Fear of Childbirth Pain: Advice from Real Moms

What do you tell a friend when she is so afraid of pain during childbirth that there is no doubt in her mind she will get an epidural? …Or what if this person is you?

We asked our facebook Mama Goddesses what they would say to a woman who has fear for pain in childbirth.  Please feel free to forward this to a friend who needs it – these are powerful, empowering statements from real moms who have had natural births, coming straight from their hearts and experience.

“The pain will never be more than her because it is her.  Ina May says that, if she feels herself tightening up, blow horse lips, it will automatically make her loosen up, don’t think of it as pain but thing of it as energy or waves or something that isn’t a negative.  Outside of transition, the rest is easy and can be helped with counter pressure, water, changing positions. Hire a doula!” – Sarah J.

Get in water, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. I felt the best with someone pressing hard on my tailbone, it relieved so much of the pressure. It will hurt but it will be over, and you will forget very quickly!” – Michelle B.

“Yes, it may be painful, but it is CONSTRUCTIVE pain.” – Kaitlin R. P.

“That’s a challenge! With so much fear, that will be a definite hindrance to an easy labor. I would concentrate on emphasizing that the pain comes and goes, so you get breaks, and that there are things to do beside drugs (all the stuff mentioned above) to help alleviate it. Also, I’d try to help my friend learn ways to cope with the fear. That will make it so much easier to cope with the pain.” – Kerry P. H.

The pain isnt like typical pain… it can be empowering. Take control of it & keep thinking about what it is your body is doing. the more you keep yourself in control, the better you can focus on what you have to do. With an epidural, the intensity isn’t there & sometimes, you need that to get the baby out safely. When I had my daughter, the cord was around her neck.. I needed to get her out. With the next contraction, i pushed with everything I had & she was born. I don’t know if i could have done it if i didn’t have the intensity of the contraction to actually help me get “in the zone” :)” – Carolyn M.

“READ THE HYPNOBIRTHING BOOK! 🙂 xxx” – Maeve M.

“I would encourage her to talk with LOTS of us who have birthed naturally…and with some who have had epidurals. The former group can help create a healthier vision of what labor is like…the latter (such as my daughter who had an epidural for a surgery) can talk about the down side of epidurals. My daughter swore she would NEVER have another epidural and she birthed 2 babies at home without interventions. She is my hero– Sarah Reddin, a BBH member. Her labors were long and intense, but she never ever wanted the side effects of an epidural.” – Kate N.

“…free yourself of the notion of pain..use different language cos it’s self perpetuating otherwise. And it’s really important to look at the whole birthing experience as this most incredible journey and at the end of it you get to meet one of the most important, inspiring and amazing people of your whole life..the love is incredible.. that’s what she will hopefully focus on…” – Maeve M.

“I think in our culture we have been engrained to fear birth pain. Husband coached childbirth changed my idea of this. Yes, it’s intense and it can be painful, but there is a reward for all of it. It’s best to re-think the pain in childbirth as work “labor”. True hard work always pays off in the end and in this case, you get the best gift of all. The pain is momentary. When it gets as bad as you think, it’s already going away. We are just brainwashed by media and people who don’t know real normal birth to be afraid. Fear creates revenue!” – Kristina S.

“I would tell her that it isn’t the kind of pain you know. Not like a sprain or broken bone. It’s more like the pain of hard work, like running a marathon. It’s doable. I had back labour with the first one, and it was 24hrs long. the contractions are like tightening muscles, your body bringing out baby. It’s like the biggest and hardest workout! You know like Jillian MIchaels workouts! Educate yourself, find positions that help labour, like the ball or squatting. Having a Doula or Midwife will help! The worst thing you can do is tense up, you gotta let it all hang out!! 🙂 When you tense up you are fighting the contrations, and that hurts!!! You gotta relax let your body do it’s thing, then it’s not painful, just a marathon:) BREATHE!” – Lauralee D.

The power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you, because it IS YOU. ~ Unknown” – Beth P.

“I found the hypnobabies material very good to reduce fear, encourage deep relaxation, and remove sensations heightened by fear.” – Wild Plum Wellness

“There is more time spent in labour between contractions than in them.” – Ainsley T.

“The labor pains rushes bring one step closer to your beautiful baby. Labor prepares you for obstacles of parenthood a reflection of the new life to come. The contractions are do able give in surrender yourself to them don’t resist. The pain is what you make it. The pain can be orgasmic.” – Barbara-ann H.

A giant heartfelt thanks to the mamas above who shared with us their wisdom.  And remember, this wisdom is inherent in all of us.  Birth is a powerful re-birthing process for us, and it will bring out all the baggage we’ve carried throughout our lives.  Pregnancy and birth are times to release all of that and honor our abilities to be free of societal conditioning, past trauma and hurt.  We do this so that we can offer the best to our beautiful children who are doing the most challenging and amazing work of all: leaving our wombs to come out into this physical existence!

Fear can be a catalyst to re-birth.  Releasing that is a powerful process, and if we can do that – no matter how the birth turns out, it will be an empowering opportunity to bring two brand new lives into the world: your baby’s, and yours.

Keywords and further reading:

  • Epidurals: Medical Risks
  • Hypnobirthing
  • Orgasmic Birth

(Please feel free to add more resources!)