After posting about the NHS's plans to offer c-sections for free in the UK, I have noticed an increase in traffic from people googling "scared of birth, should I have a c-section."
This has really touched me, and I wish there was some way I could reach out to these women and give them a hug. So here's my way - a blog post!
Preparing for birth can be a scary and overwhelming experience. I remember coming home from my first prenatal class, curling up into a ball and having a huge cry. The reality of what I was about to face hit me over the head like a ton of bricks, and I didn't know how to deal with the fear.
I studied for birth like it was a PhD comprehensive exam. When I would hear about other women's wonderful birth stories, I would suddenly become fearful - what if that doesn't happen to me? What if I can't do it? What if it all turns out "bad"?
The thing I've come to realize as a doula is that a woman who is well prepared, and well supported, can have a positive experience regardless of the outcome. Happy birth stories can happen in any hospital, with any care provider, as long as the woman feels like the director of her own experience.
Here are some information and tips for women out there who are scared of birth and considering a c-section instead:
1) What are your specific fears? There are most likely 2 or 3 things that you are dreading - for some women, it's the pain; for others, it's the possibility of a tear; others fear things like vomiting, being naked, or losing control (by making too much noise, fainting, or doing other "crazy" things)
2) Write out a plan of how you will deal with this fear if it does happen. Visualize it happening, and then visualize yourself dealing with the situation. Talk to someone about your fears, and have them work through them with you.
3) Hire a doula. Your husband can not be your "everything" and he will be scared as well. Most likely he has his own set of fears. If you can't afford a doula, ask for a friend or family member who has given birth (and who has a positive birth story to tell) to support you.
4) Make sure you have a good caregiver. You all know my thoughts on midwifery care. There is no one better equipped than a midwife to calm your fears.
5) Take a GOOD prenatal class. The classes offered at the hospital are usually biased and extremely boring. Look around for prenatal educators in your community who offer alternative classes. Here are a few great ones in Ottawa:
Ottawa Childbirth Education Association http://www.ottawacea.com/
Birthing From Within Classes http://primadoulas.ca/?page_id=22
Bradley Method http://www.healthy-beginnings.ca/
It's worth the money - another option is to hire a doula who is a childbirth educator, and ask her for some one-on-one classes in addition to your prenatal appointments.
Any other tips or thoughts out there for women who are afriad of birth?