Would you describe yourself as fearless or more fearful when it comes to birth?
When people talk about their birth do you want to put your hands over your ears and say la la la really LOUD so you can’t hear them?
Are you shit scared about what might happen or that you won’t be able to cope with it all?
I’m guessing if you’re here reading this, then there’s the slightest part of you that feels a bit afraid or anxious about the birth looming.
I totally get it, I was a first-time mum who was terrified about birth but I didn’t want to feel like that!
I wanted to be fearless, but all I had ever heard, seen or read about birth was scary to me. It looked really bloody painful and I couldn’t even get through a bikini wax without crying my eyes out ( no chance I could cope with the ‘agony’ of childbirth then)
Does this sound familiar?
I hear you loud and clear but trust me when I say there is another way; I went from googling ‘how much is a private elective c section’ to researching into homebirth in 4 short weeks…want to know how I did it?
Here are my top tips for a fearless birth.
Call out the fear
You might be like I was when I was pregnant, Before becoming pregnant I had absolutely no problem saying that I HATED the idea of giving birth. This changed into a very thinly veiled denial.
Do you find yourself saying things like this….
‘’Women have been doing this for thousands of years so I’m sure I will be fine’’
‘’ baby has to come out one way or another’’’
“Look at my childbearing hips’ that baby is gonna slide right out”
If you are saying things like this but not FEELING them then this is denial.
It’s OK to be afraid, this is a major life-changing event and probably the most important day of your life! The first time I admitted that I was totally shitting it was in my first Hypnobirthing class and it felt GREAT. Admitting it to yourself is the first step in releasing the fear.
Call in the support
Repeat after me, you do not have to do this alone!
Think about what support you can already tap into and who/what else you might need
It also might be worth researching into hiring a birth doula who can support you during pregnancy and birth. A Doula gives you continuity of care on the big day and actually increases your chances of a positive birth outcome (check out the doula effect for some interesting stats!)
And of course, check out a Hypnobirthing course! I remember how good it felt after that first session and knowing that we had someone to support us on our journey. After the 4 weeks, I was actually looking forward to the birth!
Tokophobia is a pathological fear of childbirth. While it’s totally normal to be anxious about childbirth, tokophobia can be debilitating and can impact on your choices during pregnancy and birth. The good news is that this is a recognised condition and there is help available to you if you seek it out
If you feel like this is the case for you, then I recommend discussing your anxieties with your midwife who can assess the level of your fear and perhaps refer you for specialist treatment.
Fear stops us in our tracks and makes us bury our head in the sand. I recall feeling really connected to my body and pregnancy but totally detached from birth. I couldn’t think about it or get to the birth bits in my pregnancy books. Classic ostrich syndrome.
Make the call now to step into your POWER
Start asking questions, be it in your midwife appointment or antenatal classes, research your rights in childbirth and seek out evidence-based resources, this is the key to make a truly informed and empowered decision about your care.
I remember when I found out how many choices were open to me when it came to birth, now THAT was a gamechanger. Knowing that ultimately I had to consent to some of the things I was worried about was such a relief.
Good vibes only
Have you EVER heard birth talked about in a positive way? Many of the clients I meet on a day to day basis have only heard horror stories. If that’s the case for you well I am not surprised that you are bricking it!
Surround yourself with positivity. Watch birth videos, Listen to podcasts about birth, play with affirmations. BE A SPONGE and soak it all up.
The first place I would start would be to read the Positive birth book by Milli Hill for positive birth stories with all sorts of circumstances and outcomes.
I recall the first time we watched a birth in our Hypnobirthing class and eye-opening. It made me realise that there was another side to that coin. The more soaked up the more I realised that birth CAN be a positive and dare I say enjoyable experience.
5. Talk about your what if’s
I think it’s fair to say that the hypnobirthing of the olden days was very focused on how to get a natural uncomplicated birth which led to disappointment if that wasn’t the case.
Thankfully things have moved on and evolved and we how have hypnobirthing 2.0
Certainly, in the case of the calm birth school hypnobirthing (my girl gang), we encourage you to give some headspace to some of the more common ‘what if’ questions like
Once you feel more confident then you can pop the lid back on the box and focus on the birth that you desire. After all, the brain responds better to positive reinforcement so spend more time thinking about the birth that you want (rather than the one you don’t)
I think this has to be one of the most powerful exercises you can do to help you feel more fearless in the run-up to birth. By asking those questions and learning what might happen in these scenarios, it helps you and your partner to feel more prepared and ready to face different birth outcomes if things don’t go 100% to plan
After all, this, if you still have a wobble then it’s totally normal! Fearless is a journey, not a destination. Seek a supportive community who will listen without judgment and offer support and encouragement – You got this!
Are you ready to take the next step for a fearless birth?
I am a Hypnobirthing teacher who specializes in helping first-time parents release their fears, get informed and feel empowered about giving birth.
Does this sound like something that you might be interested in? My courses are available in person in London AND globally via Zoom or skype
Click HERE to book a free 15-minute discovery call and find out more about how Hypnobirthing can help you prepare for the birth you want, rather than the one you are dreading!
I hope this blog was useful.