Dealing with Labor Anxiety

One of my old friends had a baby when I was pregnant with Emm. Her labor was 24 hours long, and that sounded absolutely exhausting to me. I was worried that I might have a “long” labor like her, so I comforted myself by saying,

“That won’t happen to me. I take better care of myself than she does, so my labor will be easier. ”

And while I was pregnant, that logic worked for me. As skewed as it was, that was the best I could do to comfort myself about labor. We all have different ways of coping, and mine was to spend my thoughts on eating well, exercising, and avoiding stress. I took good care of myself and was sure that meant labor would be easy for me.

Oh how wrong I was.

I was in labor for 3 and a half days, and stopped counting the hours after the second sleepless night. I had the hard contractions and everything – my body just would not dilate. And at some point during that process, my baby suffocated, and she was born with severe brain damage.

Now, my story is definitely the exception, and I don’t want to scare you ladies out of having children.

But I do think that we should prepare for the worst and expect the best, not blindly dismiss the possibilities of the future.

So, here it is.

How to Mentally Prepare for Labor

Amidst all your panic and worry about labor, I want you to take a deep breath. Then, when a scary fear or imaginary scenario comes into your mind, confront it. When you catch yourself terrified that your baby might have a defect, or not make it, breathe.

Then take that fear and tell yourself exactly what you would do if that happened. If you know how to deal with your worst nightmare, then you can tackle anything.

Here’s why:

When I was in the second trimester with Emm, I was genuinely afraid that I would have a baby with disabilities.

Know what I did to comfort myself?

“Emm is too cute a name for a disabled little girl.”

That painfully shallow thought allowed me to brush my fear to the side and not address it. Oh how I wish I would have just addressed it.

Because it threw me for a loop when Emm was born. I don’t think you could ever be truly prepared for the news that your child will be 3-5 years behind other kids, but my shallow thought came back to bite me, and it made me bitter. At that moment I had to consider what I would do. And the fact that I used that little excuse caused me a lot of heartache.

So, sit down right now and decide what the worst things that could happen are. Write them down. Then work out what you would do in that situation.

For example:

If my Emm continues to have seizures throughout her life, I’m going to get her a seizure dog. I will help her to use seizure monitoring activities, calm herself to prevent triggers, and help her find friends with similar difficulties so she doesn’t feel alone.

That statement makes me feel a ton better. When you make a plan for dealing with that scary event, it helps build your courage because you know how you want to respond. That plan gives you a fallback when your emotions are awry.

Keep in Mind:

Yes, it is terrifying to sit down and face those fears. Whenever I do it, my heart starts racing as my worst imaginations take off, but writing down a plan nips that in the bud.

Know that addressing your fear doesn’t mean that you will cause that event to happen. Karma won’t be out to get you just because you made a plan.

We have the tendency to believe that if we don’t acknowledge them then they’re easier to deal with. But gather your courage, because confronting the fear can really help.

So don’t panic about pregnancy and labor. Yes, something could go wrong, there’s always that chance, but you can be prepared for anything. And when you take the time to prepare yourself, ease your mind, you will feel peace and know how you can handle it.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

#Bonustip: share this skill with your man, he probably has worries about this, too!

2 thoughts on “Dealing with Labor Anxiety

  1. I love to say that us women are blessed with every single thing that we need for our births, no matter what happens or how our babies are born. And we’re the only perfect mother for our children. That’s why we should never judge or shame. Loved this post! 🙂

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