So what do you do if you are terrified of childbirth, but you’re already pregnant?
The simple answer is: you manage to give birth anyway. You might be gripped with paralyzing fear, or consumed with anxiety and nightmares, but somehow you will manage to get through the birthing process.
A better answer is: you find a way to let those fears go, allowing your mind and body to embrace the birthing process as it happens.
Here are some typical statements from a recent group conversation I was engaged in:
“Is anyone else really scared about giving birth. I’m having nightmares, I can’t stop thinking about it and I’m absolutely petrified!”
“I’m the same way. I’m 31 weeks and as it’s getting closer and closer my anxiety is rising and I’m having crazy bad dreams about it. So nervous”
For years I have observed so many fear-based stories passed around freely, but so few solutions or words of comfort offered to the mother who is drawing near to her time for giving birth. The reasons why this happens and why it’s harmful is a whole other conversation, which we’ll address in another post.
Today I want to share with you my top methods for helping women who are currently looking for relief from their fear of childbirth. It will work for those terrified of childbirth or those experiencing more subtle nervousness.
1) Deep Fear Release Work
Fear Release is a foundational aspect of the work I do with women during pregnancy. Are you currently aware of your fears, as are the ladies from the quotes above? Then you’ll have no trouble agreeing that it would be awesome to let go of fear!
Unfortunately, not all fear is top of mind. I say “unfortunately” because hidden, subconscious fear is present for most women (there are some notable cultural exceptions in the world). So even if you’re not consciously terrified of childbirth, an unknown fear can rear its ugly head when birth becomes imminent.
That is why Fear Release is such a vital component of the work I do, and why I have gone away from teaching standard birthing hypnosis classes, and back to working one-on-one with my clients. Doing one-on-one work is so much more thorough and individual, and respectful.
Releasing deep-seated fears about giving birth is one of the most significant benefits my clients’ experience.
I would rather give one client stellar results than to give ten clients the idea that their fears are gone, but having 4 of them discover there was more under the surface, ready to emerge in their time of birth.
2) Neutralizing Early Trauma
Similar to birth-fears, some women are aware of early life trauma, and some have blocked it out.
There can also be a misunderstanding of what early trauma is. I used to think it was just the big stuff – you know, abuse.
None of this ever happened to me. But in doing my inner work, and now helping others do theirs, I now understand that small things can also cause trauma to a young child. In some cases, it is merely a misperception or something that a young mind simply doesn’t understand or know how to process.
Take for example a small child that is playing outside, and is stung by a bee. The bee sting hurts, no doubt, but the way in which the child perceives the event as a whole is more likely to determine whether this situation is traumatic or not.
If an adult comes to give comfort and help to the child, soothing her pain and providing a pathway to relief, then the child will likely learn a healthy way of recovering from such an event.
If the adult brings her fear of bees into the situation, perhaps screaming or crying, or desperately trying to remedy the situation in a state of panic, the child might be additionally overwhelmed by the confusing and intense emotions. Bystander reactions may escalate an ordinary situation into a traumatic memory.
Any time the child experiences that array of emotions, it will serve to compound the effects of the trauma. It’s possible the child will have an increased fear of bees. More likely, the trauma will morph into other life situations that don’t even seem linked to the original bee sting.
Early trauma may or may not show up in childbirth. But it can be quite beneficial to explore this possibility to ensure that it doesn’t show up in any other areas of your life, such as future parenting situations. If you’re terrified of childbirth and don’t know why it might be worth ruling out or resolving early childhood trauma.
3) Turn off the TV!
If you are pregnant, do yourself a huge favor and stop watching overly-sensational birth shows on TV! Don’t get me wrong I love watching “Call the Midwife,” and have an insatiable curiosity for birth stories of all kinds. But when you are pregnant, you are wise to be selective.
When you are pregnant, you spend more time in an emotionally receptive state. Where do emotions reside? The subconscious mind.
So if you are spending more time in your subconscious mind…then you are more likely absorbing outside messages and taking them internally to your foundational belief system. Your subconscious belief system essentially runs most of your life on autopilot, so it’s a good idea to be intentional about what you are feeding it.
Also, relaxing in from the of the T.V. usually results in entering a hypnotic state. When you’re in that state of hypnosis, your subconscious mind is highly receptive to whatever you’re watching on television.
When you combine pregnancy sensitivity with hypnotic T.V. watching and add it to a dramatic birth story…you just might be creating new layers of pregnancy/birth fear.
Think about it. Most TV birth scenes are sensationalized. They depict women and men that are absolutely terrified of childbirth. Do you want to allow wild and crazy birth shows to shape your view of childbirth? Perhaps you’d prefer images of healthy, non-traumatic birth to influence your future experience. You choose this, in part, by the media you take in.
I recommend choosing positive birth videos, useful birth books, and staying away from everything on TV related to childbirth. I include documentaries on this list. Again, I love a good birth documentary – but save it for AFTER your birth!!!
4) Set a new foundation
Once you’ve purged your fears and traumas and are no longer terrified of childbirth, then positive foundational work will be even more effective. There are several ways to do this.
- Positive birth affirmations – see this post for the most effective way to use affirmations.
- Self-hypnosis – I teach several methods to my clients, and I also provide you with an easy pathway to using hypnosis on your own, even if you are brand new to it. For more information, see this post.
- Tapping (EFT) – this is a tool that has many applications. One of the best benefits is that it gives you a way to clear and release negative emotions on a daily basis. Tapping is a skill that would benefit pretty much every human on the planet. I teach these techniques to many of my clients, and I sometimes include it in my free workshops. Join my newsletter to stay up to date on future events.
- Be intentional about the books, birth classes, forums/groups and more that you decide to join. There is no one-size-fits-all, so I am not going to recommend anything in particular in this post. Set the intention that you will seek the best information that is helpful for you. Make it clear to your subconscious mind that you intend to take the good and leave aside what’s negative and unhelpful.
So whether you’re truly terrified of childbirth or simply worried, there’s no need to go on like that. There is a pathway to greater peace of mind.
Please share your thoughts, experiences, and questions in the comments below.
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