or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Homebirth › Friend has chronic fear about her upcoming homebirth
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Friend has chronic fear about her upcoming homebirth

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have a friend who has been one of my BFFs since highschool... we live in a pretty crunchy community and she embraces all variations of natural living... but sometimes I feel like she's doing it for her image rather than something that she really believes in..  She gave birth to her 10 year old (at a young age herself) in a hospital and had a really traumatic experience... and 5 years later me and other friends started having our own kids... with a midwife... at home... she is now pregnant again, and has decided to use the same midwife as the rest of us, and I have been very excited and supportive of her.  I really want her to experience the beauty of what her body is able to do...  She has never talked about WHY she is having a homebirth... she has no foundational information on why it's good, or safe or better than a hospital... she is totally clueless about it.  Not that I haven't passed along information, just that it goes in one ear and out the other...  I have this nagging thought that she is choosing homebirth to "keep up with the Jones' "  (particularly this other friend that she has had raging jealousy issues with... who just had a homebirth last year)

 

She is due in 3 weeks.. and just in the last week or so her fear about the upcoming birth has spiraled almost out of control.  She has a history of manic/depressive tendencies, and has always been a bit immature when it comes to her mental health.  So as much as I share with her the realities of what her body is capable of and how safe it is, I fear she can't really grasp it... ( I know, I'm a bad friend with little faith in her)  I would never tell her I'm worried about how this will all turn out, but I really am worried about her labor.  She also won't tell her midwife any of this... which is totally unfair to her midwife!!!  She won't read the books I keep suggesting (Spiritual Midwifery and Birthing from Within...)

 

She is also a ICU nurse, and so at her appts she goes into nurse mode... she doesn't just relax and enjoy the relationship with her midwife.. it's all very official... she just texted me this: "I'm Trained to look at stats and evidenced based stuff ya know an I'm just freaked out something will go wrong like with (son)  now I'm all worked up-and (midwife) told me to take vit k because I bled last time so that worries me that she is worried:( sorry:("

 

Her MIL and son are scared that she is going to die, or the baby is going to die... and she just feeds their fear!!  (Her poor kid!)  I don't even know what to tell her anymore!  My last text to her was this: "make other plans, or deal with your fear!"

 

It's not even like I can step away from the issue because I'm the only person she is talking to about it... and our whole lives she has sought me for wisdom and advice (when we were younger my mom joked that I wasn't her friend I was her counselor)...

 

What more can I do?  I am afraid that she will have another traumatic experience because she is so full of fear about it...  ugh... 

post #2 of 12

Have you encouraged her to talk to her midwife about it? She needs to ask the questions about what the midwife plans to do if something happens and what the likely outcome will be. She needs to explore how she feels about these things. In an ideal situation she would have done this before hiring the midwife and not so close to the birth.  You are right. She needs to deal with these fears before she goes into labor.

post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by camprunner View Post

Have you encouraged her to talk to her midwife about it? She needs to ask the questions about what the midwife plans to do if something happens and what the likely outcome will be. She needs to explore how she feels about these things. In an ideal situation she would have done this before hiring the midwife and not so close to the birth.  You are right. She needs to deal with these fears before she goes into labor.

 

I agree with her talking to her midwife about what happens if something does go wrong. What supplies midwives have on hand during labor and what they do if something happens. If she can have everything ready, just in case, it might give her some peace of mind. This usually means knowing which hospital she will transfer to and being pre-registered. 

 

Talking with her midwife she might want to know how many women she has helped with positive home births, how many were ultimately transferred to a hospital and why. I think my daughter was my midwife's 873rd delivery. That's more than MANY doctors I would imagine, or at least pretty close. Statistics and facts like that might have the most impact on her that it is a safe option for birth.

 

When I interviewed the first mid-wife (didn't choose her) they had videos to watch about having home births. Many of the couples on the video were OBGYNs, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals (men and women) choosing a home birth because of the horrors they saw in hospitals. They saw women disrespected and didn't want that.

 

Maybe you can just talk to her and see if she'll tell you her perfect birth experience. What she thinks birth should be and how it will go? It might bring out the real reasons why she is so scared. I read another post and someone mentioned their midwife asked them "what if something goes wrong?" just to get them to state their fears in the open. Then you can help her figure it out?

 

Ultimately, it's up to her and you sound like a really good friend to help her through all this. Good luck to you (and her).

post #4 of 12

She does need to talk to her midwife.  Mine helped me so much and I was freaking out pretty badly.  I get progressively more freaked out each birth, to the point where I was crying and shaking when I started labor with my last.  I was so much calmer once my midwives showed up.

post #5 of 12

I would just tell her that it's okay to give birth in a hospital and that she doesn't have to have a homebirth if she doesn't want one.  No one should be forced either way.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each birthing place and the argument will never have a satisfactory conclusion.  However, isn't one of the main tenants of homebirth/natural childbirth/etc.  that the mother should feel safe, comfortable, and at ease with her environment and care providers?  She's 37 weeks along so if she truly feels more safe, comfortable, and at ease in a hospital than that is where she should go.  Different strokes for different folks.

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnra View Post

I would just tell her that it's okay to give birth in a hospital and that she doesn't have to have a homebirth if she doesn't want one.  No one should be forced either way.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each birthing place and the argument will never have a satisfactory conclusion.  However, isn't one of the main tenants of homebirth/natural childbirth/etc.  that the mother should feel safe, comfortable, and at ease with her environment and care providers?  She's 37 weeks along so if she truly feels more safe, comfortable, and at ease in a hospital than that is where she should go.  Different strokes for different folks.

Absolutely. Everyone should have the right to choose where they give birth and there is nothing wrong with the hospital if this is where she feels comfortable.  It sounds like you've already told her this but a heart to heart explaining that there is nothing wrong with the decision to birth in the hospital is a good idea.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by camprunner View Post

It sounds like you've already told her this but a heart to heart explaining that there is nothing wrong with the decision to birth in the hospital is a good idea.

 

ditto

post #8 of 12
Perhaps you could go with her to her next few appointments with her midwife and gently open the dialog between your friend and her midwife. I agree with the previous posters about trying to work through some of those fears with the help of her midwife and maybe she needs a little push.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnra View Post

I would just tell her that it's okay to give birth in a hospital and that she doesn't have to have a homebirth if she doesn't want one.  No one should be forced either way.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each birthing place and the argument will never have a satisfactory conclusion.  However, isn't one of the main tenants of homebirth/natural childbirth/etc.  that the mother should feel safe, comfortable, and at ease with her environment and care providers?  She's 37 weeks along so if she truly feels more safe, comfortable, and at ease in a hospital than that is where she should go.  Different strokes for different folks.

Agreed completely. 

post #10 of 12
"Quote:
Originally Posted by rnra View Post

I would just tell her that it's okay to give birth in a hospital and that she doesn't have to have a homebirth if she doesn't want one.  No one should be forced either way.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each birthing place and the argument will never have a satisfactory conclusion.  However, isn't one of the main tenants of homebirth/natural childbirth/etc.  that the mother should feel safe, comfortable, and at ease with her environment and care providers?  She's 37 weeks along so if she truly feels more safe, comfortable, and at ease in a hospital than that is where she should go.  Different strokes for different folks.

Agreed completely. "

 

erigeron- brilliant tag! 

 

Going to put my vote in with the above!!!

 

i had a friend who was truly terrified of a natural birth, and even though she had had 2 natural births, she mentally was not prepared for a natural birth.  she had the most painful labor, and from the story she tells, it was truly unbearable.  so the epidural and medical route (which she hadn't planned, at least not honestly with herself) was the only option for her.  she wasn't honest with her partner either, and he would have been supportive of either decision, but the dishonesty with herself led to a real struggle in labor, and then after birth in their trust and relationship.  with something like birth, you have to be truly honest with yourself.  i tried to convince myself that a birth center birth was close enough to a homebirth for the sake of everyone else in my life, but it never really put me at peace throughout pregnancy or labor.  2 birth center births were so hard that i finally made the choice i should have made all along- the right one for me.  but not the right one for everyone by any means!

post #11 of 12

Hum...

 

I think I may take a slightly dissenting view to the PPs and say that fear of birth is normal and lots of women experience it - even lots of hombirth women. I think it's something for her to work though as best as she can, sure, but I don't think it means she would be less afraid of a planned hospital birth. I also wonder if maybe her MW knows more about what's going on with her than we're giving credit for, yk? 

 

Also, being a nurse, she may be more analytical than you - she sounds more interested in evidence based care than the style of homebirther who would like "Birthing from Within". Maybe she needs to go there - to the "what if's" and worst case scenarios. I know that in my last weeks I started researching infant mortality rates of homebirth children and needed to re-hash my MW's postnatal procedures. 

 

I was much more afraid going into my 2nd birth than I was during the birth. At the onset of the 1st stage, I went inward and with the flow and wasn't scared. When my child was born, she was non-responsive but breathing and I thought, "Oh, THIS is what I was scared about -- this is my thing."  I am grateful for the fear I had in late pregnancy - it helped prepare me for that part of my birth. 

 

I don't know... 

 

By her text, it doesn't sound to me like she isn't internalizing anything about homebirth. 

 

How is her son hearing stories about how she may die in childbirth? This is a majorly concerning issue. The birth of a sibling is a very emotional experience for a child -- to have that wrapped up in worrying that his mother may die is too much for him. Honestly, if I were in your situation, I think that would be my main priority, concern. 

 

grouphug.gif

post #12 of 12

I think fear of birth is normal and healthy, but extreme anxiety can lead to struggles with the process.  I think the issue here is for the mom to be understood and supported and to really be dealing with her issues so that she's not entering into a situation that leads to fear and anxiety beyond what she is able to handle.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Homebirth
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Homebirth › Friend has chronic fear about her upcoming homebirth