Afraid of Birth? Combat the Fear-Pain Cycle

Okay, let’s keep it real. Most young women I talk to are afraid of childbirth.
But we don’t have to be afraid! And actually, it is better if we are not afraid. 
 Let’s change fear of birth into empowered birth with knowledge and support. 

The Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle

We’re afraid of pain.
We’re afraid of a baby coming out of our vagina.
We are afraid of needles, and IVs, and hospitals.
We are afraid of complications.
We are afraid of all the stories that we’ve heard from our friends or family members or grandmas.
We fear everything we don’t know or think we know about birth.
We’re afraid of the whole birth process.
When we enter birth with fear, it leads to tensions in the body and mind in labor. That tension leads to more pain in childbirth. When we have more pain, then we have more fear.
If we get into this fear-tension-pain cycle during childbirth, it causes a negative mind-set or even traumatic experience. 

The Knowledge-Relaxation-Comfort Cycle

But you can combat this fear mindset! You fight it using a cycle that starts with knowledge.
When you combat your fear with knowledge, you are able to start labor with peace and relaxation. You are able to approach the pain of childbirth with ways you have learned to cope and relax your body.
The peace of mind and relaxation practices bring comfort, so that pain won’t overcome you.
 
You will still have pain in childbirth. At least most women will. 
But, with the knowledge bringing peace and relaxation, the pain won’t overcome your ability to cope and persevere to the end of the birth with a positive mindset!

Ask Questions & Utilize Extra Support

If you start to lose your ability to cope mid-labor and the fear-pain cycle starts overcoming you, then this is when you can use questions and support people (husband, doula, friend, etc) to bring you back to a place of knowledge and relaxation.
Then you will know what’s going on, have a goal to move toward, be affirmed, or reminded of what you can do to relax and find comfort, and get on top of the contractions again!

How to get Knowledge & Extra Support

Here’s a few practical ways that I would encourage you to get this knowledge and support:
1 >> Read the book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. This is the best book of stories that normalizes labor and birth and teaches you ways to be confident, cope, relax, and endure through birth.
2 >> Read parts or all of the book Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin et al.  It has all kinds of awesome information in it to help you understand the birth process and not be afraid of it. Also it gives beneficial information for pregnancy and postpartum with new baby.
3 >> Take a Childbirth Education Class!!  I highly encourage you to take a childbirth education course. There are usually classes offered at the local hospitals, birth centers, and even private educators you can find like myself.
Yema Mamas offers private childbirth education for couples in their home or online.

LEARN BIRTH BASICS & COMFORT MEASURES! It is sooooo worth it…

Gaining some knowledge by educating yourself on birth is the #1 best place to start when you’re afraid of childbirth! Birth is new to you. Or maybe you did it before, but didn’t know anything and were not able to cope or advocate for yourself. So learn now!
Learn what to expect, know what you’re getting into, what your options are, and how to help yourself through it with relaxation techniques and get your support team ready to provide comfort measures.
If you learn about birth, you are going to be able to enter labor with peace and a lot more skills to be able to manage with normal childbirth and normal pain that is not supposed to be traumatic.
It doesn’t have to be traumatic! In fact, it should not be traumatic. It should be the most challenging and empowering awesome thing you have ever done in your life.
You can change fear of birth into empowered birth with knowledge and support.