Dealing with Fear


In my doula training we discussed how we should re-name negative terms to make them sound more positive.  This is apparently catching on (see here). One example would be to replace the term “contractions” with “pressure waves” or “rushes”.  The one term replacement that stands out most to me is this one: Instead of “fears”, call them “wonderings”.

Pregnant women have quite a few “wonderings” to deal with, especially as they approach their birthing time.  One of my favorite books on childbirth, Birthing From Within, shares a great way to deal with fears, worries, and other wonderings.  It’s called Effective Worrying.

Whenever you feel yourself dwelling on a fear or worry, answer the following questions:

  1. What would you do if this fear/worry actually happened?
  2. What would your partner do or say?
  3. What would this mean about you as a mother?
  4. How have you faced crisis in the past?
  5. What can you do to prepare for, or prevent what you are worrying about from happening?
  6. If it does happen, how would you handle the situation?

For example, you may be afraid of needing a Cesarean section in labor.  First recognize that if you have a C-section, it does not mean that you have failed at childbirth! It is a wonderful option to have in case of an emergency.  It may helps to look up ways to prevent a Cesarean Birth.

If you are afraid of the pushing phase, check out tips for the second stage of labor (pushing)!  Afraid of tearing? Read about it.  Research perineal massage, or things your care provider can do to help as your baby is crowning.  You may realize that many of the terrible stories you hear are exceptional cases.

One of my biggest fears came true last week.  I was actually 8 weeks pregnant and miscarried.  What helped me get through was knowing so many women who have had miscarriages and gone on to have plenty of healthy babies afterwards!  It also provides me comfort knowing that there is nothing I did to cause that miscarriage.  Because I had thought about this fear beforehand, I feel like I’m much better able to deal with it now!  I will share more feelings about pregnancy loss in another post.  (Speaking of renaming negative pregnancy terms… does anyone have another word for miscarriage?)

Regardless of what your fears/worries/wonderings are, make sure you address them! Bring them up with your care provider, doula, and birth partner.  That’s the only way to make those fears go away.


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