Facing the fear

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I wanted to write something about fear. Today at BaBs (Birthing and babies Community group) our topic was ‘Ceasarean, what is it, and how to have a good one’. And no pregnant women turned up! So we were sitting there with three women, two who had their babies at home and one who came especially because she had two ‘good’ ceasareans. We had the most interesting and very passionate discussion about ceasareans though, and how women who have had one get treated by other women. And we talked a whole lot about preparing for birth and facing the fact that birth can turn into a ceasarean. More after the jump…

Mostly in our modern world people love to tell you their horror birth stories as soon as they are tipped off that you are pregnant. This has led to a lot of fear in women and to a reaction of “I won’t hear or talk or interact with anything scary”. I  totally agree with trying to avoid the horror stories, because they are as unrealistic as “perfect” stories. All pregnant women need a great variety of birth stories and someone to help them digest them. But I think this fear avoidance is a dangerous place. Fear of childbirth is normal and if chosen to, it can be very productive and conducive for growth. By facing our fears whatever they might be (and believe me there are many and varied fears out there, don’t ever think your fears are wrong or that you are alone) we can enter our birth experience being at peace with the journey we are about to take, where ever it takes us.

I generally find that the women who are avoiding all the difficult stuff are the ones who attract what they don’t want. The women who won’t even go there when we talk about ceasareans, are the ones who get confronted with it during labour and birth and the ones who feel very traumatised about it as well. Worry is a part of pregnancy and it is all about talking, asking questions, maybe reading and lots of soul searching to find where you are at peace with whatever will come your way. I am not saying that women who face their fears won’t have ceasareans, but I do believe the likelihood is lower and that they are less traumatised by a ceasarean if it happens.

The other thing I have taken away from today’s BaBs group, is how we as women are judging each other. Birth is easily polarised because it is so unbelievably emotional and confronting. And we have the natural-birthers judging the women deciding to have epidurals or elective ceasers. We have the medical women scowling at homebirthers. We have women who have emergency ceasareans feeling ostracised and excluded when they talk about their birth.

It saddens me that it is so. We are women and we need to support each other and create community around this special time in our lives because no one else is going to do it for us. Women have never been so isolated and dis-empowered in this time of their lives before. This is a big reason for why BaBs is not a home birth group or a hospital group or a breastfeeding group but a group who supports all women in their particular journey.

It is an unbelievably fine line and one that is often very difficult to walk. I believe in birth, I believe women’s bodies are made to give birth, but it is just not that black or white. There are lots of emotions and experiences, cultural perceptions and lack of support which gets in the way. And therefore there is not one way any more. There is only your way!

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Birth Connection is the online presence of Childbirth Educator, Advanced Doula, Birth Story Healer, & Birthing From Within mentor, Pernille Powell. Pernille is based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.


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