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7 Ways I'm Overcoming My Fear of Labor

Photograph by Twenty20

I've been in labor twice before; very different experiences. Very.

And that's putting it lightly.

Hospital and home birth: 40 hours and 4 hours, respectively. OB-GYN and unintentionally unassisted. Now I'm on the cusp of my third labor. And it's looking like things will be different once again. I think that's where my fear stems from—the unknown.

Generally speaking, I like being pregnant. I get the glow and think maternity clothes are darling. I love nothing more than feeling those first few rumbles in my belly and cherish them dearly as they transform into kicks and signs of hello from the inside. There are lame parts too; gross ones, as well. But overall, pregnancy is my jam.

The in-between, though, the act of transitioning from pregnant to holding a baby—I hate it. Labor scares me. It's freaking hard and hard stuff sucks.

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Thinking about labor can bring me to tears. And obviously it's not because I haven't done it before. I have, and I have done it well. My husband even says I'm a total rockstar when it comes to labor! But, still … it's just so awful. The contractions, the back labor, the discomfort, my water breaking, the ring of fire, stitches. I mean, how am I supposed to look forward to all of that?

In my mind, birth is a wild roller coaster. The kind of ride where I don't have access to a stop or timeout button. There are twists and turns, countless unknowns when it comes to the pace and me. It's just me and my baby and we're the only ones who can do the tough work of labor.

So, as I inwardly fret and worry about my impending labor, I'm choosing to be mindful about overcoming my fears. I can, and will, rock my birth! Most likely, my fears will always reside in the back of my mind, but I'm actively working to quell their spirit and raise up a birth warrior within myself!

Bottom line for me: I choose to fear labor. I'm the one who lets fear into my heart and lets it take hold.

With just 14 days until my due date, here is how I'm moving myself into a positive mental space:

1. Yoga — Once or twice a week I've been attending Gentle Yoga at my local gym. It's the peace and quiet I need to reflect on all the positives of my pregnancy, the blessing of my two (soon to be three) children, and feel my inner strength without distraction.

2. Meditation — For me, it's hard to stop and quiet my world. I'm an extrovert and I have a 3- and 5-year-old, so calm doesn't own much of my days. But, as I near labor I have found restoration and confirmation in listening to Hypnobabies CDs, meditations specific to pregnancy and labor.

3. Positive Reflections — Things didn't go how I planned with my daughter's and son's births. Like, neither were even born at the location we thought they would be! The good news is, they were both born healthy! Rather than look back on my worries from my past labor experiences, I'm holding on to all the awesome that occurred during my previous births.

4. Voice My Concern — It's not my goal to hide my fears. I've been intentional about voicing them with my husband and midwife so there are no surprise when I freak out and most likely cry when my water breaks. Sharing my shortcomings give them the information they need to better support me. And Lord knows I won't say no to extra support and love when I jump on the roller coaster of labor.

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5. Closing My Circle — Sometimes fear comes from others. During these final days of my pregnancy I'm pulling in and only allowing family and friends who have a supportive, positive outlook on my upcoming labor to be in my inner circle. I don't need naysayers in my life fueling my fear or affirming my worries.

6. Birth Affirmations — Positive words plant positive feelings in my heart. I'm plastering all my favorite quotes around the house and even ordered a Katie m. Berggren print called "Strong & New" as a visual reminder of what I'm working towards. That's me and my new son! I'm going to power through labor to get that sweet boy into my arms!

7. Let It Go — Bottom line for me, I choose to fear labor. It has a real source and some legitimacy, but I'm the one who lets into my heart and lets it take hold. So, as I prepare to birth my winter baby, I'm channeling a bit of Elsa and letting it go while crossing my fingers that snow falls on my son's birthday.

Has the thought of labor birthed fear within you? How are you actively working to overcome it?

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