Fear & Loathing in Labor
As your due date draws near, are you becoming more anxious? Afraid? Worried? Scared? Overwhelmed?
Wait, I already know the answer -
YES, if you are expecting, you are most likely feeling all these things. As a childbirth educator and doula (and someone that gave birth twice), I know exactly where you are coming from, how it feels and why.
First, toss in every movie and TV show you have ever watched depicting childbirth.
It will go something like this: one part screaming and cursing woman, one part out of control and scary faces, one part freaked out partner that makes comical gestures and possibly passes out! And, voila`, childbirth! Often times it is hard to figure out if we are watching a comedy or a horror show!
Next you gotta add all the terrifying and traumatic stories your family, friends, co-workers, and social media shares. These tend to be competitions on who has the worst experience and story. As women exchange such stories they become more and more embedded into the narrative.
We have essentially created a recipe for fear and its effect has been that most women are loathing the idea of childbirth and/or terribly anxious about this moment.
I want to flip this script!! Let's really talk about this fear and whether or not it serves us. Birth is a perfect opportunity to become intentional about expectations, self-care, cultural constructs, and misinformation?
At Labor of Love we believe that fear is a call to action. Fear arrises to either inspire you to run, pay attention, educate, find more information, and do whatever you need to dispense the fear.
Here are some really good ways to understand and dive deeper into your fear.
Sit down and write out what you are really afraid of when it comes to your birth. Connect to your fears, write them down and let them out! Once you acknowledge them you will learn what action you need to take next.
Educate yourself about the birthing process so you have a REAL picture of this moment. Things are ALWAYS scarier in the dark, illuminate yourself about one of the most magical human experiences!
Connect to your tools for pain management. Pain is just communication, your body is letting you know something is happening, pay attention to it and offer it support! Be your own best friend and take care of yourself.
Ensure that you have the right care provider. Birth comes with enough fear and anxiety, when we have a care provider that helps you feel relaxed, it changes our experience.
If you are afraid of where you will give birth (yes, white coat syndrome does exist!) make sure that you visit your birth place. Take the hospital tour and see the room you will be welcoming your baby in.
If you are afraid of tearing, again education is KEY! Releasing a baby WILL add trauma to this area and the skin in this region is VERY different than your arm skin. Understanding the birth process will help you embrace it. There are tools to possibly minimize or avoid tearing. Siting in a low squat can help stretch and keep this skin flexible.
If you are afraid of a bad outcome, understand that some of that anxiety is you protecting your baby; AND, allow yourself the peace of mind knowing that you are strong no matter what happens. You WILL be surrounded by love, this is your journey and statics are on the side of healthy mom and healthy baby.
There is no getting around or out of your birth - there is only through!! Labor of Love is working on changing our stories and cultivating a birth culture that is empowering and supports you creating a beautiful experience.