Overcoming Birth Fears

Even if Max is my last baby, which I doubt/hope/pray he isn’t, I think I’ll always write about pregnancy and birth. Looking back over my accomplishments as a person, nothing stands out more than my experiences carrying and birthing my little ones. I am proud and not ashamed to say it. Not one bit. Well actually, maybe I’m more in awe. To think that the Lord created such a unique and perfect model for recreation and then gave women the power to see it through. That’s just plain awesome sauce.
My reflections are usually quite positive when looking back over my birth experiences. But there was a time when I was more encompassed by fear. After Jemma’s birth I felt like I lost control. I had studied everything, done everything right and still, things didn’t go quite how I had planned. Can I get an “amen” from all my Type A ladies out there? This lack of control manifested in fear early in my pregnancy with Max. I was so scared that things wouldn’t go as planned again. 
After Jemma was born I quickly transitioned from focusing on pregnancy to focusing on her, my precious girl. I pushed memories of my labor aside and basked in the sweet smell of my baby. I focused on breastfeeding and taking advantage of ever moment of my maternity leave. I mentally and emotionally chose not to process my feelings about her birth. It was too hard and with little sleep and worry over returning to work it was more than I could handle. 
So, when faced with pregnancy for the second time just 16 months later, all those stuffed emotions came billowing up. In the early weeks of my pregnancy with Max I reprocessed Jemma’s birth – I felt all the things I wouldn’t let myself feel before. I had to. In order to move forward, I had to move back. And sadly, after all my thinking with me, myself and I, I was left feeling less-than. What if I would have pushed harder at the birth center? What if I would have walked more stairs? Or been able to relax better? Or, or, or? 
And now I was supposed to do it all again? Not knowing how things would turn out?
Yeah. Fear. It was ruling me.
With much prayer and processing and letting go – I moved on. I rewrote Jemma’s birth how I wanted to remember it. How I wanted her to hear it. I talked about her birth with my midwife for over an hour. We reviewed my chart – all 40 hours of water breaking to Jemma’s first breathe. I filled in all the gaps that had left me with questions. She affirmed everything I tried and all the steps we attempted. She told me it was ok. She told me I was still powerful and able and strong. Transferring doesn’t make you weak. Epidurals don’t determine your strength. I let go of what happened before, closed that chapter, embraced my beautiful and healthy toddler and prepared to move on to a new experience.
Once I truly processed the before, I was able to fully live in the now while preparing for the future. I visualized how I wanted my next birth, but didn’t set it in stone. I prepared myself in a new way with my second pregnancy. I had a grasp on the basics of pregnancy and birth so this time I poured my energy into my physical and emotional wellness. I ate foods that made my baby and I strong, I taught myself how to meditate, I built a support system who believed in me and believed in the process of birth in its’ raw state without the bells and whistles and lights and hoopla.
Most of all, I trusted the Lord. He had delivered me from my fear. He had led me into a new place – a positive perspective where my hopes and preparation only played a small part in the outcome. I let go and let God and let my body do the rest. And apparently, it worked. Max arrived swiftly and unexpectedly at home. Not what anyone had planned, but perfect in every way.
Overcoming birth fear isn’t easy whether it’s your first or second or … whatever the number, you have to be intentional. You have to seek support. You have to really invest in it. Almost like you’re taking a class and earning that A is truly essential to your well-being. It takes time and energy and tears. It’s hard work, but as they say, anything worth doing, is worth the work it takes to get there.

Will I have fear with baby number three? I’m sure I will. I mean, hello, Max was over 10 pounds so first on my list is how I’ll manage if I birth another double digit squish. But, now I know how to work through it. Overcoming fear is a lesson I’ve been able to apply in many scenarios outside of birth. Three cheers for transferable skills!

So, as I sign off, I’ll briefly recap …

  • Process the event – And with this, take as much time as you need. You may want to journal, ask questions, seek counsel or talk to other parties involved. Fully explore everything so there are no questions, worries or fears left unspoken.
  • Focus on positive thinking – This takes lots of practice and accountability, but it’s totally worth it.
  • Find your spiritual ground – For me it’s Jesus, I want Him to be it for you too, but if it’s not, find your center, whatever gives you your foundation and hold tight to that.
  • Prepare – There are rarely emergencies for those who are prepared so educate yourself, seriously, that is my biggest advice to everyone. Just because one expert says something doesn’t mean it’s law – get second opinions, read both sides of the argument, find what works best for you and your family.
  • Let go – Control is a bear, I sure hope I’m not the only one who deals with it. In the case of birth, it’s all about letting go. Your body knows what to do and since you’re prepared, you have a team of experts surrounding you in case a surprise pops up. So just let go, own the process and work with your body as you experience the greatest albeit most painful moment of your life :)
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  1. Miranda says

    Wow , this is exactly what I needed to hear !!!! I'm 7 months pregnant with my first baby and very much like to be in control . I've been trying to fight my anxiety and fears that everything might not go the way I plan during my daughters birth. You are so right about letting go and trusting Jesus. He helped me get through crippling depression and heal from a miscarriage last year. Thank you for your words of encouragement !

    • says

      I'm so glad it gave you a boost! You'll do wonderful – birth is such a rewarding experience and always worth the hard work. Keep up the positive perspective! xoxo

  2. Vanessa says

    Beautiful, thankyou!

  3. says

    Thanks for the post. After reading this post, I gain some knowledge and gathered some information’s. This article is realy very important very informative article. Thank you again. Keep posting. I am waiting for your new post.

  4. says

    This post is very amazing. Before read this article, i didn’t idea about overcoming-birth-fears. Now i understood. When i would be pregnant follow this information. Thank so much for share this article.

  5. janie vezina says

    wonderfully written, thank you for sharing.


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