As a segway from Part 5 where you decided to only listen to the positive stories of other mothers, today’s step in how to be fearless is the first ‘S’, Stop.
You already know you want to:
- Stop reading the horror stories.
- Stop listening to the bad experiences people will share with you.
- Stop the natural intention to think “What if that happens to me?”
- Stop going down the mental path of negativity.
How To Be Fearless By Stopping
Today you’re going to learn a technique that will help you stop focusing on anything that you choose when anxiety strikes. But first I want to share a story with you.
When I was pregnant with my third baby, I finally had a midwife. She was great and I had no problems with her. I will go back to her the next time I get pregnant.
But she said something to me one day that triggered some anxiety in me. As I was telling her about my past births and what I wanted with this one, she said, “Third babies hurt.” I didn’t like that.
If you’ve read my second birth story, that one was really calm and I didn’t have the perceived pain like I did the first time around. So her comment got me wondering, “What if this one is worse?” I started comparing the possibilities in my mind because I knew that every pregnancy and birth was different.
I started to doubt myself a little that I might not be able to do this a third time. Was I getting my hopes up? Was I too confident?
Well, everything ended up miraculous and my third birth was my most orgasmic and powerful one yet. In the end, I did not doubt and I proved myself wrong again.
How To Stop
Using the acronym of S.T.O.P., you can practice a way of overcoming your thoughts when your fears start to creep up on you again.
Stop stands for:
- S – Stop your train of negative thoughts.
- T – Take a deep breath.
- O – Observe why you’re feeling this way.
- P – Pull back and question.
Now let’s dig into each of these one at a time so you fully understand how to stop.
When your anxiety resurfaces, or something unfortunate triggers a negative thought pattern in your mind, pause when you recognize what’s happening. Choose to create an awareness about what is going on in your head. Stand back and watch your thoughts go by.
Don’t act immediately upon the emotions that are welling up inside of you. Wait, wait some more, and wait. If you have to mentally count for a few seconds to focus on stopping, do that. If you can hone into your own heartbeat, feel and listen to it as it calms down.
You don’t want to get caught up in the whirlwind when you’ve tried so hard to get out of it. Practice automatically stopping when you feel that something is starting to overwhelm you. Get up and change position, take in some different scenery, or grab a pen and start writing. Whatever you can do, do it to help you stop going down the wrong path in your mind.
Take A Breath
When you’ve stopped the freight train of negative thoughts, take some slow deep breaths. These are the kind of breaths that fill up your lower belly, not raise your shoulders. You’re going to breathe in until there is no more room, preferably through your nose. Then let the air out of your mouth.
As you exhale, push almost every molecule of air back out. Make a considerable effort to squeeze your lungs empty. Then continue breathing in again. If you need to close your eyes to focus better, do it. It really helps me. Take at least four deeps breaths, more is better. Feel your shoulders and neck relax as you exhale.
If thoughts try to enter your mind again, just gently recognize they’re there and bring your focus back to your breath. Concentrate on the feeling within your body as you do so.
Now that you’ve separated yourself from your anxious moment and calmed your mind, observe what’s just happened. Recognize a few things as you answer these questions:
- What am I thinking about?
- What am I reacting to?
- What am I feeling in my body?
This is a bit deeper than originally stopping in the first step of this exercise. The first was to interrupt the pattern in your mind. But by observing, you can dig deeper into why it happened in the first place.
You can go through all of these steps in overcoming your fears and become confident. But your mind remembers so much and naturally ingrains in itself so many things, you cannot fully control every molecule residing within in. You CAN pick apart things when you look at it from a different perspective.
Whatever the answers to these questions, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you’re honest with yourself and vulnerable to the makings of them.
Now go beyond observing your inner state, and zoom out even further. Take the bird’s eye view of the situation and see the bigger picture of what’s going on. Ask yourself the following:
- Do I have all the facts?
- Is there another way of looking at this?
- What advice would I give a friend in this situation?
This line of questioning may be a bit more difficult to answer. You may not know everything or cannot fathom a different perspective than what has just played out. But I want you to STILL focus on the last question primarily.
If nothing else about this process helps at all, asking yourself this final question will do the most good.
What advice would I give a friend in this situation?
Picture a good friend or family member that you have an open relationship with. If they were expressing the same thoughts and feelings with you that you have just experienced, how would you positively react to them? What would you say to them in order to lift them up? How would you help them see the light at the end of the tunnel for them?
I think that this is the most helpful for many women because then you can truly come full circle and see how you can help yourself. You can try to dig into the psychology and deeper meanings all day long. But in the end, it’s the choice you take of what to do with that experience that matters.
Take the imaginary advice you would give to your friend and implement it for yourself. See the positivity you would endear upon another and add it to your own personal reflection. Choose the good. Validate your own feelings and then move forward.
You may never be able to truly rid out every microscopic source of fear or anxiety in your life about your upcoming birth. But you CAN train your mind and body to respond to their effects in a positive way. Self-awareness and changing your thought patterns on a regular basis is a very strong skill that can create a view on the world you wish you had had sooner. It creates emotional intelligence that surpasses much.
The more often that you implement the STOP method, stopping, taking a breath, observing, and pulling back, you will create a strong mental habit of forging ahead no matter your circumstance. Our minds are so powerful that we don’t fully comprehend them at our human levels. But channeling that power back into our lives has tremendous benefit to be taken advantage of.
If you’re ready to move forward mentally with preparing for your birth, take this hypnobirthing program that I highly recommend.
I find myself spiraling down the drain of anxiety when it comes to my beautiful boys every once in awhile. I regularly fear for their well being because I love them so much. But I practice this technique regularly so that I am always reminded of the bigger picture: that I will always have my boys safe and sound no matter what in the end.
What do you do to get your mind out of a negative rut? How do you combat things that can resurface?
Favorites In This Post:
- Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry, because it’s critical for your success
Now Go To:
- How To Be Fearless When Birth Is Looming – Part 1: Face It
- How To Be Fearless When Birth Is Looming – Part 2: Examine It
- How To Be Fearless When Birth Is Looming – Part 3: Accept It
- How To Be Fearless When Birth Is Looming – Part 4: Do Your Research
- How To Be Fearless When Birth Is Looming – Part 5: Listen To The Right Voices
- How To Be Fearless When Birth Is Looming – Part 6: Handling Your Emotions
- How To Be Fearless When Birth Is Looming – Part 7: Stop
- How To Be Fearless When Birth Is Looming – Part 8: Smile