I was reviewing my notes from a birth that happened last year. I had forgotten something and I’ve been thinking about it all day.
I had been with the couple in their home for 7 hours. We were getting close to the “go to the hospital” decision. The mom was getting restless. My notes say she was prowling the house, experiencing some nausea. She was feeling a bit of pushy pressure at the peaks of her waves.
Suddenly she sat down and blurted out, “Let’s make a list of all the things I’m afraid of.”
She said it like you might say at a slumber party, “Let’s make a list of the cutest boys in school.”
We sat with her and she dictated her fears:
- The car ride
- Hospital people
- Owning a child
- Being tired
It was easy for me to forget this part of her birth. We only spent 10 minutes talking through her fears. They weren’t paralyzing fears.
Or were they? And if they were, was naming them all that was needed? Could it have been that simple?
Seems like it.
She was satisfied to move on after naming her fears to us, taking the brave step of putting them on paper, and hearing our acknowledgement of them.
We left for the hospital 45 minutes later.
She never mentioned fear again during her birth although she did ask for a pep talk once in that same “slumber party” tone.
Undoubtedly, fear impacts birth. There are several studies that correlate the mom’s level of fear with outcomes.
In some cases, the presence of someone else who is afraid can affect the labor.
Birth is a process driven by hormones. Fear should remain a wallflower in this delicate dance.
What are some ways you worked through your fears before or during labor? If you’re a birth worker, what works for your clients/students?
And I really want to hear from some of you! My stats counter tells me I’ve got readers. Share your wisdom, if you please.