By Alyssa Johns
Have you heard all those sayings about how you manifest the thing on which you focus your energy? Like if you spend all your time focusing on the thing you’re afraid of, you tend to act in a way that makes that thing more likely to come true? Believe that idea or not, let’s talk a little bit about how it may look in labor and birth.
We all have fears when it comes to labor and birthing, whether it’s our first baby or our fifth. There is a fear of the unknown, the thought that this time we may not be able to do it. We are aware of all the variables and how unpredictable labor can be, so we cannot help but have fears and doubts pop up in our minds in the time leading up to labor. As common as those fears are, we have to avoid falling into the trap of focusing on those fears as our labors approach.
Let me give you an example. Say I am extremely worried about tearing during the birth of my baby. If I am focusing on that fear, what is likely to happen in my labor? At the moment of all that pressure that I need to move through, I will tense up because I’m afraid of moving my baby out. A mother birthing a baby through tense tight muscles is much more likely to tear than a mother that is focusing on relaxing every part of herself around that baby’s head. I’ve seen this be the case at births I’ve attended. So in this instance, by focusing on my fear, I tense up, and I actually increase the chance that my fear will come true.
So what do we do with these fears? How do we keep from focusing our energy on them? There is a beautiful opposite that we can focus on instead. The opposite of everything we are afraid of is everything we want. A fear of tearing might pop up in your head, but what you really want is for your tissues to stay intact through the birth. A fear of a home birth turning into a hospital transfer is really just about the desire to birth at home. The opposite of focusing on fear, is focusing on what you want.
Take your fear, and turn it around: