Fear is an emotion that all humans share and experience at some time in their lives.
Fear in relation to childbirth, especially for first time mothers, often stems from doubt and a lack of confidence, “Can I do this?”
In our society today, there can be an overwhelming amount of fear permeated through birth “horror stories.” We are exposed to these on TV when the female character goes into labor and is struck by sudden and intense pain, in real life labor usually has a more gradual beginning. Sometimes total strangers seem to think that they have the right to approach pregnant women that they see in public places to tell them about the terrible thing that happened to someone they know.
it is a good idea to be prepared that this may happen and to have something to say to get yourself away when someone starts to tell you a birth horror story. You might try, “Oh, didn’t you know, you are only supposed to tell pregnant women good stories when they are pregnant!” And then walk away.
Our society has developed a dependency on the model put forth by Western medicine, where all levels of medical intervention, from electronic monitoring to drugs to stimulate labor and relieve pain, have become the norm. There can be minimal cultural support for the experience of normal, natural childbirth.
An essential aspect of overcoming fear is building trust.
- Trust in yourself and your ability to give birth successfully, believing in your body.
- Trust in your care provider, allowing you to let go and follow their guidance. An important element of this is to choose a care provider that believes in you and does not employ fear as an tool of power, control, and authority.
- Trust that your care provider is monitoring the health and safety of you and your baby, making the hard decisions about when medical intervention is necessary.
- Trust your intuition, and allow it to help you navigate the journey.
Steps You Can Take to Overcome Fear
- Fill your mind with positive stories. Talk to friends who have had positive birth experiences. Read books, watch videos or listen to audio interviews of women describing their positive birth experience.
- Take care of yourself. Confidence comes from knowing you are prepared physically, taking care of your health and therefore the baby’s health.
- Utilize positive affirmations. Set an intention and give it strength by focusing your attention through the power of mental exercises which utilize the body/mind connection.
An interview with Deborah Flowers, speaking about the effect of cultural confidence
and the power of belief in overcoming fear.