

My need to share contingencies and voicing what I can do about them has become a bit of a sore spot at times. For me, I’m just explaining my thoughts rationally and finding solutions, but at times the listener thinks I’m worried or concerned about something that may not even happen. Seeing this results in me recoiling and second-guessing myself, but I can’t maintain this. After some point, I can’t keep it in anymore: I’m a sharer, a doer and I have to get things out of my head. 


Since becoming pregnant, I’ve heard a lot of different comments and opinions, and it’s been hard at times to filter out the negativity, despite people’s best intentions. One thing that’s been niggling at me is this notion that people “know me.” I’m told that I think analytically (which I do), that I like to be organised (which I am) and that I need to be in control (which isn’t actually true).

I understand where they’re coming from, and I can’t blame them for thinking that way. For me, all the (free) courses I’ve signed us up to, the select books I’ve been reading, the blogs I follow, and the groups I’ve joined are all intentional. I’ve sifted through way more things than I realise and have simplified my choices to the things that mean something to me. I keep what I find most useful and discard anything that rubs me the wrong way.

For example, for labour we have called our “birth plan” a birth preferences document instead, because by the definition above, a plan is a proposal, whereas preferences give us the flexibility we need and want. I feel prepared that my body can birth our little baby. We as a couple are prepared for the lead up to the birth and have become stronger as a unit, without even intending to. I’m not scared, I’m actually pretty excited. It’s an unknown adventure and I am ready.

Our little baby is going to greet us any day now, but I’m happy to wait, happy to let them come when they are ready. I am prepared as much as I can be. I don’t need to plan anything and that’s given me the freedom to just be. We are ready to step into the next chapter of our lives, but we’re not in a hurry, just taking each moment as it comes.

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