Don’t Let Fear Control Your Birth

Fear in childbirth, VT doulaLet’s start by taking a quick look at some clips from how birth is portrayed in the media. What we see as “entertainment”. We see this even before we are thinking about having kids. It may not mean much at the time watching the birth scenes, it might make you squirm because it’s birth and that’s just not something we typically talk about openly, but these birth scenes we see stick in the back of our mind creating an idea about birth. What is that idea? Birth is not normal, it is a medical event. Birth is PAINFUL. Birth is SCARY.

Who has seen the movie Knocked Up? I’m sure many of you have. Well please, take a minute and click the link to watch the clip from that movie.

Ok, now here is another birth scene from a popular movie, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Again, please take a minute to check it out.

What are your thoughts? I know what mine are and they definitely are not POSITIVE about the birth experience. We know it is necessary and care so much about our little ones to go through it but it looks SCARY. This is what we see, like I said earlier, before we are even thinking about birthing our own little one we are getting this idea of birth in the back of our minds.

Now, let’s look at the difference in THIS video.

Look at Mom. Yes, it looks HARD, but it’s not quite so SCARY is it. Have you EVER seen a birth scene like that in the media? In a movie? I haven’t. (If you have, please share because I would LOVE to see it!) Mom even said in the caption “it was scary at times…” but even reading that, knowing it was a REAL birth and not just made for the movies, I STILL didn’t get the “birth is scary vibe” like the first two movie clips. I get it, I mean for the movie they want drama, on the edge of your seat ya know, but really, it doesn’t do any good for the view of birth.

Why is it so important to NOT fear childbirth?

Well, lots of reasons. First of all, fear can be counterproductive. Take a minute. Think about something scary or a time when you were scared. What happens/happened to your body? Did it tense up? I bet it did. Maybe you clenched your fists or closed your eyes real tight. Now, think about what your body is trying to do during labor. Open. Open up to allow baby down and out. That tension caused by the fear will be working against what your body wants to be doing.

I have this WONDERFUL clip of midwife Ina May Gaskin doing a talk about Reducing Fear in Childbirth. I highly suggest taking the time to watch it as she gives some great information. If you are interested I would also recommend Ina May’s book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Not only is it filled with great, non-fear mongering information, but great positive and empowering birth stories.

Where is your fear? Find a way to work through it. Maybe with art, talking to a friend/loved one/doula, or maybe with a counselor/therapist. Find what works for you. Don’t let your fear control you.