I have always wanted to have a baby. It was a dream of mine. It was an idea that collided with my deepest, greatest fear – the fear of childbirth! (My fear was becoming a phobia: tokophobia!) So when my wish actually materialised and I got pregnant, the first thought that struck me was: I have to give birth to this baby!!!?
I decided to cross that bridge when I got to it, and took one day at a time. And I really enjoyed my pregnancy, but my fear often kept up at night. I remember thinking: I can’t do this! I am not capable of enduring so much pain, of tearing my body apart to get a human being out of it!
(By the way, if you have friends who go through the same thing, telling them that millions of women have done it before them, and the majority didn’t die in the procces, does NOT help!)
My bump was getting bigger and bigger and my fear was growing with it!
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved my baby since the very moment I found out I was pregnant! My phobia had nothing to do with him! I have always wanted him! I just didn’t know how I was going to bring him into the world without dying!
I wondered why I was so afraid.
- My mother’s experience?
My mother had hidden from me the struggle she had when I was born just because she didn’t want me to have a distorted idea about delivery. She only shared her experience after I had my baby.
- Worries about being a mum?
I was really excited about my new role and couldn’t wait to be my baby’s mother! I dare to think this is my calling on this planet! To be a mum!
- Birthing options and methods of pain control?
Check! I was afraid my body won’t be able to cope with the pain and I knew a C-section or an epidural were out of the questions if I had a choice, because of my other two phobias:
A.Trypanophobia (needle phobia)
B. Tomophobia (fear of surgery)
(Can you tell I am a little obsessed with the phobia words and that I have too many of them?)
I needed to do something to prepare myself! Again, I read a lot on the matter and I watched way too many birthing videos that I shouldn’t have watched!
I got support from my family and friends! People around me were eager to give me advice, so I told them that I only wanted to hear positive stories. I spent hours on the phone with my friend Octavia, who encouraged me a great deal and shared her wonderful birthing experience! Here is her number! (You wish!)
As I mentioned here, I took a mindfulness class together with my husband. I didn’t expect it to change anything, to be honest, but it was empowering. All women in that class were afraid of delivery! What a surprise!
Marie asked what we think would help us to prepare for delivery and overcome our fears. My answer was: Nothing! (Now I feel bad, knowing what a colossal help my husband was!)
Then she asked what exactly we were afraid of and how we imagined the pain would be like. She wrote down all the words we threw at her: burning, tearing, excruciating, stinging, pressure, stitch, unbearable, tightening, burning, sharp, cramping, twisting, etc. Then she erased all of them but a couple (pressure and cramping I think) and said: This is what labour pain feels like!
It was a lot less than we expected!
After learning about how our body works and how amazing it is, I started feeling more confident! What surprised me was the fact that our body doesn’t go into labour unless we feel safe and relaxed. So those mums who are afraid they will have their baby while their husbands are away, don’t worry! YOU make it happen!
I strongly believed in this! I believed it so deeoly that I decided to have my baby on my late grandpa’s birthday, 3 days earlier than the due date! I talked to the baby and BOOM! It happened! Just like that! (Kidding. Only about the just like that part! I really had my baby on the date I picked!)
My labour started on at night, after a very nice day I spent outside with my extended family. The pain was bearable and kind of exciting! I was so ready! It felt like something amazing was going to happen! The race was on and nothing was going to stop us from crossing it victoriously! We got our phone app out to time the contractions and when we got close to 3 minutes apart, I called my midwife. She came to our house and checked me, then we went to the birthing centre. Every time the car was going over a bump, I thought I was going to have my baby right there and then. (It wasn’t that easy!)
I got into a nice warm bath and my husband massaged my back with a cold water bottle (odd, I know) until I was ready to push. 2 hours later I met my precious little boy! After that, I didn’t feel any pain in my body! I was being stitched while I was holding my newborn on my chest, but I didn’t feel a pinch! After 4 hours, I went home on my own shaky feet! (Minus the very slow car ride, that we were afraid was going to break our baby.)
And this is how our new life has begun…
I had thought about my experience since and I am very proud of myself for choosing to deliver naturally, without any medication. I think I was afraid of the unknown and the pain and I had no idea how strong I was nor how important it was to have someone on my side! It was great team work! Believe it or not, you are stronger than you think and you can do it too!