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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a client who is currently 29 weeks. She is 30, first pregnancy. Originally she planned to never have children, then had this sort of surprise pregnancy, but is thrilled now to be having a baby. She is, however, truly terrified of birth. The closer she gets, the more panicky she seems to feel about it. She started our hospital's birthing classes, but had a panic attack while watching the birth movie and had to leave. She said her big concern was that the mom on the film was in "severe pain" for nine hours, and she feels like she will be in this same severe pain and just can't survive it. She is planning an epidural, also.<br>
I'm pretty concerned about her level of terror. Even with an epidural, she will need to get through some labor on her own, plus, will be able to feel some sensations. Also, epidurals don't always work perfectly, or at all, so I'm worried she'll have a terrible time if that happens. She feels too panicked to go back to childbirth class.<br>
I have loaned her my copy of "Birthing from Within." I have asked her what her specific fears are, and she can't really name them, except to say that she thinks she will be in terrific pain and not able to get away from it. She denies any history of abuse. I have tried to describe normal labor to her, and what things we can do to help her with support and with pain.<br>
What else can I do to help this poor mama be a little more comfortable with the idea of giving birth?
 

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Encourage her to hire a doula <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.<br><br>
Birthing from Within would be one of the first books I would reach for, but I find often it is more helpful when a mom is dealing with an already traumatic birth.<br><br>
This may sound quirky, but I would ask her what she knows of her own birth -- their are researchers out there who claim we do imprint that stuff into our brains somewhere.<br><br>
One of the bravest things I ever saw a midwife do was with a fearful client of mine. It is just our culture to push bad thoughts aside and away -- block them out. But when my client obviously got very scared and started swearing she couldn't do it, her midwife, instead of saying, "Yes you can!" said, "What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of dying?" She pushed her right into it instead of trying to keep her away from it. It helped my client realize she wasn't afraid of dying -- she was just in a great amount of pain. She was afraid her body was going to fail her. I never would have thought to do that, but I think guided, in that fashion, you can really get that "secret haunt" out in the open, and suddenly it doesn't have the same power it did before.<br><br>
One thing I talk to my clients about is fear and faith, and their relationship. You can't have faith something is going to work out if you have fear it is not, kwim? Sounds like your patient does not have any faith yet. It may help to ask her WHAT she has faith in -- even down to the smallest thing, like you will not miss her birth, or the nurses will be nice, etc. Sometimes you can build from there. Her body created the baby and is growing it with little to no help from her, really -- her body will know how to birth the baby if she can take a backseat (even with an epidural) and trust herself.<br><br>
Good luck helping her <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unfortunately, no doulas around here, and worse, no culture of having experienced support at a birth. Anyone want to fly over here?
 

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THis is when I would call a hypno birthing teacher. I think this is what they do best. women that had bad births them self or were abused sexually or have some mental clock NEED hypnosis. you can have a private class.
 

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Are there any other childbirth classes available in the area? When I was pregnant with my first I was terrified... I don't handle pain at all but I have a worse fear of needles, so I knew I would NEVER consent to an epidural, no matter how bad... maybe that got me through, I don't know... I do know though when I initially started a hospital childbirth class I got more scared... it was horrible the way everything was explained... thankfully I then switched to a midwife at a birth center so I didn't have to finish the hospital class and instead went to a Bradley class... hearing the instructor clamy explain everything without it being based in pain and submission (which my hospital class had been) really helped me focus on the end instead of the during (baby instead of pain)... I was still nervous, but the longer I took the class the better I felt... and the more my midwife helped encourage me by telling how well my body was designed and how I won't be doing anything that billions of women hadn't already done... well, that really relieved my mind even more.<br><br>
I hope something helps her soon... I know that beng afraid of what's inevitable is NO fun and not good for her body.
 

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I did a search in google under your state and then I put hypnobirthing classes and came up with alot. here is one. is she near you?<br><a href="http://www.tanyamchale.com/" target="_blank">http://www.tanyamchale.com/</a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No other childbirth classes around here, except a hospital 30 minutes away offers a similar class to ours.<br>
I have had a few clients travel an hour and a half to take Bradley, but I think it's unlikely I could convince this lady to pay and travel to take a class focused towards acheiving a natural childbirth.<br>
Our unit manager who teaches the classes is willing to do one on one with this lady, but I don't know how much it would help as it would be the same type of info. The class is a typical hospital based class - just an overview of labor, and hospital procedures and pain relief available.
 

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Is it possible that plain ol' therapy for anxiety could help her? With anxiety that severe, it sounds like she might need it. Phobias are one area of psychotherapy where they tend to have good results within a (usually) short period of time. She does sound like this verges into the realm of phobia.<br><br>
My MIL had a deathly fear of birth and went for 3 mos. of hypnosis (this in the 1960's). It helped her tremendously.
 

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Actually, I guess it does not matter. Anyone here close? Sometimes doulas will travel...<br><br><a href="http://www.dona.org/Areas/Illinois.html" target="_blank">http://www.dona.org/Areas/Illinois.html</a>
 

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I would give her a big glass of wine when she goes into labor and tell her to come in and give her the shot..... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/footinmouth.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="footinmouth"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="jaw2"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/demon.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="demon"><br>
sorry its the only thing I can think of. It sounds like she has things to work out in her head. that's really too bad. I know a women that had a really hard life. she wanted a home birth . her husband left her and she thought she would have this great home birth. every time I saw her she was fussing about how much of a bother it was to be pregnant. she ended up screaming when she went into labor. homebirth miidwife brought her to the hospital and they gave her drugs right away. I thought WOW, that was interesting
 

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see if you can find a hypnobirthing teacher closer I have seen this really help<br>
also look into a homeopathic remedy-- I had one client having her 5th and had some "fear" attached to pain in birth and she researched and found a remedy that helped her overcome her fear
 

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you know, I would sit down with her (if you can spare the time) and go specifically over each of her concerns. specifically.<br><br>
write them out - big - on a piece of paper. have her problem solve as to what could help her or what she would feel better about. keep going until she can see that things have been thought through.<br><br>
this is such a helpful exercise that I have done with clients. It really is amazing how it changes things - to give that fear a name, to write it down and to plan how to work with it.<br><br>
I hope that things turn out for her. She may be pleasantly surprised in the end!
 

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good idea Pam, I discuss things with moms and try to get at the heart of what is going on and see if I can help a mom problem solve- I just hadn't thought about it as something we do----
 

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A couple of things come to mind...<br><br>
First off, I would really encourage her to read the BFW like you have. And to do a few of the exercises. In particular, the "tigers" exercise where she takes something she is afraid of happening and spins it around and sees herself coping with it. NOT changing it - it is still happening, but she is coping with it. The other thing is to really encourage her to view pain as her ally in birth. Teach her about the hormonal blue print of labor and how the pain she feels serves a purpose. And how interrupting that pain loop can affect her labor. Let her know that she can hurt but not suffer. One thing about BFW is that it is not about pain escape, but pain coping. Big difference. It still hurts like heck, but you can do it. Learning some pain coping will help her feel stronger in her pre-epidural period and will serve her after birth when regardless of how birth unfolds, she will more than likely be in some discomfort. Also work with her on how to push so on the chance that she may not feel the urge she will have a better understanding of how natural pushing vs. the dreaded valsalva pushing feels. Have her practice her gorilla grunts and pushes so it is second nature even if she can't fully feel the instinct from an epidural should she still opt to go with one.<br><br><br>
Bottom line - let her have her fears. Don't try to talk her out of them. Let her process them to where she is either no longer afraid of something or can see how she would at very least cope with something. Not like it - but cope.
 

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Oh - and I almost forgot. You said she fears that she won't be able to get away from the pain. Is that really so unrealistic? Chances are she won't be able to, not 100%. So rather than trying to get away from the pain, work on how to go through the pain. Find the center - the calm in the storm and go there. Breath into the space.
 

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I think she needs to do the HypnoBabies home study course and you need to get the health care providers manual. Join the Yahoo group and talk to Kerry. She's wonderful and should be able to refer you to someone locally. Your patient will benefit from reading the numerous success stories in the "files" section of the Yahoo! group and will appreciate the fast-paced, responsive, and supportive community. I also agree that this woman should learn about her own birth and how her mother felt about her pregnancy/birth.<br><br>
Good luck!<br><br>
Laura<br><br><a href="http://www.hypnobabies.com/" target="_blank">http://www.hypnobabies.com/</a><br><a href="http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/HypnoBabies/" target="_blank">http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/HypnoBabies/</a> (for mamas)<br><a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BirthHypnosis/" target="_blank">http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BirthHypnosis/</a> (for professionals)
 

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I'm not a midwife or a childbirth professional, but I have worked with women who were postively terrified of birth. I think that for her to have such a strong reaction to giving birth that something in her past much have sparked this fear. Maybe she heard a terrifying birth story when she was younger and doesn't remember it, maybe she was abused and has repressed the memories, I don't know.<br><br>
One of the teen moms I used to work with had suffered horrible abuse as a child and repressed it until her pregnancy. Like your client, she was terrified of giving birth, couldn't explain specifically why except to say that she was afraid of being in so much pain and not being able to stop it. It was after therapy that she started to remember being sexually abused as a young child.<br><br>
Would she be open to talking to a therapist or someone who might be able to help her get to the bottom of her fears? I agree that they shouldn't be dismissed. She's afraid for a reason, even if she doesn't know what that reason is. Her fear is protecting her from something and I don't know that we should take that away from people. I don't even know if it is possible!<br><br>
I hope things go well for her and that you find a way to help her.
 

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I think it's an exercise in one of the recommended books but I haven't read them so I can't be sure. Perhaps she needs to unpack her family stuff around birth and what it is to be a woman as well? A good length of paper and some coloured pens will help her list what they have told her overtly and in subtext form all her life. Add in her friends' thoughts and expectations, the possiblity of not believing in her body, feeling unsafe around strangers yada yada yada. A women's circle so she can pour it out, write it down, burn it and consign it to the universe would be nice but I have no idea how you say that to a client in a hospital situation. If anyone can do it, you can drjen <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 
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