Most first-time moms I encounter have one thing in common: they have fears about childbirth. Of course, it's normal to fear the unknown. You may have experienced the same kinds of feelings the first time you rode a bike, drove a car, went off to college, tried sushi, started a new job, or swam in the ocean. Because of the way it's portrayed and positioned in our culture and the media, however, childbirth is often enshrouded in mystery, danger, fear, and even helplessness. Women in Hollywood are portrayed angry and screaming in a hospital bed, or mortified in a grocery store when they are caught standing in a puddle after their water has broken. Both of these scenarios are a possibility, sure, but they do not depict the general norm or tell the whole story of childbirth, nor do they help instill confidence during what is often a vulnerable time for women.
So if you are a first, second, third (or more) time mom and have fears about your upcoming birth, I have good news: a quality childbirth class will help you deal with your fears! Notice I said "deal with" and not erase your fears. Sometimes, it's not possible to completely get rid of a fear, and that's OK. Fear is one of the ways in which your body helps protect you. But a fear that is too big and overwhelming can work against you. With help from a childbirth class, you will be able to recognize your fears and develop strategies to help you cope and find appropriate support.
10. I do NOT want an episiotomy!
What fears would you add to this list? What was something that happened during your birth you wish you would have known more about? In several upcoming posts, we will take each one of these fears (and any more added to the comments) and dive deeper to dispel the myths, reveal the truth, and provide you with tips to cope and find the best support. Check back to follow our series on fear in labor and birth!