I also have fears. Many hugs to us all mamas. aileahd, your hopes for safety are so painful and palpable, I can feel them too, just reading your words. Also the pressure of being caught between the desire to be sure your baby is ok, and the desire to be in a place where you also feel safe, and the possibility there may be conflict. I hope that your baby stays in long enough that it doesn't have to be a decision you face. What a tough position to be in.
Being a mom is scary and facing birth and all of its risks are scary. Facing our past is scary. We can do it, though! We are strong!
Bethfromwa, I have been seeing a counselor for unrelated issues, but I have been processing my births and birth fears with her too, and it's been invaluable for me in understanding myself and my needs and how to get what I need to feel safe.
I have so much to say about this topic. I have trauma issues in my past that made giving birth a sensitive place for me, even before my first pregnancy. My first birth was just painful and hard, long recovery, my second birth was "easy" and easy recovery, but because of a combination of terrible bad luck and random events, my daughter died from birth injuries. And I had a manual placenta removal which was painful and scary but sort of overshadowed by everything else, so I don't know if I've really dealt with the physically traumatic aspects of that birth. I am mostly afraid of miscarrying this pregnancy. I have never had a miscarriage and I guess I feel like my number is probably up.
I have been trying to make plans according to what will help me relax. Best advice I got from my midwives was, all other things being equal, just go with what feels best. For me, it's planning to be in the hospital for my whole labor, not because that will guarantee a good outcome, but because, much as I love being at home, I don't want the pressure of responsibility I will feel at home. I don't know, maybe this will change. I'm still afraid that I won't make it to the hospital in time, and something bad will happen. That's my biggest fear, I think, because that's what happened before.
But what helps me is remember that I really don't have control. That I can make the best plans with love but in the end what happens has nothing to do with me. That no matter what happens I love my babies and I'm a good mom, and that I have survived many things, and I am strong enough to handle whatever life hands me. That I can reach out for help when i feel week, and when I'm scared I can ask for reassurance. I go back and forth between the deepest peace and belief that whatever happens, I want to enjoy this pregnancy one moment at a time, and the gripping terror that, "I can't do this again." I'm probably having a bit of denial. I expect the closer I get to the end, the more freaked out I am going to be.
I've been focusing a lot on creating a mental safe space, a picture I have in my head of love and safety. For me, it's a beautiful mossy pool deep in a forest, with benevolent magical trees and animals. Sounds totally stupid, but it really helps me when I start to freak out. I go into it with all my senses, touch, smell, sight, sound. I am also focusing on how I will create a physical sense of control and safety in my birth environment. I'm planning on going several times to meet the nurses in the maternity ward, having a lot of conversations with my midwives about how things will go, will be bringing some things from home, probably hiring a doula, and may even have some friends accompany me to the hospital in early labor. I'm trying to focus on my past strengths and the skills I have used to get through difficult times. And sometimes I also try to just tune in to my fears and just be with them. That is hard, like I said, counseling has been invaluable to me.
I will look forward to reading what others are doing.
Edited by cyclamen - 8/18/13 at 10:41am