As mentioned in my 14 Week Update, my husband and I are starting a small discussion group with another pregnant couple. Our first book is Birthing from Within, a ‘so hippie it smells like patchouli’ guide to dealing with the emotional and spiritual aspects of birth.
The basic premise of the introductory chapters of Birthing from Within is that by addressing your negative associations about birth before labor, you can focus on the job at hand and surrender in a more powerful and positive way.
Chapter 3 addresses birth worries.
In the years to follow, my midwifrey practice taught me that for some women, worry is the work of pregnancy. In fact, an over-confident first time mom who thinks she has it all figured out, worries me. I worry she will not be truly prepared for what awaits her… Some people believe that exploring fears or worries make then more like to happen. In fact, worrying effectively helped [my patient] shift from frozen, fearful images of not being able to cope, to more fluid images containing a variety of coping responses.
To worry effectively, Birthing from Within says you must:
- Imagine what would happen if the worry actually happened;
- Imagine what your partner or birthing attendant would say and do;
- Imagine what the worry would mean to you as a mother if it was true;
- Ask yourself if and how you have faced crises in the past;
- Ask yourself what, if anything, can you do to prepare for or prevent the worry from coming true; and
- Ask yourself how you will handle the situation if there is a nothing you can do to prevent it from happening.
To help me process the chapter, I sat quietly and wrote out my birth fears. At first, it was hard to come up with a list of fears because I feel pretty laid-back about labor, but I remembered how Birthing from Within said an over-confident mother gets herself in trouble. So I looked deeper, and dug deeper, and created a short list of things I was worried about:
- That I will tear;
- That I will emotionally break down under the pain;
- That the baby will have a serious health issue and end up in the NICU; and
- That natural labor will fail, and I’ll have to have a C-section.
Just writing these things down really helped me process and understand where my fears were coming from. And, truthfully, I felt calmer than I did before writing down my concerns.
What are your birth worries? How do you deal with them?
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