Many women face childbirth with anxiety and fear. Usually that fear has developed over years and taken root based on birth stories, media depictions, and sometimes, just the fear of the unknown. Undoing that fear doesn’t happen overnight. But it can happen, and it did for me. The moment I found out I was expecting my first child, I was terrified to actually give birth. It wasn’t until friends blessed me with a copy of Supernatural Childbirth that I realized birth didn’t have to be bad and God would be right with me the entire time… which brings me to my first tip:
Replace Fear with Faith:
Fear is powerful. It can cause an undesired rush of adrenaline into the laboring mom’s blood stream which inhibits oxytocin and pumps the body filled with adrenaline, a response which can slow and even stall labor and delivery. But faith is exponentially more powerful.
Start building your faith before labor arrives. We have free pregnancy declarations based on scripture to encourage you in the journey. Fill yourself up with powerful, encouraging births stories, like the ones shared in Re:Birth, and start believing for more! You were MADE to be a Mom, and God MADE you to have babies! He has been a part of every birth in history, and can’t wait to be a part of yours!
Pick the Right Location:
Having a place to deliver the baby where you feel comfortable is crucial. For my first baby, I felt comfortable delivering in a hospital, I knew there would be assistance on hand if I needed it. For my third birth, I wanted to be in the comfort of my own home with my family around. Birth needs change, and desires will fluctuate, but make sure that you find a place that will help you feel secure and at peace.
You also may want to “set the mood” for birth. It’s often suggested that dim lighting is helpful during labor, pack some LED candles in your labor bag and find out if it’s ok to shut off the lights. Or if you’re at home, try out some fragrant lavender candles. Fill the atmosphere with little reminders that bring your strength and encouragement.
Choose whose word to believe:
During my second pregnancy, I filled myself with truths and was expecting the miraculous. My labor started out wonderfully, I was 7cm dilated and having some mild contractions, but I wasn’t in pain. A well-meaning nurse looked at me and said, “The only way you’re able to do this [meaning labor easily] is because your water hasn’t broken yet… once that happens, it gets a lot worse!”
I thought, “oh my goodness… what am I going to do!?!?” All the nice prep work I had done flew out of my brain in a panic, I didn’t even think back on my first birth experience which would have rendered her words untrue. Instead, believing the nurses words plummeted my birth into fear and pain.
Modern medicine can tell us one thing, but God’s got all the power. There might be a moment where you have to make a choice on whose word you’ll believe. Make that choice with a heart filled with peace, not fear!
Use Your Voice:
No, I’m not talking about yelling… although some women find making different sounds peaceful. I’m talking about being an advocate for you! This is YOUR moment, this is YOUR birth, don’t be afraid to say “no,” or to speak up! Those around you are there to assist you, if they’re not making the experience worse, say something! During my second birth, I felt very bullied by the nurse and that they were inconvenienced by my decision to have a natural birth. I had my husband go talk to the head nurse, and the dynamic changed.
I love this quote from Penny Simkin because she nails it on the head:
“Many women ‘suffer’ in childbirth, and it’s because they’re not respected, or kindly treated, they don’t have the tools to cope, or they feel unloved, or alone. If a woman crosses the line from ‘pain’ into ‘suffering’ in childbirth, we’ve failed her.”
Surround yourself with people who will uplift you, encourage you, and support you at each step of the journey!
What is your favorite piece of advice for keeping peace in labor?
 For more information, check out http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/health/myth-painful-birth-not-nearly-bad-women-believe/
Is a wife, mother of four, author of Re:Birth, and lover of afternoon naps.