A healthy dose of birth fear is fine and normal; it motivates us to put in place what we need to birth. Paralysing, debilitating fear on the other hand is counter productive and it’s those fears that need to be explored safely.⠀
It’s no wonder so many of us carry fear around birth – often from our earliest exposure to it we learn that it’s dangerous, painful and undignified. This basic belief is reinforced over and over again by TV and movies, other women’s traumatic birth stories, the media and a multitude of other influences. There’s very little good stuff going around to balance out the scales, and this is only made worse by the fact that often our very first experience of real birth doesn’t occur until we finally get behind the Secret Walls of the Labour Ward ourselves.⠀
Fear is a funny beast. Where it exists, it will have its way, whether you choose to acknowledge its existence or not. It has a way of sneaking up on you and biting you when you least expect it. Unspoken fear can bleed into every aspect of your birth experience. It can influence your decision making in ways that you’re not even aware of until you start picking those decisions apart after the fact. Whatever it is that frightens you, use the precious time you have in pregnancy to find a way to work through it. Shameless plug – doulas are wonderful at this! A large part of prenatal work with a doula involves identifying and exploring your fears in a safe space, and developing strategies to help you work through them before labour.
Check out an absolutely amazing series of posts over at My Natural Baby Birth with some practical advice on starting this work yourself. And take a look at my Feel the Fear board over on Pinterest for some inspiration as well!