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Tackling my fear

September 27, 2010

After several months of  reading all my pregnancy/baby books and with my antenatal classes ending over a month ago, my focus has now been on (insert drum roll)…LABOUR (shiver).

Now, like most women, I’m absolutely petrified at the thought of giving birth and I haven’t felt that my classes or my reading have really given me that much confidence about this process. It doesn’t help when most of my friends have ‘horror’ stories and the rest just look at me in like it’s some unspeakable horror.

I found out I was pregnant at 7 weeks gestation and my sonographer and GP advised me to contact an obstetrician straight away (as most are booked out pretty quickly). After 5 hours on the phone, I finally found one and didn’t really look at other options after as I assumed my private health cover was the ‘best choice’. My mother recommended private health and so did DH and most of my friends. I mean you are paying a lot of money and private obstetrecians are obviously in demand, so I will be getting the ‘best care’ possible right?

I didn’t know what to expect from labour except that it will be intensely painful and I decided that I was going to take anything possible to eliminate the pain – similar to the experience to taking a general anaesthetic when I got my wisdom teeth out at the hospital. I mean there is not really any other choice right? Plus, I don’t get a medal to reward me on how I gave birth…the ultimate reward is the baby!

However, am I making a informed and thoroughly researched choice for childbirth or is this simply fear which has led to my decision?

So along came second trimester when I started pregnancy yoga and met other women who have decided to go down different paths such as hiring doulas (a caregiver who advises you throughout pregnancy and during labour), homebirths, hypno-birthing, birthing centres etc. Women will come back to yoga to share their incredible and empowering birth stories and I was just truly amazed as I thought all women were destined to have excuriating painful births and were best not to be shared.

Hearing these other positive stories also raised that with low-risk pregnancies, having a private obstetrician isn’t necessary the ‘best’ choice for everyone. Also, there were other and safer ways to manage pain during childbirth.

How ignorant was I!

These women managed to control their fears and the pain to order to experience an empowering birth which they have trained and prepared for. They had control during the whole process and were able to achieve the birth experience they were after.

And even if things didn’t work out as planned, they still felt empowered with the knowledge that they felt in control of the whole process.

I also learnt that most women tend to ask for drugs because they don’t necessarily know of any other ways to manage their pain or their fears. I mean who can blame them if most antenatal classes don’t really teach women how to tackle pain without drugs.

I realised that without tackling my fears, I would lose control immediately and this was certainly not something I wanted for labour. This has motivated me to have a natural birth, to ‘give it a go’ and feel that I have made well informed choices throughout the whole process. No one can dispute that the less interventions and drugs that you take, the better it will for the baby.

Why should I opt for intervention straight away out of fear, rather than as a last resort? I feel that if I’m less fearful, have strategies on pain management, and feel confident that I understand the labour process, I will have at least prepared adequately for the type of birth i’m after.

And hey, if it doesn’t work out, I at least would be proud that I’ve equipped myself with enough knowledge to give it a shot.

So for my birth I decided to stick with my obstetrician since I felt he was supportive of my aim to have a natural birth and it was way too late to try to book into a birthing centre anyway. To manage a natural labour, I decided to complete a HypnoBirthing course with my DH. HypnoBirthing is about training ourselves to eliminate fear we have about labour and birthing through relaxation and self-hypnosis. Similar to the feeling of being totally confident and engrossed in a task rather than being in a total trance.

I have now finished the course to I’m practicing my daily mental and physical exercises and with less than 4 weeks to go I’m definitely less fearful of labour and can’t wait until the big day!

Image courtesy of weheartit

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2010 1:28 pm

    I had a very similar experience with everyone urging me to ‘go private’ and spending hours on the phone trying to lock in an obstetrician at 8 weeks pregnant.
    Since doing a bit of my own ‘research’ I have now ditched my OB and private hospital for the public Family Birth Centre. Eek. Hope I have done the right thing!

    Anyway very happy to hear that the hypnotism has helped aleviate your anxiety about the birth.. I had my first session which I found very pleasant and has also helped me feel more relaxed.. but will need a few more session closer to due date to drive the message home!

    I love that picture you posted- so funny.

    Very exciting to be so close- very intersted in hearing about your last month in preggo land- and beyond

  2. September 29, 2010 9:56 pm

    I think you have a made a great decision based on what type of birth you are after, rather than relying on what everyone else saying what you should do. Good luck!

    I was a bit skeptical of hypnobirthing at first, but needed some sort of strategy and preparation for a natural birth…otherwise there would have been no hope for me!

    I love Domo (he is in the picture) ever since seeing him on ads in Japan.

    Very exciting times indeed as I’m going to be a mum in less than a month…EEEK!!!

  3. September 30, 2010 5:51 pm

    What a spin out! But I think you will be fine!! And thanks for your positive words!

    If you have the time or energy I have tagged you 🙂

    http://emmiegemmie.typepad.com/desert-darling/2010/09/tagged.html

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  1. HypnoBirthing « Sass and Spice

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