If you’re pregnant I’m sure you’ve heard your fair share of them. Women seem to have a need to share the most horrifying aspects of their births; 72 hour active labors (not possible) and gigantic 15 lb. babies (it only feels that way). As if, the worst of the bunch wins the biggest badge of honor. This doesn’t diminish what women who have traumatic births go through, but sharing those details with a pregnant mama only instills fear. And that fear makes for a more difficult birth and the need for medical interventions and procedures.
Many of these stories come from family and friends who don’t understand the effect they have on your birth.
My mother passed on a fear of watching the baby being born. She suffered from Postpartum Psychosis, which she swore was caused by watching my birth in a mirror. She said a funny sensation came over her as I was crowning, or first saw my head. Now I realize what she probably felt was a bit of shock at seeing herself stretched to kingdom come. This was in 1959 before prenatal classes and videos of women in all their glory, giving birth. Needless to say…I didn’t look. I was terrified of the mirror and insisted it not be anywhere I might get a glimpse of what was happening.
And what about the media? The way TV and movies portray birth and the amount of stress and fear they cause, it’s a wonder any of us choose to reproduce!
So what’s a girl to do?
Find a prenatal class that focuses on what goes right with birth, rather than what might go wrong. I was more afraid after my first class than when I went in. I remember thinking, “Holy shit, what have I gotten myself into?” The fact was, getting this baby out was not going to be as much as getting it in. I worried about that for the rest of my pregnancy because, according to the instructor, the only way of dealing with the pain was an epidural. I was a nurse and the thought of that needle in my back, was NOT comforting.
Surround yourself with women who have positive things to say about birth. If someone starts to tell you their horror story say, “SHHH…my baby can hear you.” Walk away if you have to.
I am surrounded daily by stories of positive and empowered births. They DO exist. In the world of HypnoBirthing, they are quite common. I suggest reading HypnoBirthing-The Mongan Method and searching YouTube for HypnoBirthing videos. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. It’s probably the first time you will see a birth completely opposite of what you might be expecting. Remember the more you can eliminate the fear surrounding your birth, the more relaxed you will be and the easier your birth will be.
Happy stories lead to Happy births!
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