Overcoming fear of childbirth is almost absolutely necessary in order for you to have your natural baby birth. But that doesn’t mean you have to be fearLESS.
I don’t have a magic formula that will guarantee your fears away if you follow it step by step. You can’t wave a magic wand and wish away your fears either.
Still, we all will face something in our path determined to undermine us. It’s because we’re women, mothers and daughters of God in a fallen world, prone to natural anxieties.
But amazingly we, you and I, can learn how to channel those feelings into something that will strengthen us beyond what we think we are capable.
Overcoming Fear Of Childbirth
Apparently there is an official name for the substantial fear of pregnancy and childbirth–tokophobia. Whether or not you can be officially diagnosed with this condition is something that I don’t believe matters.
Because we ALL are afraid of something. The moment we see those two lines confirming what we often already know to be true is a moment when our fears we didn’t know we had start to surface.
Maybe you have some that you haven’t let manifest themselves. You bury them deep inside, thinking that others will be critical. Or you hide them from your husband and cry alone in a corner when he’s away so you can let something out without him becoming more anxious or irritated with you.
No matter what it is you HAVE to face it in order to go beyond the darkness and come out shining. Then looking back, you will realize that the journey was entirely worth it and wasn’t so bad as you imagined.
And facing those fears has to be done so bluntly and completely in order for your efforts to make a difference. Sure, you will never forget those fears and they make pop up into your memory from time to time. But they will be SMALL once you have learned how to cope with their presence.
Common Fears To Address
Every fear we ever feel stems from the basic fear we all have–that we are not good enough. This is the biggest load of hogwash the adversary will spend every waking moment trying to convince us to believe.
But you can mock him right in the face and permeate with every cell in your body that you are DIVINE and are made for this experience. Our Heavenly Father would not have gifted us with this ability if he didn’t give use everything necessary in order to do it, and do it WELL.
We ARE good enough. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. You are the only and best mother for your child and bringing them into the world should not be something to dreadfully fear.
But let’s see what may be the key things for you and how to overcome them.
This, by far, is what most mothers fear. Because it’s all you’re told and see portrayed in the media. It surrounds you in the tv commercials advertising basic pain medications. It’s the mantra westernized society has CREATED for itself and we, unfortunately, take the brunt of it.
Yes, pain is REAL, but it is also often ALL in our minds. What you CHOOSE to believe and focus upon is what you will experience. Our bodies feedback from what we tell it to do in many circumstances.
So even just having a little pain that we allow to flare our emotions from can automatically lead to even more, cascading into a funnel that becomes more and more difficult to climb out of. (Read more about the fear-tension-pain cycle here.)
But you CAN climb out of it, let alone not even step into it–BELIEVE that.
Are you afraid that you won’t be good enough or strong enough to withstand all the feelings associated wth your birth?
You are stronger than you think you are dear and when you’re on the other side, holding your baby, you’ll KNOW that you are.
HAVING A C-SECTION
Having a surgery is nerve-wracking. I’ve had two in my lifetime and I was nervous for sure. But I also knew that I was in the very place I wanted to be if something did go wrong–which nothing did. Maybe you’re in a position where a c-section is very likely for you because of your circumstances beyond your control. This is NOT your fault.
Remember that a c-section is a life-saving operation that has spared many lives in many situations. Even if your birth plan is such that you are trying to avoid a c-section at all costs, then you can rest assured that if you’ve done everything you can beforehand, if you end of needing to have one in the end, it may have been better off in order to save your baby’s life or your own.
That doesn’t mean I think you should jump at the chance to have one because you’ll be doing your child the biggest disservice of their life by limiting their microbiome. But you are not going to be measured by how your baby comes into this world. Even though it’s sad knowing that c-sections happen a third of the time, whether needed or not, it also means that you are likely in good hands should the necessity arise for one.
Are you afraid of being cut open?
Your body will heal and it DOES NOT make you any less of a mother.
Having experienced this twice, I can say that it’s not as traumatic as it would seem to be. Tearing is better than an episiotomy in terms of healing. Plus, it’s so quick in terms of everything else that happens, you likely won’t even know that it has occurred (I didn’t.)
In comparison to all the other intense feelings you’ll experience, this is much lower on the scale. But I can’t speak for everyone. Are you afraid of the pain and recovery with tearing? Your body will heal and you can find great relief from a few natural products I never do without.
PROBLEM WITH THE BABY
It’s hard trying to understand and connecting to someone you haven’t met yet, even though they are every bit a part of you as your own face. Just as you are built for this experience, so is your baby. They may seem so fragile, but they are so powerfully strong and resilient too. You may make every single mistake in the book when it comes to your pregnancy and delivery, and yet your baby thrives without you even trying.
The risks for your baby are just as small as your own risks. Again, ever mother’s individual circumstances are unique, but so is your baby’s. They haven’t come with a lifetime of wear and tear yet like you have up to this point.
Are you afraid of losing your baby during your delivery?
If you are reading this, then it is practically guaranteed that you have everything available to you to keep risks for your baby infinitely miniscule. Some women don’t have that reassurance, but YOU DO.
BECOMING A MOTHER
This was probably my biggest fear before I ever got pregnant. This stems back to the fear of not being good enough, and we’ve already talked about that. It doesn’t matter how good so-and-so seems to do at the whole mothering thing, or how perfectly natural things seem to come to whats-her-face.
It doesn’t matter if this is the tenth child you’re having or your first. You are going through the greatest challenge you’ve ever had to face RIGHT NOW, no matter where you are on the ladder of motherhood. And none of us has the perfect guidebook or instruction manual given to us the moment we become a parent.
Are you afraid you won’t be a good mother to your child?
Simply by having this fear present means that you WILL be great. You will do all that you can to better yourself day by day because you have that desire burning in your bosom. You will find peace.
My husband and I were married for six years before we started having children. Relatives would bother us a lot about it. But we knew the time wasn’t right. Deep down though, I WAS afriad of becoming a mother. I was afriad of all the responsibilities it requires. I was afriad of not being good enough, not being ready.
Then I had a very personal experience that touched my life forever and I found peace with knowing that it was time for us to have a family. And the fear literally disappeared. It surfaces now and again when I’m learning how to deal with a new aspect of motherhood that I haven’t encountered before. But I wouldn’t turn back for a second because of all the strength and flourishing I have gained from moving forward and fighting through that fear.
Whatever your fear is, if it’s one or many it doesn’t matter, you CAN overcome it and push beyond its limitations. Watch Ina May’s Over Fear In Birth TED Talk here for her perspective that has inspired me.
What To Do To Address Your Fears
Take ALL of these steps one by one. They will all contribute to fighting your fear from every angle possible.
Stay away from the negativity.
Avoid the horror stories. Every mother seems to have one that didn’t enjoy their birth. Don’t watch the overly dramatized shows on TV that portray things completely out of proportion. Ask people to stop and not share their negative experiences. They are FAR from the realities that are MORE accurate for almost all mothers.
Find the facts.
Learn all that you can about a natural and normal labor and delivery experience. You can find tons of information right here at My Natural Baby Birth in the Studies and Resources area, or starting from the Stages of Labor and Stages of Childbirth posts. Ask questions, learn all that you can, choose a few books to read (here are my favorites) and explore multiple birthing course options to expand your knowledge of the realistic risks and expectations surrounding your birth.
Address any emotional issues.
There is nothing to be ashamed of emotionally. If you have a history of depression, anxiety or abuse, especially sexual abuse, seek professional help early. You are NOT any less of a mother by helping yourself become better. (To note, epidurals are associated with postpartum depression.)
Have a support system.
Tell others how you feel, those that you trust and are comfortable with. Spend time among people with the same values and desires as you. Join a mothers group or stick with friends that will not make you feel any less than what you are but that make you feel confident in your abilities and decisions.
Learn how to relax.
There are many methods to relaxation that you can explore. Start here, and then incorporate what feels right to you into your preparations. Being able to control your body’s reactions is the KEY to getting through a successful labor. You must also TRUST your body. It knows what it’s doing and really doesn’t need much help from you in many cases. When you trust a loved one, are you calm around them, for the most part? Trust your baby and you will find peace to relax.
I imagine that you’re taking a lot of time talking with your mother about her experiences. She is your closest resource often times. But remember–you are NOT your mother and likely won’t experience what she did.
My mother told me for years that she was always sicker than a dog every single day of all her pregnancies. So I was always imagining that same for me. I was WRONG. I am almost the completely opposite of my mother when it comes to our pregnancies and births.
You are a completely different generation apart from your mother and with that comes MAJOR differences in what can and will happen for you.
I also want you to know that it’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to have natural fears. Maybe that’s the whole reason why you’ve come looking for the help you need. But they are not necessary and you are GREATER than them.
You will find peace when you look for it. And it’s usually right within us standing behind the fear that we’re focusing on. Change your focus and you may just change your life.