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July 18, 2019

Enneagram + Birth | Type 1

My goal with these blog posts is to create a resource for mommas who are planning a pregnancy or birth and find a lot of insight through the Enneagram. This is just one tool in your toolbox when preparing for birth but I hope it’s an eye-opening one!

So, let’s dive in! Below is a description of the Enneagram Type One as defined by The Enneagram Institute. After that, I have some insight from women who are type ones and have given birth. At the end of the post, I’ve shared a few insights and “homework” for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!



“The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic.”

“Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.

birth story photography mom baby family hospital birth

Radhika’s Experience:

“As a 1, my basic desire is to be good and do things the right way and this was so evident in how I planned for my birth. I knew it was going to be such an important moment for our family and I knew that I wanted to make the ‘right’ choices for our baby. My husband, Ian, and I took the Bradley method class, hired a doula and birth photographer (Lauren!), saw midwives throughout the pregnancy, and decided to deliver at a hospital that supports unmedicated births. I did a lot of reading and learning about evidence-based best practices because 1s are realistic, but also perfectionists. I don’t like to admit it, but I certainly had goals for my labor and delivery. I wanted things to go ‘the right way’ (i.e. my way).

I think now I can sometimes feel annoyingly righteous about preparing for Everest’s birth and how it ended up going (just being honest). But the reality is, everyone is different, and every birth is different and there is no “right” or “wrong” way to prepare or birth. I am so happy with how my labor and Everest’s birth went. It was magical, and the absolute most joyous day of my life. I have never been so proud of our teamwork as when I think about what Ian, Everest, our birth team, and I did together, but I have to stop myself from being too much of a ‘1’ about the experience!”

giving birth cesarean baby mom recovery

Andrea’s Experience:

“I’m a one and, for me, that shows as a realist, somewhat perfectionistic, and a planner. I like order and can be somewhat critical sometimes. I see things as right and wrong and want people to do the right thing!

I planned every detail (that I could) of birth and did a lot of research to prepare myself for what it would be like. I also had to acknowledge that I wouldn’t be able to plan how it went and really prayed for peace, knowing that ultimately it was in God’s hands…

During labor/delivery, I liked to know what was going on and asked a lot of questions. I intentionally didn’t make a birth plan. What I “planned” was more of researching and thinking through different options and being knowledgeable…My bags were packed meticulously and I had researched all the things I could need [in the hospital]. Also, I planned out different scenarios with my husband. He knew to tell the nurses/doctor “we need a minute to talk” if there were any big decisions to make so that we could process and make an informed decision.”

birth story birth center water birth mom dad support

Sarah’s Experience:

“We enrolled in husband-coached natural birth classes called The Bradley Method. I loved it and devoured all the reading material suggested. I felt very prepared going in to my last trimester since I was sure of the ‘right’ way for me to give birth…I ended up being induced at 42 weeks +1 day. The OBs managed to scare us into an unwanted induction with statistics despite the fact that frequent monitoring showed that my baby was fine and had no indications of being overdue. But my One tendencies also really like facts and figures. I ultimately gave in despite my intuition (and fetal monitoring) telling me that she was doing just fine in there. I was glad to have done the amount of research I did as well as having our lovely doulas available to share advice which helped me hold off on the induction as long as we did.

We started with a foley bulb, then broke my water, then eventually started Pitocin. We then discovered that she was posterior. I chose not to get an epidural so I could be up and moving to try to turn her and help my cervix dilate further. It was brutal. I had already been up for a full day during attempts to induce with Pitocin due to my OB’s repeated assurances that it would be an easy induction due to her being ‘so overdue.’

It was horrible back labor since she was posterior and I was on my feet the entire time. In addition, since they don’t let laboring mothers eat, I was deeply exhausted due to food and sleep depravation. I reached my breaking point after 18 hours of Pitocin labor…I was at 8cm dilation for hours and hours and hoursssss. I was literally falling asleep on my feet between contractions. I got an epidural and immediately fell asleep for two hours. Upon waking, she had turned and I had dilated the remaining 2cm! I pushed for 1.5 hours and delivered her vaginally…after the amount of times the OB mentioned a c-section and the fact that he had the forceps sitting there just waiting to use them (but didn’t), I am proud to have managed a vaginal birth at all.

I had a hard time relinquishing control during the whole situation, but you just have to let go and make the best decision that can be made in the current moment for the given situation.”

cesarean birth story winston salem mom baby dad midwife

Whitney’s Experience:

“I’m a 1w2 and am a pretty big planner. I love everything ‘just so’ in my house…I find that I often strive for perfection and like to be in control (type 1) but also like to be affirmed for my work and feel appreciated and loved (type 2).

Having no experience whatsoever with labor and delivery, I researched the heck out of it as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I decided that I wanted as few interventions as possible, being totally in awe of what the female body is capable of and wanting to experience that for myself. I talked with my midwives and created a lovely ‘birth preferences’ list for what I hoped would be a birth center birth. I barely researched c-sections and added a couple preferences to the bottom of my list as an afterthought…

Well, my little boy had other plans, and after being strongly advised by my midwife to be induced, my birth preferences all went out the window. While on Pitocin, I was hardly able to use any of the coping techniques I had prepared, and when the back labor started, I felt like a fish out of water. I knew that labor would be difficult, but I had mentally prepared myself to be laboring at home or in a birth center, not hooked up to an IV and with tight bands around my belly. After over 24 hours of labor, I ended up with a cesarean, the thing I had prepared for the least.

The delivery itself went well, but the recovery was a mental one for me. All of my well-made plans were broken and I felt a deep sense of disappointment, sadness, shame at my sadness, and overwhelm. It felt like I had had a less-than-perfect birth somehow. A couple weeks after Rob’s arrival, we’d settled in to life with a newborn and Lauren’s photos arrived in my inbox. I ugly cried as I scrolled through the image gallery. This beautiful collection of images showed a woman and her husband working so hard to bring their baby safely into the world. It didn’t show a woman failing. It showed a woman who fiercely loved her baby and wanted what she thought was best for him. It showed two new grandparents, ecstatic to meet their squishy little grandson and just happy their daughter was okay. Seeing these photos brought me a healing perspective that I can’t fully put into words.”


  • Ones can be perfectionists and planners. If that is true for you, try to work through your urge to plan everything. I personally do advocate for having a birth plan, but it may be in your best interest to call it a “birth wish list” or “birth goals” as opposed to calling it a “plan.” That way, you have an understanding that things may have to happen differently.
  • Because ones have a strong sense of right and wrong, you may be inclined to think that whatever way you choose to birth is the RIGHT way. Be open to listening to other’s experiences and let yourself learn from others. There’s no right way to give birth.
  • It may be difficult for a one to trust their intuition or “gut” when faced with statistics or figures, even if they are given without full context (i.e. “X intervention is needed because going past your due date makes you twice as likely to…” even when the numbers are 0.1% and .2%)


  • Take a moment to go through your birth plan step by step and imagine what would happen if something changed. How would you feel? What can you do to help prepare yourself for that possibility?
  • Talk to your birth team about your enneagram number and what that means for you. Ones go to Fours in times of stress (ahem, labor) so you may find yourself reacting to changes in a “moody or irrational” way and your birth team should be prepared.
  • If you’re dealing with an urge to “over plan” your birth, try to put that energy into making a plan for how your partner can support you. Work on specific phrases or tools you can use together. HERE is some guidance on pain coping tools.
  • Make sure to research your wings and what number you go to in “rest” and “stress” (more on this in my Instagram highlights – @laurenjollyphoto)

**EXTRA: Head HERE to download a free birth affirmation for your enneagram type! Thank you to Sacred Spaces Birth for creating these!

Are you a 1 on the Enneagram who had a birth experience you’d like to share or a tool that helped you prepare for you birth? Leave a comment below!

  1. […] can also read about Type One, Type Two, Type Three, Type Four, Type Five, Type Six, Type Eight, and Type […]

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