Phew! This thread is sweet relief.
I've been trying to talk myself out of the fact that I am pretty nervous about labour this time around. I've been doing hypnobabies and really trying to take the advice about keeping a positive mindset to heart. But, deep down, I definitely have some anxiety and maybe I should just let it out already!
I don't have much to complain about from my first birth, it was a pretty textbook homebirth... Long story short: it was just far more intense (and longer - 24 hours) than what I was expecting. It was high and dry the hardest thing that I've ever done in my life. In the days right after I couldn't decide if I was more impressed with myself for going so much further than I thought possible, or if I was more traumatized by the intensity of it all.
I spoke to my midwife about these thoughts today and she had some advice that I think was really helpful. I told her that during my last labour, I felt like for a while I was just in "survival mode" trying to get through each contraction. It sounds crazy, but I really think had pretty much forgotten that I was going to get a baby at the end of it all. We talked about how this time around, I'm really going to try to keep the big picture in mind and think of how each contraction is bringing me closer to holding a baby in my arms. The second thing that we talked about was that even though it might be producing some anxiety that I didn't have the first time around, knowing what labour is (or at least, can be...) like is also reassuring. Because I now have some proof that even when I think I can't... I can do it! The last thing she said about this was that it's important to "start fresh" with each labour and not try to read what's happening this time around in terms of what happened last time around.
I don't know if any of this is helpful for anyone else on this thread, or if I'm even doing justice to what she actually meant. My hope for all of us is that labour this time around is a healing and joyful (if also really hard and humbling) experience.
Go mamas go!