Don’t tell me “don’t worry”

Monday, April 25, 2016

When the subject is birth, it always comes the word fear. It can be good. Whenever we have an anticipated fear, we have an opportunity to work on that and to get stronger. However, I don’t want to hear an empty “don’t worry”. It invalidates my feelings, and instead of solving what is behind my fear, asks me to deposit all my trust in those words or in who is saying them.
Think about school or college, when you have a test coming up, you prepare yourself, make suppositions on what waits you on the exam. The amount of subjects you will be asked to study will probably be more than it can fit on test, but since you don't know what is going to be asked, it is good to know the most you can about them all. The more you feel prepared and trust yourself, the fearless you will feel. You can fear having a blackout during the exam, questions being harder than you have prepared for, but you are prepared and trust you can do your best. I think we can compare this process of getting ready for an exam with the learning process we all go through during pregnancy. We read and get to know more than we will probably face, but birth is unpredictable, we would rather know more (or realize a Doula could help ). You may fear that you will forget what you have learned on your birth classes when you are in labor, or that contractions will be harder than you can handle, but you are prepared, you saw many videos, read, had a birth class, but everything will be a knowledge for you already, if they are reminded to you, there willl be no more space for fears. For both cases, hearing a “Don’t worry”, doesn’t help much. Instead, positive affirmations would work greatly. 
Positive words, please! - I love this pin my midwives had on their office.

Fear is an important feeling.  In the book “Birthing from within" the authors states that worry is the work of pregnancy. They state it is not good when a first time mom thinks she has it all figured out since she may not be truly prepared for what waits her. A way to work the fears would be by trying to answer those questions:
  •          “What would you do if this worry/fear actually happened?
  •          What do you imagine your partner (or birth attendant) would do/say?
  •          What would it mean about you (as a mother) if this happened?
  •          How have you faced crisis in the past?
  •          What, if anything, can you do to prepare for, or even prevent, what you are worrying about? What’s keeping you from doing it?
  •          If there is nothing you can do to prevent it, how would you like to handle the situation?”[1]
Our fears will not disappear because we don’t think or talk about them, neither will they happen just because we do. Working on them, but keeping them on a “cloud”, where you can reach how you have prepared for, if you actually face that fear, is a way to worry productively.
There are so many worries we face after getting the two lines on the pregnancy test. Work them on yourself, talk about them, with your partner, care provider, friends, Doula. Your feelings matter. Your birth matter.
 Less “Don’t Worry”, more “let’s talk about it”.

 [1] ENGLAND, P AND HOROWITZ, R, “Birthing from whithin”, Partera Press Albuquerque, NM, 1998.

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