(( long. ))
madrone, what a wonderful question. i have
struggled with fears based on society's misinformation + my own doctor's scare tactics (not to mention all of the stories told to me by family + strangers alike). IMO, part of this experience has been learning to overcome those fears and learn the truth in their place.
for me, knowledge has been a great tool against fear. i have continually encountered things i was afraid of simply because i was ignorant of the evidence and truth
behind them; after spending time researching the facts and arming myself with knowledge, i consistently assuaged my own doubts. i ask questions constantly.
i've also spent a great deal of time reading positive birth stories and woman-positive articles on pregnancy and childbirth (NOT easy things to come by in our culture). even when i wasn't pregnant, i spent hours at Laura Shanley's site ~ http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com/
~ reading all of the birth stories and UC articles.
i've read articles and birth stories dealing with how / when / why things "went wrong" and analyzing what happened and how it was dealt with, so i could deal with a similar situation if it arose.
i've researched the "warning signs" during labor + delivery, so i can recognize what is happening if my intuition tells me something may be amiss.
i've spent hours thinking about The Farm's statistics for birth, and how those truly reflect the impact non-intervention has on childbirth... and i've thought about how much lower even those numbers might be if the midwives stopped intervening even as much as they do (personally i feel, from the birth stories from The Farm i've read, that the midwives there are too hands-on).
i've made a conscious decision to stop discussing anything about birth with my dad, since he's always happy to bring up how birth is inherently dangerous, and how all women will die in childbirth if they don't deliver their babies at a hospital because they'll bleed to death (
). comments like that give me a gut reaction ~ at first i am terrified, then i question my decision, and then i remember how absolutely ridiculous it is to think that women can't give birth on their own.
i've also spent a long time meditating on, thinking about, and visualizing the birth experience that i want... my baby... and the whole thing going smoothly. i hang on to those dreams i've had that have shown me that everything will be alright (and have tried my best to forget about all of the nightmares that were so far from any kind of reality they were surreal). hand in hand with this is all of the time i have spent reflecting on my first birth experience ~ what went "wrong," how disempowered i felt afterward, how severe my PPD was, and why.
i place a huge amount of faith in my own intuition and goddess-sense. i trust that i will know if i need assistance during birth... and i also trust that nothing will go wrong enough that i will. i trust in my body and my ability to birth the baby that it is growing.
i stopped seeing my OB around 37-38 weeks, after he began attempting to use mild scare tactics to get me to consent to tests i wasn't sure if i really wanted, and after he told me he prefers to deliver his babies all around 37 weeks, otherwise they're too big. note the language ~ "he delivers his babies" ~ that he used, and the inherent mistrust of women's bodies. he also told me that he feels his job is to protect the baby, regardless of what the woman wants or needs. so while i still like him as a regular doctor, and will be returning to him postpartum for my afterbirth care + routine non-pregnancy care, i can't imagine having him as my doctor for the actual labor and delivery. i just don't feel i can wholly trust someone who makes those sorts of comments.
and finally, i come here.
there is nothing in the world as strengthening as finding one's own tribe.