Service Design
Personal project
It's not possible to create a definite map for any experience, especially one as unique as birth. The exercise of trying though, did what maps do: bring up good questions, conversation and thoughts for the future.
Why did I make it?
Halfway through my third trimester of pregnancy, I had the need to collate all the information I had about the birth experience. I gathered the most useful and interesting facts to me and my personal situation and set myself a deadline: I was going to publish a birth map as soon as my maternity leave started. The user being myself and my birth partner. We would use it to see if we understood the same things and had any questions or concerns.

I can say I find the output helpful to mentally prepare for an experience that... well, you can't fully prepare for. I look at it and discuss it with my husband, it's interesting to see where we disagree, agree, are excited or anxious (he's medically trained so he has a lot of opinions)!

Information sources
I've gathered the information from the Babycentre app, NCT classes, hypnobirthing classes and online material (shoutout to the Positive Birthing Company:, whatsapp groups, midwifes, friends, paper flyers, my GP, positive birth videos, doulas...and many more sources.

What do you think? Feel free to download a copy and tell me what you think via linkedin or twitter.
I used illustrator, freepik and colourlovers

You can see an earlier version of the map below. It took me around 6 hours to complete on and off. Once finished many things bothered me about it:

- I was using the word contraction and I preferred the word surge or wave.
- I had very gendered sentences and graphics, closing the door to different birthing people and their partners.
- There were a lot of straight lines separating the phases, making it look like it's a clearly phased experience which I hear it is not.

I made changes and wondered about how I might've forced linearity when mapping in recent years and left people out or used language that wasn't helpful on the maps. Should there be rules when doing healthcare or potentially triggering maps of experiences? Maybe it just highlighted the importance of defining a clear scenario upfront.

I also noticed mapping "birth, to-be" is unrealistic. However, it fulfilled the purpose I had for it. Also, I enjoyed the artificial sense of control which is pretty much out the window for me as a new parent. As my last piece of 'work', even if initiated by me, I think it's the perfect way to start my parental leave - maybe I can meet myself on the other side and laugh at the map and the naivety it holds. It will be a nice way to nod at pre-mum me and walk onto a new stage of my life!
Fig 1.
Made on