Are you scared to give birth again?
Having a baby can be a scary experience. The first time I found out where babies came from, I was just 12 years old in secondary school.
A teacher mentioned that babies came out of the vagina.
I was beyond shocked! Somehow, I always thought babies came out of the bum (I know, I know, don’t laugh).
In fact, thinking back, that’s the first time I got really terrified of giving birth. I could not imagine how a big baby could come out of such a tiny space.
Ha! The miracle of birth!
Today, I’m certainly no longer 12 and now have two beautiful babies.
The first birth was not very smooth.
My son was born by forceps and I had tears and an episiotomy that took 6 months to completely heal (not the best of experiences for a first-time mum).
As a result, I was scared of labour second time around. I didn’t want another episiotomy!
Thankfully, I had a very POSITIVE second birth with minimal secondary tears that healed in 2 weeks.
And I’m here to tell you that YOU TOO can have a POSITIVE birth despite how rough or difficult your first birth experience was.
I’ll show you how you can overcome your fear of giving birth again. How you can have the birth of your dreams- calm and without you losing control throughout the process.
The tips I’m sharing are the exact things I did for a beautiful birth.
Wanna find out what they are? Keep reading…
#1. IDENTIFY YOUR FEARS
You are pregnant with your second baby and scared.
I know. I’ve been there too.
First, let me tell you that all your fears are legit whatever they are. Don’t let anyone DISCOUNT them!.
Second, I think as experienced mums, because this isn’t our first rodeo, we know what to expect. But we also know all the ways things can easily go wrong.
That in itself is enough to make us anxious about birth the second time around.
A lot of different things/scenarios can cause a fear of birth. And it varies for different women. Yet, there are particular things that can trigger labour fear in YOU.
You need to identify what your triggers are.
The question is what are you really terrified of?
- of the unbearable labour pain?
- complications arising and you will not be in control of your birth like before?
- that you will have a tear, episiotomy, forceps, or ventouse delivery?
- you’ll have to endure a long, painful labour only to have another emergency caesarean section?
- your baby getting stuck again and refusing to progress?
- that you will die during birth?
Or something else I’ve not listed above?
Knowing what you are scared of will require some deep reflection, thinking time and introspection.
I truly believe this is a first and crucial step in you getting over your fear of giving birth again.
Ask yourself important and perhaps uncomfortable questions
Dig deep. Sit down and ask yourself these and similar questions:
- What experience(s) would I rather not have repeated this time?
- How did I feel after the birth of my first child?
- What one thing do I regret about the previous birth?
- What one thing would I like to experience this time around?
This process can be quite emotional and bring back some unpleasant memories so be forewarned.
You may NOT be able to go through this process on your own. That’s okay too.
If you feel you need help with this, you can consider getting help from a Birth Trauma Counsellor or a consultant midwife to debrief your birth.
No matter how long ago your previous birth was it’s very important you do this.
Many women don’t talk much about how traumatic they felt their birth was. Either because they feel others may discount it as not that bad or because they feel society expects them to chalk it up, after all, women give birth every day.
“Even if everything seems completely ok to an outsider during birth, if a woman perceives that she or her baby is threatened with damage, or feels horror, fear or helplessness at a procedure- even if this procedure is routine to medical staff-she can experience this as a traumatic event, REGARDLESS of having a healthy baby”Birth Trauma Truths
What you need to remember is that your birth story is valid. How you felt about the experience is very important.
So much so, it can go on to affect your mental health during the postpartum period. Many women develop postpartum depression just because of a bad birth experience.
It is that serious.
So, please take out time to debrief before your second birth. The book, How to heal a bad birth is another great resource that will help you immensely.
It will help you identify your pain points about your previous birth experience. And clarify your thoughts on how you would like this birth to go.
#2. TALK ABOUT YOUR FEARS
Now that you have identified your fears, the next step is to tell the people close to you about them.
Writing them down can be helpful in helping you clarify your thoughts, experiences and reflections.
It’s very important that you tell your husband how you are feeling. Let him know what you are scared of. Also, let him know what your ideal birth is.
He is going to be with you in the labour room and needs to know how best to help you and advocate for you to have the birth you desire.
The more he knows, the better he understands, and the more he can help you. Because he wants the best for you.
Also, tell the community midwife looking after you throughout your pregnancy.
She should be able to get you a birth debrief with a consultant midwife.
If you find your midwife to be dismissive, don’t give up, be PERSISTENT. I find that sometimes with the NHS, you have to be persistent to get your requests seen or looked into.
PERSONAL STORY: With my first pregnancy, I tore and also had an episiotomy. Healing took a long time for me and I didn’t want another episiotomy.
I spoke to my community midwife and thankfully, she didn’t dismiss me. Instead, she encouraged me to try perineal massages which I hadn’t heard of before then.
And though, I did tear but it was minimal and healed in 2 weeks.
#3. ASK FOR HELP
If you scared of giving birth again, you should ask for help.
How do I mean?
To deal with your fear, you need help with processing the previous traumatic birth as we discussed earlier.
You may need help clarifying your thoughts about the last birth. Discussing and narrating your ordeal with a professional can provide the help you need.
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
I know a lot of women struggle with asking for help, I inclusive. But, we all need help at some point and there is no shame in admitting that.
Seek help from professional health officers
You may also ask for caseload care.
This is when you have the same midwife attend to you throughout your pregnancy to your birth and the postnatal period.
You may find that having a familiar, kind face will ease your fears during labour.
Many women complain that they felt out of control during their birth. Especially when things happen that weren’t part of their plan or that they could not influence like having an emergency c-section.
You can consider asking your birthing midwives to let you know what is happening at each stage of labour so you are carried along and can get some semblance of control and not feel that major decisions were taken out of your hands.
Hire a doula
Another great way to get external help is to hire a doula.
Doulas are non-medical people that help women to have the kind of birth that she desires.
Doulas help to ensure that you have the birth you want.
They help you manage pain in labour. Remind you of breathing techniques to keep you relaxed during contractions and much more.
#4. LEARN ABOUT LABOUR AND DELIVERY
One thing I discovered after the birth of my first son, was how little I really knew about childbirth.
All I knew was what I learnt in the free antenatal class I attended in my third trimester. And while they covered the basics, there was so much more that was left off the table.
Like I mentioned earlier, there were a couple of complications with my first birth and that opened my eyes to the knowledge gap I had.
So, I spent a great deal of my third trimester getting informed about labour and childbirth and knowing my options.
Like me, you may feel that you have a lot more to learn about labour and delivery. I’ll encourage you to please read, watch and do your own research.
Check out antenatal classes
A good place to start is by attending a
good great antenatal class.
I now recommend paid classes but if getting one is out of your reach right now, these antenatal classes on YouTube are a good place to start.
You can also take refresher antenatal classes. These are antenatal classes for second-time parents. It can be especially useful if you have huge age gaps between your kids.
More learning platforms
If you are more of a reader (well, you most likely are, you are reading this post after all), then find resources online, blogs like this one, the NHS website is a good resource.
If you are more of a visual learner like me, then check out YouTube for videos on labour, breathing techniques, how to cope with labour pain, medicated versus non-medicated birth, baby induction etc.
Another person you can learn a thing or two from is your midwife (if she is nice and not dismissive).
Think about it, they’ve seen so many pregnant women over the years (at least if you have an experienced midwife). So, they are quite knowledgeable about birth.
Besides, they’ve been trained for this. And many are experienced mums as well
Ask your midwife questions.
Talk to experienced mums – family and friends.
#5. EXPECTATION VS REALITY
I think every expectant mum should have a
birth plan. Okay, scratch that. I think every expectant mum should have a FLEXIBLE birth plan.
Because honestly, birth is unpredictable and even with the best-laid plans and preparations, you can’t predict or determine how things will go.
Not being fixated on a particular birth type will allow you to process things much better if your birth turns out different from what you hoped. You will still be able to feel in control of your birth.
Another helpful thing to do is to define what a positive birth story looks like to you.
For some, that might be having your baby via elective cesarean section. A position whereby you feel in control without any surprises thrown at you.
For others, it might mean having an unmedicated water birth .
Whatever it is, make sure you discuss this at length with your birth partner and doula so they are on board. And can help you advocate for the birth you want and deserve.
I think it bears repeating that you can ask for an elective casearean section if that will help.
I’ll just say do your due diligence and read up about C-sections and postpartum care and recovery for a C-section.
This way, you are not caught off guard with the after-birth recovery which I hear is very different from a vaginal delivery.
#6. POSITIVE BIRTH STORIES
Positive birth stories are a gamechanger!
They give you hope!
My first son came 9 days after his due date. I didn’t like waiting and tried everything to bring my second son to come on / around his due date safely including several sweeps.
I remember reading other mums’ sweep stories on mumsnet. Especially the mums that were due around the same time as me.
One particular lady’s positive story gave me so much hope. She had a successful sweep after the second attempt.
That hope propelled me to get my third sweep on my due date.
Lo and behold, my darling son came the next morning (with some help from his dad, if you know what I mean. *wink wink).
So seek out positive stories. Check them on blogs, Youtube, mummy forums, groups, and communities.
Close your ears to horror stories. They will only terrify you the more! And that isn’t what we want.
I won’t lie. As a Christian, I was first sceptical when I heard of hypnobirthing.
I thought it was some sort of voodoo, lol. Now, I know better.
I’m no hypnobirthing expert. In fact, all I did was buy a hypnobirthing book that I read and took birth affirmations.
However, hypnobirthing helped me understand that my body was made to give birth. I was capable of doing THIS!
It also helped me understand the role of relaxation and birthing positions to the ease of birth.
Please consider hypnobirthing if you are scared to give birth again?
Hypnobirthing will help you conquer your fears by replacing distressing thoughts with peaceful thoughts and imagery.
In fact, you can sign up for this FREE Hypnobirthing class to give it a trial. It’s a 30-minute class that will give you a taste of what hypnobirthing is like.
And if like me you are wary, fear not, there is no hypnosis involved.
All it is, is a relaxation techniaque that works wonders for you!
I’ve taken this class myself, Kristin is sweet and kind and really wants her clients to have the best possible outcome.
Consider listening to empowering birth affirmations. I spent the most part of the time listening over and over again to birth affirmations during the birth of my second baby.
Shawndeya from Surfing for Birthing kept saying empowering words like:
- my birth canal opens easily
- My birth is safe and easy (my personal favourite)
- Angels are watching me
- My baby is healthy
You can listen to her on YouTube or on Spotify.
#8 TALK TO GOD
As a Christian, I’ve found so much peace from my relationship with God.
When I’m scared, worried, terrified, or afraid, sometimes it’s only God’s Word that can calm me down and give me peace.
Reading, meditating and praying scriptures for fear during pregnancy can be very helpful and give you peace concerning your forthcoming birth.
Also, listening to a Christian labour playlist is a good way to overcome your fear of childbirth.
During your baby’s birth, listening to God-inspired biblical truths in music can give you assurance that you are not alone.
God is with you and for you. And most importantly, He is in control!
Having an initimate christian community e.g a small group from church is great for sharing your burdens.
There’s so much power in cooporate prayers knowing that other believers are praying for you.
Remember that no two births are the same.
The fact that your first birth was difficult and rough doesn’t mean you can’t have a POSITIVE one this time around.
Don’t forget that for a good birth, you need to be FLEXIBLE about your birth plan.
In addition, don’t be afraid to seek counselling and support to feel confident in your choice.
If you choose not to go for a natural labour, have an Elective C-section.
If you choose to have a natural birth, remember that second births are nearly always easier and faster than the first.
Most importantly, do what will make you feel in control of your birthing process. Choose what is best for you and don’t mind what other people think.
Remember this is YOUR decision not your midwife’s and not your husband’s.
Finally, if you are reading this and you are scared of giving birth again, please believe that your birth CAN be better the second time around.
God is with you and I’m praying for you!