Does Birth Need to be Scary?
So, you are finally pregnant. You have dreamed of this day. You planned for this day. You desired this day, so why are you freaking out?
Transformation can be thrilling but they also can be jarring as we quickly move from a known situation to an unknown one. Some people get queasy when flying, others laugh during bumpy landings, and some may bounce back and forth between both emotions. No matter who you are your body bounces when you take off and land.
With change comes discomfort and anxiety because we are dealing with the unknown. All major changes, starting a new job you have been working towards, buying a house, getting fired, crashing a car, or having baby generate visceral changes in your body. Some people have an easier time with change than others but being flexible is a learned skill. By practicing being fluid with the change, you can build the skills necessary to be better prepared next time.
These strategies can be applied to your pregnancy and life well after recovery.
Set goals. Don’t set just one goal but set multiple goals for the immediate, short term, and long-term. Dream about birth, find your birth team and location, schedule the first vacation as a family, and the first birthday party.
Know your limits. Anticipate what is to come. Understand you and your partner’s limitations. Enlist mentors and support as needed. Childbirth classes will help educate you on the process and what to expect. A doula can facilitate your entire pregnancy and recovery with hands-on care and step by step guidance.
Allow for hiccups. Even with the most welcome transitions, like parenthood, there may be hiccups. Healing, lack of sleep, and feeding difficulties can sap your strength and resilience to normal life speed bumps like an empty fridge or holding on to your baby weight. Have the skills to release these frustrations or the network to help you navigate these changes.
Choose mass media wisely. Sitcoms with screaming women in labor may not match your birth goal of a calm environment. Watching the latest news clip on African mortality or worldwide events may not facilitate positive baby dreams. Instead consider the nature channel as it may give you the confidence to know that for generations upon generations, women in your family have birthed live healthy babies.
Practice self-care. Start by making small daily changes when things are going smoothly. Fuel our body and mind with healthy food choices, exercise, deep breathing, and schedule in self-care breaks. Monthly massages will calm your mind and body more effectively than a longer one at the end of your pregnancy. Remember, don’t make your first postpartum run a 10K. Rather start by walking and gradually increase the intensity and distance.