Overcoming My Fear of Giving Birth

Overcoming My Fear of Giving Birth

 “Rather than succumb to your fears, get to know them intimately, in this way you can accept your fear and move on.” - Krystal Bernier

I am so excited to be pregnant and creating new life. It truly is the most amazing experience I’ve had in my life thus far. With only one hitch, I have been terrified of giving birth.

Before I started my quest to learn everything about labor and delivery, the pictures Hollywood painted of painful birthing experiences tormented me. I was convinced labor was going to be an unbearably painful and bloody experience. I would arrive at the hospital panicked. I would be whisked away in a wheel chair to a sterile room where I would be forced to lie on my back as doctors and nurses watched, probed, and continuously monitored me. I would be forced to take pain medications, contraction enhancing synthetic hormones, and finally be sent off to surgery to have a caesarian. My heart was full of fear and I dreaded the day I went into labor.

As I’ve been progressing through my pregnancy, I’ve asked questions about what to expect on that beautiful day my little baby comes into this world. Other woman’s stories have painted a different picture of birth. They are stories of bravery and love, tales of beauty and sacrifice. Most women spoke without fear of their experience and told how proud they were that they overcame the pain of childbirth and welcomed their mini-me’s into their arms. They depicted an experience that was out of this world.

I was shocked, amazed, and heartened. Could this be, is there really nothing to fear? Can I do this, can I manage the pain, and can I have the birth I want?

Talking with others about their experiences gave me hope. So, I started researching. I watched documentaries about all different types of birthing experiences. I read about the science of labor and delivery. I learned about the hormones involved, how nature intended the birthing experience to be, and how animals in nature react to observation during labor.

From all my reading, listening, and learning I realized, nature is smart, she knows what she’s doing. A woman’s body is built perfectly for having a baby. She is programmed with a finely tuned hormonal balance that allows her, in some cases, to even experience pleasure during birth.  A woman is strong, she can do it, she can overcome pain and bring a new and glorious life into the world.

Rather than succumb to my fear, I gained an intimate knowledge of that fear. I learned so much about my fear, that I lost the panic that sent me reeling into an abyss of “I Can’t”. I have gained strength from my knowledge and I forge ahead with a clear mind and an open heart.

I know I can do this, I know I can give birth to this baby, and I know it will be the best day of my life!

What technique do you use to overcome your fears?

Photo by José Manuel Ríos Valiente

Krystal Bernier

Krystal is a pregnant blogging registered holistic nutritionist who is on a mission to help women overcome their fears surrounding fertility, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and baby’s first year. She shares her knowledge of natural nutrition & health for all things pregnancy and baby related on her blog krystalbernier.com.

Latest posts by Krystal Bernier (see all)

37 Comments

  1. Hey Kristal,

    Thanks for sharing your story and congratulations on your pregnancy.

    I am a mother of two and can honestly say that they are the best thing that has ever happened to me, hands down! I was not fearful of giving birth as I enjoyed my pregnancies so much I never pondered how it would be when giving birth. I loved carrying them and being the only one who knew they were making a stance to some external stimuli that they didn’t like. It was intimate and special and I savoured every second of it.

    As for giving birth the only time I got fearful was when I was having contractions with my second child. The pain was spectacular and I started crying and thought, “I don’t think I can do this!” But I had a great midwife and was at home so I soon relaxed with some gas and air. I can honestly say that both of my birthing experiences were pleasurable as you so rightly pointed out in your post. Pleasurable because I felt alive in the midst of the pain and so intensely concentrated, pure meditative bliss!

    I think the other thing that seems to quash my fears is the size of the dream/hope/event that I am fearful about. If it is something that I know I have to do or something that I passionately want to do I take a deep breath and just do it. The fear disappears in the shadow of my determination.

    You are going to be a superwoman when you give birth, I think you are going to surprise yourself. Your partner is going to have a new found love and respect for you when they see how you cope with giving birth.

    Just my two cents, when the labour starts, hold out on any pain relief for as long as you; when you get a contraction try not to scream/wail, this only uses valuable energy that you need for you and your baby, instead focus on your breathing and make it deep, steady and rhythmic (meditation!), it’ll soon pass.

    Good luck, your going to be a fab mum because you are not afraid to reflect and find answers, a great skill to pass onto your minime/him, IMHO!

    Much love for you and your family.

    Ruth.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your kind words Ruth. It sounds like you certainly were a superwomen when you had your children. I am still a little nervous as this is my first baby, but at the same time, I also know I can do it. Only 3 months of waiting left :-)

      Reply
  2. Hi Krystal,

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience. I can only imagine how magical an experience bringing new life into this world is.

    When I’m getting ready to do something that I’m afraid to do, I also gather as much information as I can about “it”. I know I’m going to have to feel that fear. I know letting myself feel it is letting the body move that energy out (healing it).

    As scary as feeling that fear will be, there is always a part of me that is excited about the “new me” that will emerge on the other side of feeling that fear. So, whatever it is I’m afraid of doing, I just do it and breathe while I feel the fear.

    The fear does go away, and I usually get new insights about myself.

    Thanks very much for sharing. I’m going to follow your blog.

    Larry

    Reply
    • It is nice to hear other people approach their fears in the same way I do, makes me feel less crazy, lol! Thank you for sharing and for following my blog :-)

      Reply
  3. Krystal, what a great story. Life is all about learning to manage fear and not letting it manage us. During 2013, I let some different fears take over my life. Finally, I had to face them head on in September after my dad’s death. I had to decide whether fear would keep managing me (poorly, I might add) or whether I would manage the fears. I chose the latter.

    I chose something I greatly feared and faced it head-on. It wasn’t nearly what I had imagined. Imaginations can lie to us, as can feelings (sometimes). I chose peace and peace truly started to prevail.

    I often have said that education goes a heck of a long way towards dispelling our fears. I congratulate you for educating yourself and being willing to anticipate good things. Please let us know when your sweet baby arrives. My three were my greatest miracles.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear about your dad’s passing Christie. I am so happy to hear that you faced your fears though. It really makes us stronger to take that leap of faith. Babies really are a miracle, I only have 3 months to wait until my little one arrives :-)

      Reply
  4. I LOVE the empowerment you’ve found, and may women around the world continue to work through the fear and find the pleasure. XOXO Best wishes for the big day! ~Ruth

    Reply
  5. Not being a mother yet I have to say I was completely petrified of giving birth one day… but your article gives me hope :) <3

    Reply
    • Melanie, I’m so happy to hear you found this article so helpful. I’m still a little nervous, but once the baby starts coming there is no stopping it :-)

      Reply
  6. Great post, Krystal and thank you for sharing such personal moments. As a mom, all I can say that for me the nervousness during pregancy and the pain during birthing quickly become distant memories once that amazing bundle of joy first looks at you. Yes, you gain stength from knowing that you did it. Congratulations mama!

    Reply
    • Thank you Sharon, I am so looking forward to the day I get to see my little bundle of joy. It is good to hear that you gained strength from the experience and I hope I do as well.

      Reply
  7. I cannot imagine the feelings that pregnancy brings into a woman’s life, it is a magical thing to have another human being growing inside and when the day comes, fear or no fear, that little wonder is coming. It is something that you have to face, there is no real choice, it is not something you can back out of at the last minute, you have to go through with it, and for that I congratulate all women.

    To me fear is all about growth, we have all had to do things we have feared to do and then realised that most of the time the fear of it was bigger than the actual doing. Fear is always outside our comfort zone and I have learned through meditation to conquer my fears in mind before reality.

    Thank you for sharing your story Krystal and enjoy your experience.

    Reply
    • Thank you Robert. You are right, nothing is stopping the baby once (s)he decides to come. I love how you look at fear as a growth. Life really is about facing fears and moving on.

      Reply
  8. Thanks for sharing this! This is something I think every women goes through. Great post!

    Reply
  9. Dear Krystal:

    I have no personal experience about giving birth. I have learned a thing or two about the power of expectations, however. You, my dear, have done a great job of turning your expectations from dread to empowerment.

    You will be an excellent mother. I am sure that you are already an excellent instructor. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Reply
  10. Thanks for sharing your story Krystal. What an amazing time in your life right now! To be a part of bringing in new life. Yes: the unknown is always scary and fear is what happens when we get out of our comfort zones. To embrace my fears I have, I look at each moment as a new experience and a time for learning. Instead of being scared of it, I like to think of it as an adventure. Switching up the thought process for me helps. Thanks for your insights! I can’t wait to hear about how the rest unfolds!

    Reply
    • What a great way to face your fears Sarah, I think we can all learn from you :-)

      Reply
  11. I focused on 2 things:
    – Every person that has ever walked the planet had a mother that gave birth. The process works and you don’t have to be extraordinary to do it.
    – Women have given birth in rice fields and huts. This is not something that requires a magical alignment of the stars and technology. Again, nature has a process that yields successful results.

    And one more comment: childbirth pain is not like a lingering disease or injury. It will come and it will end. When it is over you get
    – a big surge of “amnesia” hormones that dull the memory of the pain and
    – A BABY!!

    It really is a good deal!!

    Reply
    • These are great insights Sherry, you have a good point. The baby really is worth it and I didn’t realize hormones helped the pain become a distant memory. Thank you :-)

      Reply
  12. Krystal,

    I think that your post is inspiring. I have 2 kids and I would never have give up on that experience, they were wonderful people to have in my life when they were young. They are adults now and continue to be wonderful people.

    Most births go very normally and you are so correct that there is nothing to be worried about. I think when a women listens to her body, she knows what to do. There is something special that happens between the child being born and the mother during labor that when heeded, gives a more beneficial experience to both.

    A small minority of us were not born with the body to give birth is the usual way, which was my experience and only found out during the last few minutes of labor, but it was still natural. That is not a story for here, but I will say that paying attention to my daughters needs during the labor process is what helped the doctors determine what was going on. She & I flourished during the C-Section process, which the doctors paid high tribute to the birth process. I appreciate your commenting on not succumbing to your fear, because that is so key to the whole experience being natural no matter how “natural” it happened.

    You are able to handle the labor and I agree with the breathing process to keep your energy moving when it needs to move and calming when it needs to be calm.

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing your story Susan. I have found talking with other women about the process has been so helpful. I don’t know what to expect from the experience, but I am open to all possibilities.

      Reply
  13. I just gave birth to a twin. Two beautiful daughters. Honestly, I totally forgot all the fears, anxiety, doubts that I have during my pregnancy. Now – it’s all about my girls. For me, motherhood is the best thing happened to my life.

    Carry on!!

    Reply
    • Congratulations Winnie! Twins, that is so exciting.

      Reply
  14. Really glad I came across this post! The subheadline on my site is “Fear is a guest in your house that has overstayed its welcome.”

    In other words, fear has a purpose. So my first move isn’t necessarily to overcome it, but to understand and make peace with it. If it’s trying to tell me something valid, I can use I act on it. If it’s something that’s irrational or that occupied a place in my past, I laugh at it, undress it and let it go. Takes a while to work up to that place and I did a lot of work around my self-image to get to that place. But it IS fun!!!

    Have a healthy baby, Krystal!

    Reply
    • Larry, you are so right, fear does serve an important purpose. Thank you for sharing your approach to facing your fears.

      Reply
  15. This is a great perspective. I too am frightened by the process of childbirth.

    I’m sure you’ll handle it like a champ.

    Congrats!

    Reply
    • Thank you Lea, I hope my story helps you come to terms with childbirth.

      Reply
  16. I had my first child last July. It was such an amazing experience. I applaud you for facing your fears and learning everything you can about the birthing process. Following that process made all the difference in the world for me. It truly is an initiation into one of the great mysteries of life, words don’t do it justice! Just remember there is no *wrong* way to do it, and trust your body. So excited for you as you approach this amazing gateway!

    Reply
    • Thank you for the words of encouragement Allison and congratulations on your little one. Almost a year old already :-)

      Reply
  17. Thank you for this, Krystal. I feel the same way. I’ll be giving birth for the first time in just five short weeks! And I’m terrified, of course. But I was also terrified that I would hate being pregnant, hearing all the stories and complaints of other women, but everything has gone so smoothly. I mean of course there was the nausea and now I’m starting to get more uncomfortable. And the hormone raging is frustrating. But I thought it would be so much worse. Every doctor appointment has been nothing but good news. So that gives me hope that I can really do this. And it will be completely different than I think it will be, and then it will be over and then we will have our beautiful baby girl. It helps to talk to my husband also, and what his fears are. They are so different than mine because he’s thinking of the future and being a good Dad and I’m so focused on my body and what it’s going to have to do. Next step, getting over my breastfeeding fears ;)

    Reply
    • You will be great. It sounds like hubby is very supportive, so lean on him a little :-) The reason I started writing my blog was to help women like yourself who were scared of pregnancy and childbirth. It doesn’t have to be that way. I have enjoyed my pregnancy immensely; I feel my positive attitude has helped my pregnancy to be a piece of cake. Keep preparing yourself mentally and I think you will be surprised at how beautiful your birth experience will be :-)

      Reply
  18. Hi Krystal,

    I think fear is about thinking of the worse case scenario. Our anxiety increases when we don’t know what to expect. We want to know how things are going to turn out. When we don’t have that knowledge we fill in the unknown with our fears and imaginations. What you’ve done is courageous. Instead of allowing your fears to paralyze you, you took a proactive stance by re-educating yourself, thus decreasing your trepidation and changing your mindset to look forward to and know that you’re going to be a new mom to a baby that will show you unconditional love.

    This quote really hits home for me:

    “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair

    Thank you, Krystal!

    Eugene

    Reply
  19. Great insights Eugene, you have given me a little something to think about!

    Reply
  20. Krystal Enjoy this time without fear!, this is the best thing it could happen to you!

    Instead of fearing please feel the lucky you are! there are lots of women out there willing to have a baby and they cant…

    Reply

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