I’ve met so many women who have shared with me their fears and doubts about birth, pregnancy, and their uncertainty in their ability to have a healthy birth and I can completely relate to their fears as I struggled with my own for most of my life. Becoming pregnant with my first is what began my journey from moving from fear about the idea of birth and pregnancy to excitement and joy!
While I am not sharing this as a medical professional, it is always my deep hope that women can find inspiration and encouragement from my experiences for their own lives.
So this blog is not from a doctor to a patient, but rather from a sister to a sister, from a friend to friend sharing what I’ve learned from my imperfect, messy, but beautiful journeys of pregnancy and birth.
I’ve now had three healthy and joyful pregnancies followed by two incredible all natural water births and one miraculous home birth. My last birth experience was more than I ever could have hoped for and God met me in this surprise pregnancy with a birth that was beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
But I never want to paint a picture that I was some out of this world superwoman who magically had a baby with no struggles and then went on to save the world right after.
Maybe in Wakanda this bionic birth woman exists, but this girl here is probably very similar to you. Strong, fearfully and wonderfully made, but also with weaknesses, insecurities, and doubts that she wrestles with.
So what do we do with these very real doubts and fears that try to come? Especially in pregnancy, a time that can feel wonderful but also out of our control, and a time when our peace is even more vital since our emotional health now can directly affect our child.
Do we ignore these fears and move on with our lives and silently commit to never giving birth or at least never giving birth naturally?
Do we minimize them and give ourselves a militant pep talk to ‘get it together and have faith’? Do we shame ourselves and allow condemnation to come in for feeling these fears in the first place?
Do we allow them to overtake us and imagine the worst happening?
While all of us may have done one or all of these at some time, we can respond with a different approach.
We can be honest with our emotions.
I remember the incredible freedom that came to my heart when I realized I could be honest with my emotions, even my negative ones. I didn’t have to stuff them down and try to ‘fake it til I made it’.
I could share how I was really feeling, even if I knew it didn’t align with what I knew to be true. I could share with trusted loved ones in my life and especially with my Heavenly Father and release my fears to then embrace truth.
God longs for us as His daughter to experience the wholeness that authenticity brings.
He doesn’t want us to ignore our fears but to give them to Him. Not to trivialize our pain, but allow Him to fully mourn with us and bring comfort.
Some tips for Letting Go of Fears about Pregnancy and Birth:
1.Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling.
You can journal your thoughts and emotions about the pregnancy and birth not holding anything back. Or you can simply talk to God and share with Him.
“Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord” (Lamentations 2:19b)
2. After sharing, give yourself space to listen.
Ask God to share His heart with you about your pregnancy and birth, His promises for you and your child.
3. Visualize the Opposite of your Fears
This helped me so much in settling fears about the birth. In the evenings right before falling asleep I would play worship music and imagine myself having the birth I desired. I imagined myself in labor dancing, laughing, feeling so much joy and peace. I imagined myself at the hospital surrounded by positive and supportive people encouraging me. I imagined my body dilating quickly and easily, myself gently pushing, not in unbearable pain still in peace, and finally my baby girl coming into the world enveloped by love, worship, and unspeakable joy! My birth wasn’t perfect but so much of what I visualized I actually experienced the day of Sophia’s birth!
4. Trade your Fears for Faith
With every amazing birth story I found, my faith would build and build. Many of us already know the complications that can arise, we know what went wrong in the births of various family members. What we haven’t heard as often is stories of women like ourselves who were able to have births, full of peace and joy. I encourage you to look up stories of the kind of birth you want to have. I knew I wanted to have an unmedicated water birth that wasn’t just a natural event, but a spiritual one full of God’s peace and presence. I looked up “supernatural births” and “natural water births” on youtube and on my favorite pregnancy and birth site, A Heavenly Welcome.
5. Fill Yourself with Truth
There’s an old adage that Fear stands for “False Evidence Appearing as Real”. If fear comes from what’s false, truth is a great way to combat it. Reading aloud birth affirmations of God’s truth about birth and children can put us on the offensive, speaking truth in the place of the lies that can fly like darts to us especially in pregnancy.
“Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” (Isaiah 66:8)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:6-7)
6. Extend Yourself Grace
This is the most important step in my opinion. Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves. If any doubts or fears come we can think we’ve lost every spiritual victory we’ve gained up to that point. Doubts or fears can come but it doesn’t mean we don’t have faith, it doesn’t mean we’re not strong, and it definitely doesn’t mean we won’t have incredible births.
7. Start Baby Action Steps
A last way to let go of fears about pregnancy and birth is to put action steps in place to help build your confidence in those areas. For some women they may have a fear of not feeling attractive or themselves during pregnancy. For these women it might be even therapeutic to add in simple habits to their pregnancy like working out, getting dressed and doing their hair every day. For some women being alone in labor might be a fear.
Asking a few close loved ones in advance if they can try to be at the birth and keeping them updated as your pregnancy develops could help practically with that fear. For some women the idea of labor and delivery may be what really brings fear. Taking a natural childbirth class and researching about the stages of labor and what happens in your body and with your baby will help to demystify the unknown of what it may be like. Action steps empower us as women to focus on the solution rather than the problem our fears can try to magnify.
Lastly, I would share to surrender. We can imagine our ideal birth scenarios and fill ourselves with faith of positive birth stories, but pregnancy and birth is still largely out of our control. We can eat healthy, exercise, take our prenatals, go to our appointments, but we still can’t decide what day the baby will come, exactly how big or small the baby will be, exactly what medical professionals will available at the time of birth.
At some point we have to surrender our birth to God and trust that His plans are good.
This isn’t a place of defeat, but peace.
I remember with Elijah’s birth I had planned exactly how I wanted it to be. As labor began it seemed to be going the way I imagined, 6 cm dilated in and everything changed, contractions were strong and painful. It was nothing like what I expected and I felt so afraid. The birth still went very well and Elijah came quickly, but because I never let go of my idea of how the birth had to go I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I could have.
With Sophia I didn’t have a prescription for what the day had to be like, just general things I wanted to experience (mainly feeling at peace, joyful, for a quick labor and delivery, and for a healthy baby and mama at the end). The actual labor and birth was nothing like I thought it would be, but it was an incredible experience and would trade for anything!
If the unexpected happens, you can have peace knowing God is still in control and He still has good plans for you and your baby <3
I hope these tips were helpful to you and helped bring peace to your heart and mind! I am praying for you and your precious little one (present or future) in your journey of pregnancy and motherhood!
As always, I love hearing from you and responding to you. If you have any comments, questions, or insights please feel free to use the comment section to share.
Sending you so much love!