A Shadow of Fear
A Shadow of Fear
Fear is the enemy childbirth. Fear of the unknown. Fear of pain. Fear of an intervention or a poor outcome.
Fear can stop you in your tracks. Leave you frozen, unable to move forward and unable to move backwards. Clarity of thought disappears, your muscles lock up, tension increases and pain, both perceived and real, is magnified. Managing fear is critical in childbirth. With training and practice it is possible to disengage from the fear. In order to do this you must recognize the fear, stop, take a minute to breathe and practice the techniques outlined below.
Fears Related To Childbirth
In this exercise you will begin to work through some of the feelings you have about childbirth. It will help you to understand how you talk about childbirth affects your birth outcome. You will also come to realize that other people’s comments and ideas might be influencing your beliefs about giving birth.
Finish the following statements about your experience and your feelings.
- I believe childbirth…
- One of my worst fears for the labor and birth is…
- When I talk about giving birth with other people …
- I have concerns about giving birth because…
- What fears arise from your mother’s retelling of your birth?
- What fears arise from previous experiences at a birth?
- What fears arise from the anticipation of being out of control?
- What fears arise from the expectation of pain associated with labor?
- What fears arise from the anticipation of the physical process of labor?
- What fears arise from the understanding you are becoming a mother?
- What fears arise from the anticipation of being “watched” and meeting expectations?
- What fears arise from the anticipation of breastfeeding?
- What fears arise from comments made by family or friends?
- If I felt strong and powerful, I would like to…
Let go of what you have been told to do. Release the expectations of mass media, family histories and stories form your peers. Give yourself the gift of imperfection and let go of ‘what should be’. Instead embrace the freedom to move forward without expectations.
Develop your own vision of self, self confidence and power. Empower yourself with understanding of the process and education of the event. Giving birth is about allowing your body to open, letting that which is inside to come out.
How women give birth is an individualistic experience. It embraces many possibilities. Yes there are common threads experienced between all women but each woman must birth alone in partnership with her baby, with her support network at her side.
When you fight labor with your body, your mind or your emotions, labor becomes a long, painful and unproductive process. In order to relax, you must trust that childbirth is normal, that your body is capable of giving birth and those around you desire to help you have the best possible experience.
Relaxing requires so much more than being able to physically flop. It starts with becoming loose and trusting those around you and then it requires surrendering. Surrendering means letting go of fears, anger and frustration.
It takes courage to face birth and surrender to the process. Women can create a vision of the own birth: focused, directed and expansive. I encourage you to take the time to educate, prepare and practice daily coping techniques so that you are prepared for childbirth.
If you have fears, doubts or concerns about birth, take a minute to examine what you believe to be true and why. Enroll in a comprehensive childbirth class, do your due diligence, hire, and work with your doula in order to have a better understanding of your options.
Believe your body was designed to give birth. You are capable and designed to birth. Generations and generations of women in your family have birthed their babies. Thousands of women are laboring with you today in this moment. You are not alone.
Believe that your baby needs you. You are the only one who can do this. Each decision you make for your baby is important. And you are the best person to make those choices.
Believe you can find the support you need and do it. There are excellent providers with good bedside manors who will be patient with your questions. Hire a doula to support you on your journey.
What you believe does matter. Women who are confident in their ability to handle labor report less pain during labor. Take the time to find the faith you need to give birth. And when you speak about your upcoming birth speak with confidence. “I will have ….( a VBAC, a rainbow baby, an empowering experience).”