Mama To Mama Wisdom- Overcoming Birth Fear
(Adapted from a recent Facebook post- thanks to all the moms who contributed their thoughts and advice.)
-JOURNAL JOURNAL JOURNAL!-
~I have a fear of needles and I was afraid of the pain of natural childbirth, although I'm still pregnant with my first, after doing research and reading childbirth books I no longer fear natural childbirth. Knowing that this is the best option for my baby helped me overcome my fears! Now I'm excited and can't wait to experience my home birth!~
~Use a trigger memory. Get yourself comfortable and relaxed and start thinking of a happy memory. Really get deep into it like your almost there and at the same time do something physical to yourself like firmly hold your ear lobe, clench your right fist etc. Do this several times and then the next time an irrational fear washes over you use your trigger i.e pinching your earlobe to take you back to that nice memory and focus on it. It really works :)~
~Can you be afraid of something you are familiar with? Fear comes from the unknown... With my last birth I studied and studied...during the birth I was never afraid because I knew exactly what was happening. My labor wasn't painful. As I felt the crowning and it got tense, I knew it was numbing me. I tracked the babies progress all the way out!~
~Knowledge is power. When you are informed about your choices you can be more confident in your decisions and trust your instinct.~
~Remember, fear is the opposite of faith. I focus my eyes on God, He is with us ALL the time!~
~There is an awesome explanation of why pain is beneficial in the process of labor in the book Pushed by Jennifer Block the chapter Mothers Helpers.especially starting on p.172 Pain can be a GOOD thing. Labor is a positive feedback system.. ...Meaning each part is responsible for the next so that the process is a continuous circle & the pain is not without it's allies - endorphins- the great pain manager! I think if you have a good understanding of what the pain does- that its not pain for pains sake - that it has necessary benefits through labor & on to breastfeeding it's easier to welcome it's intensity & know that these sensations are not from harm but from good Its easier to accept & teach yourself ways to cope rather than to fear. ~
~Yes! Some women birth without pain but many experience pain. And that is purposeful pain which is different than pain from injury. I tell my doula clients that the pain is your body communicating with you, telling you how to move to minimize the pain, or perhaps to add water or warmth to dull it. If there is pain localized to one side perhaps the baby needs to be encouraged to move toward the other side and you can try different positions to respond to your body's pain communication.
I practically forbid my clients from watching ANY birth shows on TV and hand out The Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth to every client who hasn't seen them already. And if their partners haven't yet seen them then I loan them out for a second viewing with their partner. I also encourage them to watch Birth into Being, a wonderful view of completely natural, family-centered home birth.
My favorite book to loan out is "Birthing from Within". I love the Ina May books too! They have such empowering birth stories in them that the reader can't help but get inspired!~
~Trust know its your body. Your body can never over take you or be more than you can handle because it IS you.
Plus the benefits to you & baby are amazing! I walked my 2nd graded to school with new baby the day after birth. I don't think any of my hospital birth girlfriends could say that :)~
~A doula helped me greatly, but I also birthed in the hospital. Something to remember about pain: when you are tense, it will hurt. If you relax, the pain will go away. Every time I got tense, it hurt. As soon as I started breathing again, the pain vanished. It is amazing what breathing and focusing can do!~
And some good resources:
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. by Sarah Buckley
Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis helped me have 2 pain free natural births after a painful epidural birth!
Keep in mind that most of the pain is alleviated simply by being outside of the hospital! Read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - it's paradigm changing!
Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth!
Preparing for a healthy birth by Sylvie Donna -
A great book is Birthing From Within by Pam England. It was the one thing that has really helped me with the fear/trauma/distrust from my cesarean.