Mentally Preparing For Childbirth & My “I Don’t Want To Know” Rule
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Please note that I am NOT a medical professional and I am merely sharing my thoughts on labor delivery in this blog post. Be sure to share any and all concerns that you may have with your doctors.
The Looming Fear Of Childbirth
When I was pregnant, there was so much fear. In fact, it felt like I was constantly in a state of fear, from the time I found out I was pregnant until the moment of birth. (In fact, I wrote about all the different types of fear that I had throughout pregnancy here.)
For the first trimester, I was so focused on hitting the 12-week mark when the rate of miscarriage drops. Then, I was so focused on the anatomy scan and making sure the baby was developing. Then, with each passing week, I could feel the finish line approaching, and with it, the fear of child birth.
What was I afraid of?
- What if I just couldn’t do it?
- Will I be able to handle the pain?
- How long will labor and delivery last?
- Is something bad going to happen to my baby or myself?
The unnerving thing about preparing for delivery is that you won’t know the answers to these questions until you’ve already delivered. (Seems totally unfair, right?)
My “I Don’t Want To Know” Rule
The closer that I got to my due date, the more people wanted to talk to me about their birthing experiences. While I totally understood the urge to share their stories with me, I didn’t want to hear these stories.
Each story was an anecdote about long labor, vaginal tearing, epidurals, horrible pain and any number of other “horror” stories. It was literally the very last thing in the world that I wanted to hear.
In the midst of my final trimester, I decided to impose an “I don’t want to know” rule. This rule covered conversations with others, as well as my own research (Google searches, for example).
I couldn’t get enough factoids about my baby in the early months of pregnancy, and I loved the weekly updates all the way until the end.
What I didn’t want to hear about was labor.
I simply wanted to know enough to make informed decisions about my labor and delivery, but nothing more.
It was not going to serve me to dwell on the unknown. And, no matter what I did between that point and delivery, nothing was going to dissipate the fear completely.
When someone would bring up their own horror story, I would make a joke about not wanting to know and try to change the subject.
Words From The Other Side Of Delivery (And No, This Isn’t My “Horror” Story)
Now that I’ve come out the other side of my pregnancy (my baby is now 14 months old), I have many words of wisdom to share with other mommas who are terrified of childbirth. And no, I’m not going to share my labor and delivery story here, because as I mentioned above, that was the last thing I wanted to hear. I’m simply going to address the fears I had, in hopes that it brings a little bit of comfort to you!
What if I just can’t do it?
Momma, you are strong, and your body will know what to do to get your baby out. And, if your body struggles to deliver your little one, your doctors will be prepared to help. The most important thing to remember about labor and delivery is that you are strong and you will be able to do things that you never ever imagined.
Will I be able to handle the pain?
Everyone knows that giving birth is painful. But what no one ever talks about is the fact that you’re in pain for a finite amount of time. Labor and delivery will not last forever. Remember that you’ve gone through hard times in your life and made it to the other side. Giving birth is another one of those times, but you will get through it, just like you did those hard things. And, there is absolutely no shame at all in requesting pain management drugs. Your medical professionals are going to do everything they can to make you as comfortable as possible.
How long will labor and delivery last?
Every labor and delivery is different. However, your doctors and health professionals aren’t going to leave you laboring for days and days. If your labor stalls, or there are other complications, your doctors will step in to address the issue. Doctors have many tools that they can employ to try and get your labor going. As long as you trust your medical team, you’ll be taken care of.
Is something bad going to happen to my baby or myself?
This is the biggest fear for pregnant women – I’d be willing to bet my life on it. However, it is important to remember that women are giving birth across the world every single day, and your medical professionals delivery babies all the time. If you are seriously concerned about something happening during labor and delivery, it may ease your mind to discuss your concerns with your medical team.
Momma, I’m telling you that it is 100% okay to be nervous about labor and delivery. I certainly was! As you prepare to do this monumental thing, do whatever it takes to set your mind at ease and relax. You’ll be much more prepared to handle labor and delivery if you are mentally prepared.
And, please please please don’t listen to other people share their stories – their story isn’t yours. Remember that!