Read, Listen & Watch How To Overcome A Fear Of Childbirth
This post is an opportunity for you to discuss and acknowledge any fears around childbirth you may have, and take the 5 step process in order for you to overcome them.
I work with ladies just like you and help them overcome their fears, phobias, stresses and anxieties allowing them to STOP being held back and move forward to be the best version of themselves when they meet their baby.
Here's what we'll cover:
- Are you afraid of birth?
- Name your fears, what are you afraid of?
- What is the root of the fear?
- Fear busting! What is a fear?
- What holding on to a fear of birth does.
- How to overcome a fear of birth?
- Sharing Positive Birth stories
Join us in the Facebook group and/or Post in the comments your thoughts and fear around childbirth and we will help you overcome any fears you may be holding on too.
Watch the Video Here
Listen To The Audio Here
Read The Transcript Here (ers, ums and everything :o))
Sarah: Hello. It's Sarah here from Positively Blooming. I just want to give you a great big warm welcome to all the new members of the group. It's lovely to have you here, so thank you very much for joining us. I'm absolutely thrilled. Just want to introduce myself. Like I just said, my name's Sarah, and I help people overcome their fears and anxieties, allowing them to stop being held back in life and to move forward and be the best version of themselves that they can be.
My particular interest is in pregnancy, birth, and motherhood because that's where my journey began. I use a combination of hypnotherapy, applied positive psychology, and researched methods that have been proven time and time again, so science, if you like, and to help people move forward. Without further ado, we will continue with today's topic. That is a fear of childbirth.
A fear is a pretty big word, isn't it? It's quite, quite, a big, big word, and you think of fear, you think of something that's really going to hold you back and stop you. Actually, it's quite important to realise that fear can be on a spectrum. It starts off with little niggles, little tiny niggles there, little worries, little things that bother you, and it goes across that spectrum into full-blown panic and full-blown anxiety. When you experience that full-blown panic and anxiety, you get the symptoms, don't you? And those symptoms can be anything from heart palpitations, sweaty palms, feeling sick, feeling nauseous, feeling like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Feeling like you just need to fight and fly off and get the hell out of there and disappear.
The feelings and the symptoms of fear are real time and they again, cover a whole broad spectrum of things. So, let's have a look then. What might be a fear for you with childbirth? And so, quite a few of the common ones when I've worked with people in the past are things like, what if I don't get to the hospital in time? Starts out as a tiny little niggle, that tiny little niggle gets bigger and bigger the closer you get to your due date, and the more you think about, the more you start to worry, the more those symptoms come in your body, the bigger and the more real that worry seems to be.
Another one might be what if my partner doesn't get to the hospital in time? What if they don't get back in time for work? What if I really need them and they're not there to support me? I don't want to do this on my own. That might be another worry that you have that gets bigger as you go through your pregnancy towards your due date.
What else there might be? How will I know when labour starts? Quite a real one for me because my first birth was an induction, so when I had my second child, I always thought that I wouldn't know what labour would be like when it started because it hadn't been real before. That was always a worry for me. How will I know when labor's actually started and what's the difference between warm ups and actually being in labour?
How painful is this going to be? That's another worry. That's a really common one. Will I be able to cope with the pain? Again, pain and discomfort is something that's again is on a scale, isn't it? And the more you brood, and the more you worry about pain, the bigger it gets. The more tense you get.
Let me give you an example of that. If you, or if I stub my toe on the door or the chair or the cupboard or something like that, and I've got bare feet. I've got pain, and that pain sends a signal to my brain and my brain says, "Oh, it's just going to check that toe out and make sure that it's all right," okay? Now if I'm at home with the children and they're wanting and needing things, those pain goes away quite quickly, because I don't focus on it.
However, if my husband's home, that pain gets quite bigger and then I have to sit down. "Oh, no, I need to sit down." And I say, "Rich, can you make me a cup of tea? It'll wear off in a minute." And that pain gets bigger. Pain is a signal to your mind to tell you that there's a problem. There's something wrong. When you focus on it, it gets even more painful, you get even more discomfort. When you're worried about that, you create even more tension in your body, which again exaggerates that pain and discomfort you feel.
How painful will it be? You can learn to manage that and I'm not saying that you're not going to feel any pain whatsoever, but I can certainly tell you that there are ways in which you can learn how to manage that and recognise what might be causing that pain and how it might be making it worse.
Another one, another big one. What if I tear? I'm really frightened. I've heard stories from friends and relatives about tearing and I really don't want to tear. I don't want to experience that. Again, you know, you're thinking about that now, worrying about that now, and it's not happening. But that worry and that fear of that potential of tearing causes that stress and anxiety in your body again, doesn't it? And that is real time. And then that feeds back, it's like a feedback mechanism. I need to worry about this. I feel the tension in my body. I need to worry about this. And they feed off of each other until they get bigger.
What if I have to stay in hospital? I don't like hospitals. I don't want to stay there. I don't want to stay there without my partner. What if I've got other children at home? I don't want to leave them. Will my other child feel they're being pushed out when the new baby comes? It's all of these little thoughts, all of these little niggles that we can turn into great big fears.
How will I cope? How will I cope at home with two babies, is another one, isn't it? If you're just about to have your second child then that can be a big thing, too, okay. The thing to do is to recognise what is your fear? What is your fear? What are you worried about? How big is that fear on a scale of one to 100, where will you plot that on that scale?
If it's at 10, 20, 30, you're probably not paying too much attention to it, but as it gets closer to your due date or if it's a bigger fear that you've got, a bigger anxiety that you've got, it might be up there with the 60, 70, 80s, only to get bigger.
Really start to think about your fears and think about them and work out what they are. Work out what it is that's bothering you and then think about where it comes from, because most of our fears of childbirth come from society. They come from history. They come from friends, well-meaning friends and their birth stories they tell you. Colleagues at work, you know, the lady at the other end of the office who had her baby last week. Ooh, yeah - PULLS UNCOMFORTABLE FACE - That's going to starting making you have a fear, isn't it, of childbirth?
People on the street. When you've got your bump and your bump shows, everybody wants to put their hands on it, don't they? Touch your bump. "Oh, yeah, don't worry love, worth it in the end," and all those kind of comments that you get. It's no wonder then, is it, that we start to build up this fear and it comes from all over the place. It might comes from casualty, one born every minute. Magazines, newspapers, I saw my cousin, I mean my niece flicking through a magazine sometime ago now, might have been Glamour or something like that, and it was 20 Things You Need to Know about Childbirth. And as I scanned through them, I'm like ... NO you don't need to know about this, and it's not true for half the women.
It's like a load of utter rubbish, but she was reading that and picking that information up and then it starts to become like a belief system for you, doesn't it? Sorry, you can probably hear my little doggy barking in the background there.
Work out what your fear is and think about where it came from, because it's good to acknowledge. And I think the important thing is to recognise that sometimes these stories and things you hear, they're not yours. They belong to somebody else. Your baby's birth story hasn't been written yet and even if, even if this is your second birth and you're bringing your story from your first birth over to your second birth, then it's really important for you to recognise that no two births are the same. No two births are the same. They can't possibly be.
If you scroll back through the feed, you'll see my video about why two births can't be the same. Why you can't compare one experience or one person to another and that hopefully will help you make a bit more sense of that when I say that.
When you've got a fear, when you acknowledge a fear in your mind, it kind of gets bigger. It grows. And what happens is your conscious mind starts to look for evidence to support that fear in the back of your mind, so let me give you an example of ... If you fancy getting a new a car, and I don't know, maybe it's this particular red model that you're after. I can't think of any cars off the top of my head at the moment, but you think, "Yeah, I really want that." Okay, let's call it a red mini. "I want a little red mini."
Then all of a sudden, when you're out and about in the street, you just see these red minis, they're blooming everywhere. Because you're looking for evidence to support your belief that you want a red mini. Does that make sense? The first time that you find out that you're pregnant and the blue lines come up on the pregnancy test. You've not really told anyone, you're still making sense of it in your own head.
But all of a sudden, there are babies and bumps everywhere. Newborn babies and bumps, they're everywhere. And you just keep noticing them, don't you? Seeing them everywhere. And it's because it's something that's on your mind and what happens is your mind goes out purposefully looking for evidence to support this new thought, this new belief that you're holding onto. It's really important to recognise that. If you've got a worry about childbirth, your mind will go through its back catalogue of experiences, events, thoughts, things it's seen, things it's heard, things it's read, and it will look for the evidence to support you and tell you that childbirth is something to be feared of.
That's just how our minds work. It's really important, then, for you to recognise that what you think expands. You need to acknowledge that and then realise that actually, we kind of create and maintain our fears unwittingly.
Put quite simply, a fear is a thought that you just keep on thinking. And you keep thinking it. And you keep finding evidence to support it. So unwittingly, nobody does this to themselves on purpose, you are unwittingly creating and maintaining that fear because you can feel it real time in your body, it feeds back as well and makes it even bigger.
Really, really interesting. I'm absolutely fascinated by the workings of the mind, but that's just like a really brief explanation for you of what goes on, what happens, how we feed our fears.
Okay, so what might be the symptoms then of a fear? We feel tension, don't you? Tension in your body. You feel like your jaw might get locked. You might start grinding your teeth in your sleep. You might get tired, have a lack of motivation. Lack of energy. Start feeling a bit sick and a bit anxious. You might be just waiting for things to go wrong all the time. You ever have that feeling, that cloud, "Something's sure to go wrong. Never goes right for me. Gotta be really lucky," that kind of feeling that you carry around with you. You lose perspective don't you? Lose perspective quite quickly on your thoughts.
You can become a bit short-tempered. Your reasoning skills could go out the window. I know that if I'm plagued with worries, fears, and anxieties, then I can get a little bit short-tempered in the morning because I'm feeling quite stressed and anxious. That's all quite perfectly normal stuff, but you don't want it while you're pregnant, do you? You don't want to be carrying around with you while you're pregnant, and you certainly don't want to be carrying all of that into childbirth either, okay? Because it's the complete opposite of what your body and your baby want and need from you when you're going into childbirth.
So it's really good to acknowledge these fears and just get rid of them, get rid of them before you go into birth. So how? How can you? Let me leave with you with a couple of nuggets, some really useful things, that you can just go off and do now yourself to help you overcome your fears.
Number one, then. Acknowledge your fears. I call it a brain dump. Get a piece of paper. Get a pen. Write it all down. Just let it all pour out. Put it down on paper and that will help you to see clearly what it is that is going on in your mind, so it's not all fogged up. Once you've done that, some of the things you can just tick off, can't you, and say, "Well, actually. That's just silly nonsense. That I can sort out. This is that," and you can manage some of those things. But some of then take a little bit more work don't they?
So, number two then, once you've got your list, once you've done your brain dump, ask yourself: where has this come from? Is it somebody else's experience that I'm carrying around with me? If it is, just lose it straight away. You've recognised the fact that yes, it's happened to them, but it hasn't happened to me, and it certainly hasn't happened yet. So you can stop worrying about that for a start.
If it's your experience, again, like I said to you earlier, you just need to recognise the fact that it's not this experience. Yes, it's a past one, it's a previous one, and that is gone. It's gone. It's highly unlikely that it will be repeated, and even if you have similarities with this birth, it's not going to be the same. I can promise you and guarantee you that and I can show you the evidence to prove it that it's not going to be the same. It can't possibly be. So reassure yourself of that.
Recognise, yeah, that no births are the same. I want you to get perspective. Get perspective of that stuff that's on that list. If you're worried about where baby's going to sleep 'cause the nursery's not done yet, chat to your partner. Chat to your friends. Chat to your family. Let's see if we can get that done, okay, and really in the grand scheme of things, if the nursery isn't perfect, it won't matter, because baby's likely to be in with you for a few weeks anyway. In an ideal world, yes, but it's certainly nothing for you to be stressing over. Get perspective on some of these things.
And if you can't work it out yourself, if you can't work it out with your friends and family, put it in the group and I'll certainly do a video for you and help you work your way through that particular fear or anxiety or worry or stress that you're carrying with you and your birth. I'm more than happy to do that. Pop it in the comments. And we'll work through it. That's no problem at all.
You can even go to my website, http://www.PositivelyBlooming.com, click on the contact page, and you can book a 30 minute complimentary call with me if you want as well. If you don't want to go public in the group, that's absolutely fine, just booking the call, and we'll use that 30 minutes to go over that fear with you. It's really not a problem.
Number one, number two, now we're on to number three, then. Submerse yourself in positive birth stories. Like I said to you, your mind looks for all of those things to support that thought, like we're looking for the red car. We're seeing these babies everywhere. We're supporting that thought that's in our head. If you've got a fear, you're going to be looking and supporting for all those things that are gonna support that fear. So really, really important then, you want to take that fear away and we want to rebuild a new belief system, so we want positive birth stories. That's what we're looking for. I am gonna have a calm, comfortable positive birth experience and let's start looking for things to back this up. Let's look for that evidence.
If you're going to look for that evidence, a really good place to start is here in this group, because there's a lot of other mums here that have had positive birth experiences. Just type in a chat box, "Hi there, can anybody share a positive birth story with me?" And I'm sure that they would be more than happy to share their birth stories with you. I've got positive birth stories all over my website as well from clients, of birth, whether they've had C-sections, whether they've been planned, whether there have been emergency ones. Whether they've had home births, whether they've had hospital births. First births, second births. Induction births. All kind of births. There's lots of positive birth stories around and we can help you find them, not a problem. That's another thing that I would recommend for you to do and of course then, the next thing.
We are on number four, I think we are. Focus on all of the things that you can control. We mentioned earlier, didn't we, about worrying, quite a common worry of my clients is what if my husband or partner doesn't get back in time to support me? Focus on the things that you can do. Focus on the things that you can strengthen within you, your emotional resources so that if they are a bit late, you're alright, you're gonna be fine, okay? And start to recognise that. Focus on all the little things that you can control. You can control your emotions. You can control your thoughts. Doesn't always feel like it, but you can. We can give you guidance on how to do that, where you can control your breathing and controlling your breathing has a massive impact on your body. It stops you from feeling out of control.
You can go to my website again and download a free Breathing for Birth ebook which will help you get started with that. So, focus on all the things that you can do for yourself rather than fearing all of those things that may or may not happen that haven't actually happened yet.
And then, my last one is just go and sign up for my freebies. There's the Breathing for Birth book. There's a lovely relaxation. There's a short video explaining to you how hypno-birthing works as well, if you're interested. So go get yourself some freebies and make use of those resources and of course, have a chat in the group about positive births. Everyone will be more than willing to help you, I know.
Okay, so that's probably about it for today on our topic, fear of childbirth. I really hope you found that chat interesting and helpful. If you want to watch this back later and leave any comment in the section below, then please feel free to do so. I will check back in later on today and have a look and answer any of your questions and queries. You're more than welcome to personally message me, direct message me, as well, if you want to. All right? So thank you very very much. If you want to get in touch, you can, my website is http://www.PositivelyBlooming.com. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can message me directly. There's loads of freebies out there, so and get it. There's loads of really lovely, supportive people in this group as well, so if you want some positive birth stories, just ask and we shall find. All right? Until then. Until next time. Have a great day. Bye bye.