As your due date draws near, you've finally accepted the fact that you are going to have to get this baby out of you! Your research on exactly how to do this is quite overwhelming... friends tell you one thing, family tells you something else, and Google.... well, let's not even go there! There are so many childbirth class options, you literally have NO IDEA what is best for you. You head is spinning with information and options... Husband Coached? Hypno-something? Birthing From Within? Yikes!! It all sounds like a lot. How will you know what to do?
Then you come across something that makes your decision seem pretty simple... The Hospital Class. And as an added bonus, it's FREE!! You decide to take the weekend express class and feel relieved that the decision really isn't as complicated as you initially thought. After all, you'll be giving birth in the very same hospital, women have been giving birth for centuries, so how complex could it possibly be, right? Deep down you are hoping to find the answers to the questions you don't even know you have.
After spending two long days learning about the Stages of Labor, practicing different positions, and understanding all your pain coping options, you are ready for confidence to wash over you. You are ready! Bring it on!! Only, that doesn't quite happen. In fact, you start to feel your heart beat a little bit faster when you think about certain parts of birth. You learned a lot in the hospital class, then why do you still feel so unsure? You tell yourself you should be feeling more confident, not less.
Suddenly your eyes are opened to the all the possibilities of birth, most of which you had no idea about a week ago! You begin to see what can go "wrong", you see how to make things go "right", you're more alert to the joy, the pain and the decisions to be made! Help! You might wish you had started this process sooner so you would have more time to work through some of your questions and feelings. Perhaps panic is starting to set in. What are you going to do?!
Hold on a minute....
If you are feeling like you've just slid down the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland, you aren't alone. Most first-time moms feel the same way. There IS a lot of information to process and work through. And, you've never done this before, remember? It is ALL new to you. So be compassionate with yourself as you navigate these uncharted waters. Nothing in parenthood is as black and white, simple or straight-forward as we thought it would be (or would like it to be!). So, what can you do to cope and move forward when you are in this uncertain and unsure place?
Step One: Notice
Take a moment to just notice what is going on in your body when you think about giving birth now. It is our fist human inclination to want to jump into action and try to fix something that is uncomfortable. But right now just sit with it for a while. You might want to have a pen and some paper handy to jot down anything that might arise for you. Notice what makes you tense. Notice if anything makes your heart beat a little faster. Notice if there is anything you want to avoid thinking about. Make a note of any questions that are coming up right now.
Step Two: Activate Your Resources
Don't be afraid of the worry you might be feeling. Worry is the work of pregnancy, so use it to your advantage to activate your inner and outer resources. Pick one thing off your list above that you want to work on right now. You can come back to others later, but for now let's just focus on one thing at a time.
What is it you really want to know?
What advice have you already received? How did you know it was or wasn't right for you?
What do you want to be different or to change?
How is what is happening right now working for you?... and not working for you?
What more information do you need?
Step Three: Small Steps Forward
Now move forward with one small steps of action. This doesn't have to be a huge step, and you might not feel completely at ease just yet, but identify three small things you can now do to move forward.
Do you need to:
Ask your care provider some questions?
Hire a doula?
Take a different class?
Read a book?
Do more research of your options?
Sit with it some more?
The hospital class is a great resource for information. Now take it one step further and customize it for your individual needs. I'd like to let you in on a little secret: You don't have to Know Everything about giving birth in order to give birth. Use this uncertainty to activate what YOU specifically need to know and move on, one step at a time, from that place.
I offer free 20 minute consultations if you would like to discover some options available to you after you've taken a hospital class. Please feel free to contact me if you live in the Denver/Castle Rock area.
"Don't worry about it....your body knows what to do."
"Don't worry...women have been giving birth for centuries."
"Don't worry...a healthy mom and healthy baby are what's important."
I'm sure at some point in your pregnancy you have had someone say this to you. Perhaps a well-meaning friend or a concerned family member says this as a way to encourage you. And sometimes it works. Other times... not so much.
In your heart you know these statements to be true. Maybe you even repeat them silently to yourself like a mantra with the hope of quelling some of your fears. And yet, you are still worried. You may even find yourself worried about being worried!
Some people believe that exploring your worries or fears may make them more likely to happen. We are conditioned only to "think positively" in the hopes that this will help us avoid some un-wished-for event. The reality, however, is that by avoiding fears, you avoid the hard work that needs to be done to prepare for your baby. A sense of ambivalence and immobilization occur. You can no longer envision yourself coping and moving through this event.
TEN COMMON PREGNANCY WORRIES
But it doesn't have to be that way. Worrying can be used to prepare you for the birth you envision.
Worry IS the work of pregnancy!
By learning to WORRY EFFECTIVELY, you can shift from feelings of avoidance, fearful images, and doubts about your coping skills, to images of using the resources around you to move through your labor and anything that comes your way.
If you are feeling uneasy or worried about your upcoming birth, I would love to work with you! In a quiet, safe environment, I will gently guide you to look at your worries and fears. You will discover how to use worrying to your advantage, instead of letting it control your emotions.
Read an excerpt about worrying in pregnancy from the NEW Birthing from Within: An Ancient Map for Modern Birth due later this year