Emotionally dealing with ALL the ideas and feelings that come up around pregnancy, labor and birth is part of our natural transition into this new phase as a woman – becoming a mother in the physical. My adoption of a sweet, little 5 year old girl(8 yrs old by the time it was final) was my introduction into motherhood day to day. I went from a wife with two cats into teaching why we all have chores, unfortunately discovering Barney the Dinosaur and shopping for light up Sketchers. It wasn’t until realizing my next pregnancy was going to be viable that the first round of fears popped up for me.
What I have experienced as a childbirth educator, is that initially women seem to gravitate towards the same fears. Fears that can be explained and set aside pretty simply with a little more education. Fears about labor and birth not addressed in the beginning of pregnancy, tend to hang around the whole time. Not only do they hang around but they seem to get unproportionally larger over the course of the gestation. I am a firm believer that the sooner we address concerns, worries and fears in pregnancy, the more time we have for bonding with this new baby and making peace with leaving our old life behind for something even more amazing.
Here are three of the top fears that we, as educators, address all the time.
- What if I have a c-section? I don’t want a c-section.
My first question around this is, “How many times a day to say this and think about it?” Are you just repeating, “I don’t want a c-section, “I don’t want a c-section, “I don’t want a c-section,” to your partner, to your Dr., to your friends and saying it silently in your head each day? If so – what is your subconscious hearing about ALL THE TIME? We want to program our subconscious mind with better ideas and images rather than fear based ones. (It would be a bit weird if you replaced that sentence with, “I want a vagina birth,” “I want a vagina birth,” “I want a vagina birth,”repeated to whomever would listen. While it is more positive, you’ll sound straight up crazy). Instead – imagine what feelings you want in the room when you birth. Your feelings are the ONLY thing you actually have control over in labor and birth and those feelings can make the biggest impact on your baby. Calm, peaceful, loved, safe, welcomed – possibly joyful, happy and ecstatic. Focus your attention on what you do want rather than what you don’t want. Those feelings are the first ones your baby will experience on this side of your womb and they bring either feelings of trust or mistrust for your baby’s world on the outside.
Side note: Explore why there is so much worry around having a c-section. Having a belly birth is sometimes a necessary way that babies need to be born and even if it’s not your first choice, you can still honor this birth and help make it a positive experience for you and your baby. I have been to many belly births that were peaceful and family centered. Another reason to choose the right provider and create backup plans for all types of birth. Belly birth is still birth and you can have a great one. This is an actual choice for some women and it’s the birth they want. It can be safe, calm and beautiful – so maybe begin to have more ideas about how to avoid an unnecessary one and if it is medically needed how to flow with that(more info in another blog for another day).
- What if I die from the pain?
Sorry to burst your drama bubble but you won’t die from pain. It is normal to be nervous and even scared about the pain because you have never had a baby. The “unknowns” with labor and birth can be intimidating BUT there are ancient tools and skills that you can acquire before labor that really help with the discomfort. Not to mention what your body already instinctively knows. Can you be uncomfortable? – yes. Can you be extremely uncomfortable? – yes. AND… there are some woman who orgasm during labor(and one of them is on film if you wanna see it). AND… there are some women who describe labor as intense but manageable. AND there are some women who use techniques to relax and embrace the sensations of labor and describe birth as empowering, hard and a welcomed challenge. If we(mammals) are scared of something – we clamp down, tighten and resist as a form of protection. But if we have dealt with our fears, gathered the right team and have let go of our birth expectations, we allow movement and breath to release our baby with more ease. Pain management is actually one of the simple things doulas and educators can assist you with from the beginning of pregnancy to increase your knowledge and confidence in what your body can do.
- What if I poop?
You WILL poop! Yay! Poo, Poop, plop a poop- welcome aboard the poop train! Joking, but not really! The truth is most of my doula mamas do NOT poop – BUT – I want you to plan on it so you can just get over it. Your body will most likely have you pooping before and during labor to make some space for your baby. And if you do happen to poop during the pushing phase – visualize tiny bunny poops(because they are tiny, flat bunny poops), and they are quickly cleaned up by a gracious staff and you will never even see them. You will NOT be dropping a log girlfriend – that I can guarantee! You are pushing with the same muscles that move poop out – and this time, that “poop” will be a healthy, 8lb, lifelong companion you will fall in love with. It’s all good and pooping means you are almost done. Let it go and release that bowel with confidence!
The best game plan for birth is finding women who have had the births that you want to mimic and then asking them their formula for success. Remember that your baby is the wild card in all of these scenarios and since it is actually THEIR birth – all you can do is create the feelings to support their movements and ideas. It’s not your birth. Be ok with that and go with the flow. Staying calm, peaceful, sexy and chill usually brings in a baby in pretty well. You can do this…