Are You Scared Sh*tless About Giving Birth, Mama? Here Are 5 Ways to Conquer Your Fears!
Nobody can really warn you about how it's gonna feel when you see that pink line on the pregnancy test. So. Many. Feelings wrapped up in that little stick you just peed all over. It's normal to feel many things; happiness, shock, excitement, denial, apprehension, sadness and incredible fear when you find out you're pregnant.
“I can’t believe I’m pregnant!” “Wow. I’m pregnant.” “I can’t believe I’m pregnant.” And then finally, “Oh crap.”
For a lot of women, the doubt sets in very quickly.
I remember the day I realized that I had an actual human being inside of me who was going to have to come out. I’m not gonna lie- I felt panicky. How the hell was this baby going to come out of that hole? That’s when I knew that I'd have to take some steps to prepare myself mentally for giving birth. I just couldn't imagine spending another 8 months feeling worried! I’m not a planner by nature so it wasn’t easy for me to plan for my birth without feeling a little blocked-in by my choices. Sound famililar?
In the end I delivered a healthy baby, the way I wanted and I felt like a TRILLION BUCKS. (Besides the sore crotch)
So how did I do it? I realized that confidence about my ability to give birth was going to come from the things I said to myself, did for myself and felt about myself while I was still pregnant. I have to give some of the credit to my doctor. One day, during a routine prenatal check-up, I was telling her I knew about everything that was happening with my baby’s development and what to expect. Dr Collins was really sweet and told me how impressed she was. And then she said,
Joanne- it’s great to know about what’s happening during your pregnancy, but have you even thought about your birth and what happens after your baby is born?
She was absolutely right.
When I was having my first baby, I was young and in a rocky relationship. Looking to the future was hard for me because I think I knew deep down that I wasn’t going to stay with my baby-daddy. But I realized that my baby deserved the best and I was going to be the one to give it to her by being a healthy and prepared for her.
Positive Birth Affirmations
I believe in the power of the mind.
What you focus on will grow and your brain doesn’t care if it’s good or bad. If you think negatively, you’ll create more negative thoughts. If you think positively- guess what? Yup, positive thoughts.
So what I decided to do was start meditating and incorporating positive affirmations. I would quiet my mind for the first few minutes and then repeat things like, “Your body is capable of giving birth: and “Birth is something to look forward to”.
In fact, here are some of my favourites to get you started:
Girl, this shit works. By the time I got to 9 months and people were asking me, aren’t you terrified? I would say, Not at all! I’m excited to go into labour so I can meet my baby.
And I was. It helped me accept contractions during labour because I was excited to give birth so I could finally meet my new baby!
I can’t tell you how this practice has helped me through some tough times since: divorce from a cheating husband, single-mom life with no help, poverty, going to college as a single mom…so many freaking times.
I hope you give yourself the gift of reframing your thoughts because when you master it, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!
Obviously I’m gonna to tell you to take a class, right? Being a Lamaze childbirth educator, I’m pro-birth education. I mean, duh. But guess what? I wasn’t a childbirth educator when I had my first baby. I wasn’t a nurse or doula, either. I took a very cheap class through my local hospital that wasn’t that amazing. But what I learned was that having information about what to expect took a lot of the mystery of childbirth away and that helped me stop worrying about it.
BTW- If you want to know what women said they wished they’d known before they gave birth, check out this post that went viral. It’s pure new-mom gold:
(Don’t forget to download your free resources to make your birth a little easier while you’re there!)
Positive Lifestyle Choices
This sounds so simple, I know. But you know how it feels when you aren’t pregnant and you take care of yourself? It feels so much better while you’re pregnant! If you’re eating properly, exercising most days, and staying away from alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, you’re taking a huge chunk of worry away. This is a very cheap, easy way to feel some control over your body at a time when everything is changing.
If all you do is start with a daily walk and eating regularly, it’s a step in the right direction.
For more information about why every pregnant woman should exercise, check out this post:
Hire a Doula
Ok, full disclosure: I didn’t do this because:
a) I had no idea about doulas 27 years ago and
b) Have I mentioned that I was poor?
But now that I am a doula, I can’t tell you enough- doulas cheer you on when you think you’ve got nothing left in your tank. When you’re positive that you can’t manage your birth, a doula is there to tell you how strong you are. A doula is like a double-shot of confidence for a woman in labour. And just having one hired and lined up for your birth will make you feel better prepared while you’re still pregnant.
Also, you just can’t argue with evidence: having a doula at your birth can reduce your chance of having a caesarean by 30%. That’s a lot!
Check out this post about doulas and why every woman should have one, no matter how she gives birth!
Please don’t gloss over this…you have no idea how much it will help to have your postpartum plan until you’re actually in the trenches of recovering from birth. And even better than knowing who’s going to help you recover postpartum is knowing what they’ll do to help you. There’s nothing worse than having 5 chicken casseroles in the fridge and nobody to walk your dog.
I talk more about how to do postpartum planning in this post:
By the way, if you’re interested to hear some real talk about what to expect during your postpartum recovery, check out this post:
I wish you all the best for your fearless birth, Mama. Your body was made for this and once you convince your mind, there's no stopping you from having an empowered birth. You got this!
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!