I have a clear memory from my first pregnancy. I was sitting in the waiting room for my 20 week scan. I was in full pregnancy glow by now – all swollen belly, and little kicks – looking forward to a reassuring scan, so I could really begin to imagine what life with a new human might be like….
…but actually, I felt nausea. My temperature rising, hot faced & cold palmed. Forcing myself to overcome the urge to get up and RUN. And as I looked at all the other swollen bellies, and loving couples, and neatly filed maternity notes, I couldn’t help but wonder how on earth was everyone in here so calm?
I KNEW what pregnancy inevitably led-to. I’d seen the movies & heard the stories. Women at the mercy of their bodies. Sweating and swearing and in agony. I KNEW that birth was a process, and that once it started I ceased to have a say. I KNEW that birth ended up as either a sweaty bloody mess, or a sweaty bloody mess with an episiotomy, or a sweaty bloody mess with a caesarean scar.
And I couldn’t envisage myself in any of those scenarios at all.
9 years on, after 3 births of my own, and many of my client’s hypnobirthing & doula births, and I know that fear better than ever. I understand from my own experience and listening to many other women – and I hear them say consistently that they fear losing control. Women are scared of not knowing what’s happening and of not having a say. They fear being treated harshly when they are in pain and vulnerable. They worry the people around them will not be kind, that they won’t empathise. Women worry about coming secondary to the process of the birth – that there is a set order of events that will be followed regardless of the individual. Women worry about being heard, being respected, being recognised as an individual, being treated with dignity.
Which is possibly an irony; that your fear of losing control, losing dignity, losing respect, may just be the thing that stops everyone from freaking out. In fact, I’m prepared to bet that it’s the thing that’s stopping YOU from publicly freaking out too.
You are not the only one that feels the fear. You are not the only one seeking reassurance. You are not the only one who feels they deserve better than what is currently on offer.
If you want to address it, I urge you to find your local doula or hypnobirthing practitioner and speak to them sharpish. The sooner you begin to #feelthefearanddoitanyway the sooner those fears will be alleviated, and the better you’ll feel. I promise.