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Are birthing classes supposed to scare you??

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
On Thursday night, my husband and I attended our first birthing class. Before coming in, I had read about birth, including stages and all kinds if aspects, and felt fairly calm about it. Then, our instructor talked about pain as the first topic and showed us a video. I got very lightheaded and almost fainted while it was on—and that is not something I am prone to.

My confidence has been crushed!

Has anyone experienced this before? An I completely crazy? I know childbirth is not a comfortable experience, but I have been working hard to achieve a state of calm about it all. I sometimes wonder if part of childbirth pain is made harder by a societal construct of it being *so* painful that it in fact enhances the feeling of it. I had myself calm on the basis that my body, like all women's bodies, is built to handle it and to come through with flying colors.

I just feel helpless again!
post #2 of 15
That sounds terrible. I guess it depends on the class. I did hypnobirthing and the entire point is trusting your body and recognizing that fear creates pain. Is the focus of this class on natural childbirth? Who is the instructor (nurse, doula, etc)? Is it through a hospital?
post #3 of 15

Doesn't sound like a good class to me. I know in our area you can take a class offered by the local hospital or pay for one run by another organization - we did the latter. The instructor was a member of the LLL, a doula, and co-owner of a small business that rents out birthing tubs, etc. I specifically researched them beforehand to make sure they didn't scare DH as I was trying to get him onboard with homebirth at the time. Our midwife group also recommended them.

 

Anyway, the class covered all the pertinent physiological aspects but in a very "girl power" way. She talked about pain relief also and had epidural needles/tubes and such to show us but at no point did I feel that it would be scary or that I couldn't do it. Frankly, I think that hospital/doctor run childbirth classes may present it as scary and painful just so that you trust them more and thus don't rock the boat but rather are more likely to follow what they tell you to do, etc. However I agree with you that we are meant to do it and I think the way you approach it mentally plays a huge part in your experience.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
I just hate to complain and dwell on pain! I had bladder surgery and kidney problems as a child, so not only have I had to watch myself closely during pregnancy and really, truly listen to my body, but I have also experienced great degrees of pain in my life in my lower regions thanks to that ordeal. I grew out of it as I got older, thankfully, but I have a scar in the same spot as a c-section from when I had surgery at 9, and I was also left with a fear of IV's. blood tests, I can handle—anything that has to stay in my body, forget it! LOL!

Thank you for your responses! The instructor is a certified childbirth/BF'ing educator. She's very nice, almost a little too sugary/peppy at times, but that's better than getting a Dickensian schoolmarm, if I really think about it. She said that we will be going over all options for childbirth. When I started my pregnancy I was a little unnerved by the idea of natural childbirth, but as I became more comfortable with the concept of "being pregnant" and I did more research to reduce my lack of knowledge, I am more open to the idea of a natural childbirth as long as nothing goes wrong. My aim is to avoid a c-section and IV's! I hope there is no emergency. Anyway, the class is offered through my hospital. We are in the process of moving so I am unsure if I can really do a home birth, and sadly a doula is not covered by our insurance =( A midwife I had been seeing through our clinic was just terrible; but we've switched to a physician who has prior experience as a midwife and I love her. She's calm, empowering, and didn't give me guff yesterday when I told her ice taken to red raspberry leaf tea with no complications following. As far as doctors go, I think I lucked out in finding someone. I told her the birth class scared me and she laughed and told me that they can be very dramatic... I felt better hearing her say that.
post #5 of 15
Well, there are things you can do while pregnant to try to ensure a smooth birth. Pregnancy teas, such as RR and nettle (there are other herbs that can be used closer to your due date). There are natural things you can do to min risk of GBS. I used acupuncture to avoid induction. I usually see a naturopath while pregnant to help me. You might want to do that or do some reading/research on natural pregnancy, if you're interested. Your mental state is also important so yoga and meditation can be very useful prenatally.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm definitely on a red raspberry leaf / nettle / alfalfa / spearmint regimen, and I love it!
post #7 of 15

Your doctor sounds lovely!

 

Are you still feeling concerned?  In your first post, it sounds as though you wonder if your confidence is crushed, it may affect your ability to cope with pain?  I remember having similar fears before my first birth.  On the one hand, I wanted to be positive, because I didn't want to scare myself into pain.  On the other hand, I didn't want to be unrealistic and then unprepared by pain.  It was very confusing!

 

Birth does hurt for most women, but humans are adaptable and we have so many ways to rise to the occasion. It's a balance we learn to walk as parents - learning where we have our power and where we have our surrender.  

 

I no longer put very much stock in anyone who says you just have to not be fearful and then you won't experience pain.  Fear and pain are very important signals from the body, and their purpose is to help keep us safe and to help us nurture ourselves.  These signals help us tune into what is important to us, and where our needs and boundaries are.  What I have found more useful when encountering fear and pain is to be very honest with myself, to reach out to people around me, and to try to find a way to breathe into that fear, or that pain, without judgment, without trying to force it away, without trying to cling to it.  Sometimes then, we know as best as we can in that moment, "Now I need anesthetic relief," or "Now I need to get up and move."  Or, "Something isn't right, I need help."  Or, "I can do this, I got this."  "Someone tell me what I need to do.  I trust you."  "I know what I need to do.  I trust myself."  Sometimes we just know we are hopeless and helpless and that is ok, because we are human.

 

In your later post, you describe going through some very intense pain as a child and the way that has affected you.  Do you have a plan for dealing with your triggers (IVs?) - so that in the event you needed one, you can have maximum control and sense of safety in the situation?

post #8 of 15
I'm sorry that you were scared by your CB class. I truly get it. Honestly - it's not as terrifying as it seems when you are in the moment. Yes, it hurts, but it is somehow, also, okay.
You can do it. I just wanted to encourage you mama.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
@Cyclamen, that's how I feel! I don't want to be naive and walk in expecting *no* pain, but I don't want to walk in with a mindset that would exasperate matters. I've had friends who have worked themselves and their babies up into a tizzy to the point of harm before... and while I know that everyone operates differently and that no one can be blamed for what happens in the midst of everything, I still would like to do a good job of preparing in order to work to avoid doing anything like that. I want to start off properly! As for past triggers... you bring up an excellent point. My husband and I have talked about it. I am one of those people who can face fears *when* they come; I think it's the anticipation of something I don't like that kills me. He tells me I am one of those people who frets and frets before something big happens, like work deadlines/presentations or events or other planned things that carry an ounce of dread to them, but then I get in the middle of it and I don't freeze and I'm fine. I hope his observation is astute and he's not saying that to make me feel better =) For now, I will have to work it out logically that if I need an IV, that it's for the baby's safety and that if I let this thing stick in my hand for just a few hours, that I will increase my chances of us coming home with our sweet girl in healthy, happy conditions =)

@Dia, thank you, mama =)
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by electricalaskan View Post

@Cyclamen, that's how I feel! I don't want to be naive and walk in expecting *no* pain, but I don't want to walk in with a mindset that would exasperate matters. I've had friends who have worked themselves and their babies up into a tizzy to the point of harm before... and while I know that everyone operates differently and that no one can be blamed for what happens in the midst of everything, I still would like to do a good job of preparing in order to work to avoid doing anything like that. I want to start off properly! As for past triggers... you bring up an excellent point. My husband and I have talked about it. I am one of those people who can face fears *when* they come; I think it's the anticipation of something I don't like that kills me. He tells me I am one of those people who frets and frets before something big happens, like work deadlines/presentations or events or other planned things that carry an ounce of dread to them, but then I get in the middle of it and I don't freeze and I'm fine. I hope his observation is astute and he's not saying that to make me feel better =) For now, I will have to work it out logically that if I need an IV, that it's for the baby's safety and that if I let this thing stick in my hand for just a few hours, that I will increase my chances of us coming home with our sweet girl in healthy, happy conditions =)

@Dia, thank you, mama =)

 

I'm the same as you, it sounds like.  I like to fret over things and over-analyze how something may be.

 

A few things that were incredibly helpful to me when preparing for birth, was to read positive birth stories.  I found many right here on mothering.  I made a little folder and printed out the inspirational ones that spoke to me.  This can be your reminder that you are not alone in your journey and many women have felt what you will feel and they have come through it. 

 

I also highly recommend reading Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth.  You are 100% correct that fear of the pain and birth can block you.  It can create a longer labor if you don't find a way to release and let go and just let the labor wash over you.  There are a lot of helpful affirmations, imagery and borth stories in this book that may help give you your confidence back.

 

There will be pain, but it will be manageable pain with the right preparation and mind set going into it.  The key thing to always keep in mind, that each rush brings your baby closer to home.  :-)

 

I agree completely with the PP who talked how pain is an important part of the process, and being in tune with your body to listen to it and it serves to tell you what is going on.

 

I know doulas are not covered by insurance, but they truly are worth it!  Many doulas have sliding scale fees, payment plans and even offer bartering agreements.  They could help ease your mind through your pregnancy, as they are there, available to help you, from the moment you sign a contract with them.  They can help you come up with affirmations and coping techniques to manage the pain much, much easier. 

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix~Mama View Post

 

I'm the same as you, it sounds like.  I like to fret over things and over-analyze how something may be.

 

A few things that were incredibly helpful to me when preparing for birth, was to read positive birth stories.  I found many right here on mothering.  I made a little folder and printed out the inspirational ones that spoke to me.  This can be your reminder that you are not alone in your journey and many women have felt what you will feel and they have come through it. 

 

I also highly recommend reading Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth.  You are 100% correct that fear of the pain and birth can block you.  It can create a longer labor if you don't find a way to release and let go and just let the labor wash over you.  There are a lot of helpful affirmations, imagery and borth stories in this book that may help give you your confidence back.

 

There will be pain, but it will be manageable pain with the right preparation and mind set going into it.  The key thing to always keep in mind, that each rush brings your baby closer to home.  :-)

 

I agree completely with the PP who talked how pain is an important part of the process, and being in tune with your body to listen to it and it serves to tell you what is going on.

 

I know doulas are not covered by insurance, but they truly are worth it!  Many doulas have sliding scale fees, payment plans and even offer bartering agreements.  They could help ease your mind through your pregnancy, as they are there, available to help you, from the moment you sign a contract with them.  They can help you come up with affirmations and coping techniques to manage the pain much, much easier. 

 

I love the positive birth stories on here! I read a number of them on the Red Raspberry Tea Leaf Tribe thread; in fact, drinking the tea is making me feel like I have some kind of say, hopefully, in what will happen. Whether it's *true* or not, we will see, but in the meantime I am happy to drink my tea and stay positive =) I think it's wonderful that so many mamas are willing to share their stories here and it's been so great to read through them! =) I have a friend upstairs from us in our building who loved her doula and has been talking to me a little about it. Since my husband and I are rearranging finances for the baby and other upcoming life changes, money is a little tight but I will talk to him, for sure.

post #12 of 15

electricalaskan, it sounds like you are feeling really good being able to do these positive things for yourself.  I also like having little special things to do for myself when I am pregnant.  The last time I was pregnant, I had these little rose quartz tumblestones that I would put in my bath or hold in my hands and just imagine myself being held and loved.  Sounds so corny, but it was such a soothing activity and for me, taking care of myself goes really far towards building my calm and confidence.  I'm also drinking the red raspberry leaf tea, because I love the taste, and same thing, I figure it's one of those "can't hurt, might help" things.

 

I've never had a doula but one of my friends is and she says that she really loves the birthing class she is taking through the doula.  I'm actually thinking of taking a birthing class even though this is my third baby.  I've never done it before and it just sounds like it might be a nice thing to do.

post #13 of 15

Eeeeeek, sorry this happened.  Here is a link that may soften the fear and offer you tips to have a tad more control over the situation.  As a childbirth educator comments from my student really help me as to how I present information.  Please consider telling your teacher how you feel before too much time passes.  http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ClickedLink=262&ck=10191&area=27

post #14 of 15

You don't need to have a homebirth just so you can take different childbirth classes! In fact I would say that it would be very helpful to take a better class especially if you're having a hospital birth so that you can have a better mindset going in.

 

And yes, many/most women find that childbirth hurts. I did, but I have to say though it was intense, I never felt like I couldn't do it. I compare it to a hard workout or long distance running - yup, it hurts and you have to work through it to come out the other end. But it feels so satisfying when you've done it. And to me it's not the pain that is the most scary but feeling out of control or frightened - that's where having your mind in the right place really helps.

 

Not sure if you have heard of the "hypno" programs, Hypnobabies or Hypnobirthing. I did Hypnobabies and although I didn't manage to complete the program before DD decided to show up (early!) I thought it was helpful. You could probably even download the audio tracks of their positive affirmations to listen to even if you aren't interested in the program. It's basically like a 15 minute or so recording of positive messages about your body and your ability to birth your baby. In the program you listen to it daily while relaxing and breathing deeply (I used to do it either laying in bed or even on the train during my commute to work).

post #15 of 15

These signals help us tune into what is important to us, and where our needs and boundaries are.  What I have found more useful when encountering fear and pain is to be very honest with myself, to reach out to people around me, and to try to find a way to breathe into that fear, or that pain, without judgment, without trying to force it away, without trying to cling to it.

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