When you're pregnant for the first time or even the fourth time, there are certain worries or fears that come along with that pregnancy. Which is completely normal and even expected, but we can never really hide from them. These labor fears start pretty much around the first time you Google what your first trimester is going to be like, and end only right after you deliver that little bundle of yours.
The very real and valid fears of labor come from a myriad of places and even people, including yourself. That's right. Even you trick yourself into these labor fears because, well, labor is honestly scary to think about. What can go wrong, what can last longer than you expect, and what labor means. In other words, a real live human who is going to be depending on you for everything. See? We told you that your labor fears are very real, but don't worry - we all get them.
In fact, as parents, there is always a new set of worries to be dealing with when it comes to our children. If it isn't the labor itself, it's learning to live with an infant. And if you get past the infant stage, the worries start about development. And after that, concerns about schoolwork and socializing. So the fact that you have labor fears is totally normal and just the beginning of natural parenting worries.
That probably doesn't make you feel much better, but maybe knowing where your labor fears come from will help you deal a little better with the whole thing.
Unfortunately, doctors have a way of scaring us in the months and weeks leading up to labor, and then there are the online forums where moms aren't too shy about retelling their own labor horror stories. Which, let's be honest here, you could totally do without. Of course you've also got your own imagination, in that baby brain frame of mind, going a mile a minute with everything that could go wrong or turn out differently than perfect.
But like we said, you are definitely not alone, who wouldn't be developing all kinds of labor fears, rational or not? Your labor fears come from pretty much everywhere you can think of, but conquering them isn’t too hard once you figure out where they're coming from and why.
8 The Media
There are probably a thousand and one articles you'll read and news stories you'll see about the horrors of labor and pregnancy, but there is a huge chance that you won't even encounter any of those situations yourself. Even so, when you're pregnant, headlines like "I Gave Birth To A Baby With Two Heads" and "The Things That Will Go Wrong When You Go Into Labor" seem to jump out at you.
Of course any other time in your life, you won't even bat an eye at such things, but when you're pregnant yourself, any and all pregnancy-related things in the media are suddenly very much on your radar. And those folks creating those outlandish stories know it. It isn’t fair, by any means, but it's still so normal for you to be paying extra special attention to these annoying media tidbits.
You are the prime target for parenting magazines once you become pregnant, each with advice for all the stages of parenthood and article titles that you can't help but get pulled in by. Again it's not your fault, you're curious about what's going to happen and you want to be prepared, but sometimes ignorance is bliss!
7 Movies And T.V.
You know all those awesome movies with expectant moms rushing to the delivery room in a frenzied labor? Yeah, everything leading up to those moments is always nice and sweet, but then they go and make labor look like this super hectic and super scary thing. The reality of it is that, in most cases, labor is a pretty anticlimactic thing.
Sure, the part involving actually pushing and getting your little guy or girl out is full of sweat and happy tears, but everything leading up to it is a pretty big snore fest. There’s a whole lot of waiting and TV watching and so many monitors hooked up to you that you can hardly go to the bathroom without pulling a couple of carts with you. See? Not as glamorous or crazy as the movies make it seem.
And if you have an unhealthy devotion to labor and delivery T.V. you're in for even more unpleasant representations of what delivering a baby looks like. The best thing to do is remember that every woman's pregnancy journey, including labor and delivery is an individual experience. Is it going to be easy for you? Possibly, but don't bank on it.
6 Your Doctor
Yep, that's right. That OB you've trusted so much so far is another culprit of contributing to those labor fears. Remember when you jokingly asked yours if the perineal tearing was all that common and they went on for a good 15 minutes about the very real science behind it? Yeah, not too fun, huh? While we totally get that it is literally a doctor's job to give you all of the important facts, it probably isn't necessary to completely do away with good bedside manner.
Especially when dealing with an already stressed out and hormonal pregnant woman. Yes - now is the time when it’s seriously okay to use those facts as excuses for your labor fears. Sure, they don't mean to do anything to scare you, but with doctors, they feel like they're just being helpful in giving you all of the facts, as opposed to sugar coating anything or outright lying. Are they the best people to go to if you're wondering about pooping during labor?
Probably not, but they've definitely got the sort of knowledge in all other areas that your old college girlfriends don't. And it might not even be the doctor who scares the crap out of you, it could be a technician or nurse who says something out loud about you or your baby that they don't explain, but causes you endless hours of anxiety.
5 Other Moms
Women love to share their birth stories, it's like being part of an exclusive club that you can only join once you've given birth. And while this club is fun to be a part of, standing on the cusp of belonging usually means hearing the good, the bad and the ugly of giving birth.
Other moms who are so generous with their own stories of pregnancy and labor scare you right into keeping your legs tightly shut in the delivery room. Again, these people are just trying to be as helpful as possible, but moms especially have almost zero filter when it comes to their birth story. On the one hand, it's totally understandable because what mom isn't protective and proud of the story of her little one coming into the world?
But on the other hand, you definitely do not need to hear about the quart of blood she lost during her c-section or the water birth that was far scarier than she had been told beforehand. It's all well and good that these mom friends, or sisters, or mothers-in-law mean well when they regale you with stories of their many births, but we are with you in not even needing to hear them in the first place unless they are stories of perfect, pain-free labors.
4 Online Forums
When you're pregnant and you aren't scouring over one of the pages of one of your 50 baby books, you're Googling everything you can think of about your growing baby and body. And when you exhaust all of your options in that department, you move onto to the mommy forums. It's only natural. But what you get when you keep delving deeper into the darkness of moms and moms-to-be internet groups is the stories and fears of every other mom out there.
Add that to your already long list of labor fears and you're kind of a wreck. And understandably so. While these groups might seem intimidating, it is a community of women who have been there and done that. they can help you out in a pinch and you'll even find that you develop friendships with the women form these groups. And sometimes that's what you need, a confidant who understands, but has the distance to give you space.
Online forums for moms-to-be are awesome, if you can weed out the negativity and judgments that seem to always come with them in some way. If you can do that, and find some comfort in the good things other moms talk about, then you won't have to steer clear of online communities out of fear. Instead you can join one and find answers and friendship.
3 Your Own Imagination
Unfortunately, it's sort of a fact of life that moms worry. And sometimes, that goes doubly for those moms still carrying their babies in their wombs. So even after a particularly good day of minimal nausea and hardly swollen cankles, your mind still wanders off to the worrisome possibilities of your labor. And suddenly, you're your own worst enemy.
You'll worry about the pregnancy dreams you're having where you drop your baby, or deliver a dog instead of a baby. Or the ever changing information about what's safe and what's not during pregnancy. You'll drive yourself crazy overloading your brain on all these pregnancy facts and tips. While most are helpful, there some that are just old wives' tales, but still manage to scare you well enough.
Which, let's face it, kind of sucks big time. If it wasn't enough that the Internet and your doctors had you stressing, now you've got your own weirdo baby brain to contend with. As moms, it's practically ingrained in our DNA to come up with worst case scenarios, even when it comes to the labor of our children.
Just know that these mind games you're playing on yourself won't be around forever and if you can think happy thoughts, maybe (hopefully!), you can quell some of that labor fear you're instilling in yourself.
2 Your Past Experiences
Of course that brings us here, to the fact that your own past experience with labor, if they were negative or scary or downright awful for you, are likely to sour you on the experience all together. And make you that much more worried for your labor this time around. If that's the case, then at least you've got one thing on your side - experience. You've been here before, you've gone through the delivery room process and the before and after routine.
But then again, if your other experiences weren't exactly idyllic, you're pretty much expected to expect the same this time around. And who really blames you? If that's all you know of labor personally, or all you can remember even, then sure, you'll be expecting labor this time around to be just as unpleasant. But you know how they're always saying that every pregnancy is different, yadda yadda yadda? Well, consider that for yourself too.
But don't shrug off the difference between your first or second pregnancy to this one, because no pregnancy, even in the same woman will be the exact same. You're not caught in a Groundhog Day type pregnancy, take some solace in the fact that your subsequent pregnancies are supposed to be easier, especially the delivery part.
1 The Reality Of It All
A baby? Is going to come out of there? And there's no getting around it? Yep, that's right, and you're kind of the vessel to keep this tiny human safe for the next nine months, so no pressure, right? For some expectant mamas, a huge fear of labor comes when they realize the reality of the whole situation.
Of course it wasn't lost on them before the magnitude of carrying a baby to term, but now, realizing how very real it’s all getting to be, it can be a serious wake up call in the form of fear for pregnant mamas. No, you don't really have a choice at this point, and the baby is definitely going to have to come out at some point, but look on the bright side.
And yes, there is a bright side for you. The Fact that labor will definitely happen means that you’re getting your body back to yourself, and you will start to feel normalcy return sooner than you think. Then, you've got an awesome little one to enjoy without the addition of a growing belly and a sudden outie belly button.
Having fears of labor are totally normal, especially in new mamas, but even in the more well-seasoned moms who have already been there. The world around us doesn't make it any easier, but it also gives us tips on how not to act when someone else is pregnant and turning to us for advice. Then, you can be all positive and actually refrain from giving them any labor horror stories. We bet you can't wait, right?