I’m Pregnant and Scared to Give Birth

By: Jennifer Cole | Pregnancy | April 12, 2021

You’re sitting in an old-timey wooden rocking chair wearing a fuzzy yellow robe that weirdly looks just like the one you had when you were 11. In your arms, you’re holding the sweetest, most adorable tiny baby you’ve ever laid eyes on. She’s looking up at you with big beautiful eyes that are peeking out of a perfectly swaddled blanket and cooing delightfully. This baby belongs to you and you’re immediately in love. Ah-the dream of motherhood. 

It’s natural to want a sweet adorable baby of your own to rock in your arms and kiss and hold and love until the end of time, right? But what has to happen before you get to experience this perfect moment? You have to give birth to them. 

And. That. Is. Terrifying.

Let’s Face it, The Stigmas Surrounding Birth Are NOT Great

Everything you’ve heard about childbirth sounds terrible. Labor is painful and exhausting. Pushing the baby out has been described as feeling like you’re being split apart. And the idea of having to do all this under the glaring fluorescent lights of a sterile hospital room surrounded by masked doctors makes it sound all the more horrific. And yet here you are, pregnant with this child that you truly want, you only wish you could fall asleep at 40 weeks and then wake up with a baby in your arms. Isn’t that how they used to do it when your grandmother had her babies (yes, they did: for several decades of the 20th century “Twilight Sleep” was administered to those in labor, with some devastating results.

All of this is a long way to say, there are no shortcuts: To hold that gorgeous baby angel in your arms you will have to give birth to it, one way or another. And now that Twilight Sleep is no longer an option (thank God), you will likely experience some unmedicated labor at some point unless for medical reasons you require a planned cesarean birth (which is its own kettle of fish). Here’s the thing: it’s normal to be scared about the prospect of childbirth, but the good news is that with the proper education you can dispel this fear and exchange it for empowerment.

Embracing These Fears is Key!

Indulging your deepest fears about childbirth is fine when you’re newly pregnant; in fact, I recommend that you voice them all, whatever they are. Write them down. Journal about them. But after you’ve expressed them, you can set them aside and start seeking out the information and knowledge you need to quiet them. It’s a timeworn adage and perhaps even a cliché, but knowledge is power. 

If you hate the idea of giving birth in a hospital, seek out a birthing center in your area or consider a home birth with a midwife. If you marvel at those who have described their unmedicated labor experience as “euphoric” or “orgasmic,” do a deep dive into what precisely they did to prepare themselves for it. While perhaps “orgasmic” might be a high-water mark few will achieve, an experience that is intense but tolerable is within the realm of possibility. 

Education Will Be Your Ally

There are a multitude of ways to prepare yourself for labor, whether it be through various comfort measures, guided meditations, visualizations, hypnosis, the list goes on and on. And if you know from the get-go that you’d prefer some anesthetic assistance, no problem. Seek out a childbirth educator who will provide you everything there is to know about epidurals and other pain relief options.

Don’t let your impending labor be the boogeyman waiting in the closet. Bring him out into the light. Labor is a normal and natural physiological process that your body is capable of going through. And after accomplishing this amazing physical achievement, you will truly feel prepared to take care of that sweet angel you’re rocking in your arms.

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About the author:
Jennifer Cole CD(DONA) DONA Certified Birth Doula and Hypnobabies Certified HypnoDoula supporting families throughout San Diego County.

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