FOr my first 2 births, I was lucky in having more or less painfree labors....intense, requiring concentration...but not painful. They were both relatively short as well (8hr and 4hr). So imagine my surprise when #3 was indeed painful! And my next 3 labors also hurt....and the labors were much longer. The longest, 24hrs, was due to malpositioning (undetected by my mw or me, so nothing was done to try to help that).
Anyway. Naturally after my first, and then after my 2nd, I thought, easy peasy! Then it got longer and more painful to have babies. But it never crossed my mind to actually be afraid of the impending pain...I mean, of course, once I knew I *could* have a painful labor, it made me look forward less pleasurefully to labor! Still--I got through it before, I would do so again, my attitude is "hey, it's only 1 day or so of my life--I can take most anything for that long". Plus of course, I valued the benefits of natural birth so greatly (for me and baby both), that I wasn't going to seek medical pain relief, it was out of the question.
For me, getting through the pain was just part of the feeling of victory and bliss in the end. I instantly forgot the pain, pretty much, once baby was born. OK, once the afterbirth pains were done! The only one where the memory of pain lingered was #4, the longest labor and malposition issue....so I do feel for you on that score. Still, it really didn't haunt my next pregnancy. In between, I learned more about baby-positioning, and ways to naturally manage labor pain--and the next baby was easier....not easy, not painfree, but easiER than #4....to birth.
I tell women sometimes...it's just pain...and it never lasts forever.