I wan't afraid the first time, and I'm not afraid this time. With my dd's birth I knew that I was going to need to surrender and was able to figure out how to do that. I fully expected pain and that didn't bother me. My sister gave me advice once, in totally different circumstances, "this too will pass." And it will.
Some people are afraid of the pain...but it is the best pain you'll ever experience. Nothing like breaking your leg or something...you're birthing your child! But I've never been afraid of pain; rather I think of it as a necessity of life (character building, if you will). I was a second child though, and my sister inflicted a lot of pain on me growing up (now we're best friends
) and truly, it made me stronger. I've actually opted for no Novocaine for minor fillings because I hate that more than the little pain from drilling.
I didn't go into it expecting to "manage the pain" I just wanted to get through it. That I think is the tougher part...how to find your way through it without letting the pain get to you.
I'm an introvert and I think that served me well preparing for and experiencing labor. I didn't go into it thinking anyone else would be able to help me through it (although I wanted people there nonetheless); I just knew it was up to me. And I was able to go inside myself and experience birth very quietly and calmly. Early on though, I was expressing myself in a kind of frantic way and my midwife told me that I was using up my energy that way (she said it better than that though
) and I got it immediately and changed what I was doing and kind of found my place.
I'm really fortunate though; I was raised by a midwife turned OB nurse (who had the last three of four babies at home) in an extended family that loves birth and isn't afraid of it. I had witnessed six births (between the ages of 2 & 25) before giving birth myself. I wrote my dd's birth story for my midwife's newsletter and talk a lot more eloquently (I hope) there than I have here. I posted
it for those who are interested.