Throughout my pregnancies and births there has been one overarching emotion: fear. Happiness too, of course, but there was always a tinge of fear. That underlying worry that started with "What if …"
What if my baby isn't safe?
What if something goes wrong?
What if I make a wrong choice?
I've worked tirelessly to overcome that fear. To boot the worry and focus on the positive—the joy that pregnancy and birth brings. To meditate and pray myself into a better place. But still, it's there, tugging at my heart and willing me to give in.
Then, during a late night, insomia-induced Instagram browse (we all do it, right?) I saw a new-to-me hashtag: #birthwithoutfear. I thought, "Self, now that's something! A war cry of sorts, to join forces and birth WITHOUT fear."
I clicked on it and was immediately drawn in. Birth Without Fear wasn't a mantra for natural mamas birthing solo in the woods (although they're welcome) or the poster child for awesome epidurals in deluxe hospitals (again, welcome and invited). It's a community of moms and care providers empowering families to make educated choices in regard to birth. And support. Mountains of support for mamas and dads as they journey through the birthing years, ask questions, process experiences and grow as people and parents.
Birth Without Fear, which I definitely consider a social media movement, was started by January Harshe, a mom much like me in many ways. She had her worries, saw a need, built a community and, well … when you build it, they will come. It was just the thing I needed, to know I wasn't alone in my fear struggle. And, most of all, to gain power over my fears by voicing their existence and combatting them with life giving words.
Since birth is one of the most monumental milestones in many women's lives, there is no doubt in my mind that this cause is priceless.
The movement has moved beyond a blog, Facebook page and hashtag. Local meet-ups launched in 2013 and I was blessed to snag a ticket to the Portland, Oregon, event in May. While sitting at round tables, I and other mamas exchanged stories via the Harmony Circle, listened to speakers (Jen McLellan of Plus-Size Mommy Memoirs and Hermine Hayes-Klein J.D. of Human Rights in Chilbirth) and gained invaluable support. I won't spoil their messages, but know, if you ever have the opportunity to hear these women live, you must! They are catalysts of hope. They are breathing life into a once forgotten demographic. They are wiping out loneliness and they are casting out fears. Birth Without Fear, and all those involved, are giving parents choice and support in birth. Since birth is one of the most monumental milestones in many women's lives, there is no doubt in my mind that this cause is priceless.
Want to be a part of this fabulous community alongside me?
Read the blog, attend a meet-up and hashtag your heart out! With 6 months left in my third pregnancy, you're bound to catch a few of my photos in the #birthwithoutfear lineup as I mentally prepare for a fear-free, hope-filled birth.