Fear: A Four-Letter Word Let me preface this blog post by saying that my pregnancy was no walk in the park. I went through countless tests that indicated genetic abnormalities, amniocentesis, elevated blood pressure, scheduled induction, artificially ruptured membranes, Pitocin, epidural and ultimately failure to progress after 18 hours of passive labor. Regrettably, there were moments that I let fear get the best of me. But there were also great triumphs where I fought relentlessly for my right to have a vaginal delivery against the recommendation of my physician to opt for a cesarean. I knew we could do it and I was determined to push. Thirty hours after checking into the hospital, our sweet baby girl came into the world just as she was supposed to. As soon as I got to hold her in my arms, all the fears that I let dictate my thoughts and actions during my pregnancy vanished. I realized in that moment what a waste of time and energy those negative emotions truly were. She was perfect in every way and I regret allowing anyone to ever make me think differently. My personal experiences are the main motivation for addressing the topic of fear as it relates to pregnancy and delivery in this blog post.
For many women (myself included) fear tends to overshadow the joyous emotions that we typically associate with pregnancy.
That you can’t handle a natural birth.
That something catastrophic will happen during delivery.
That people will judge you for breastfeeding in public.
Of not getting your “pre-baby body” back.
Well, I’m calling bullshit on all of it. Here’s why.
For starters, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries in their quest for increased profit margins and control have, in my opinion, abused their position of power and tricked women into viewing labor as an excruciatingly painful process that must be numbed using pain medication in order to be tolerable.
On top of that, we can’t escape the pregnancy “horror stories” told by our family, friends, and co-workers.
Mixed messages that circulate via pop culture, peer pressure, pharmaceutical companies, and “baby-friendly” product lines all contribute to the confusion that many women experience during this time resulting in a largely disconnected birthing process that relies all too heavily on systematic policies and procedures with very little regard for our own innate intelligence. We are inundated with marketing tactics designed to sell quick-fixes; we mistakenly fall for those rather than tuning internally to our own primal instincts. Without connecting with our internal compass, we look to others to show us the way as the fear being directed towards us continues to build up.
During pregnancy, fear, if allowed to exist on its own without acknowledgement, acts as a powerful catalyst resulting in decisions that go directly against what we inherently know to be true. One medical intervention leads to the next, and pretty soon we’ve lost touch with our own initial desires.
While at the surface fear may seem like something that can’t be controlled, the four pillars of BIRTHFIT do just that. Great strength can be built out of fear with the right support system and mindset.
So, what’s the secret? How do we channel fear and make it work for us instead of against us?
The first step is to acknowledge that it’s there. When we acknowledge fear, we take away its power. The second step is to take action and live with intention.
By prioritizing aspects of pregnancy that require consistent attention and effort, such as fitness, nutrition, chiropractic, and mindset, we can put our health at the forefront, leaving little space for fear to grow.
When we commit to eating with purpose, breathing with purpose, moving with purpose, and living with purpose, we reap countless physical and mental benefits for ourselves and for our children. It’s an empowering process that leads to wholehearted confidence inside and out.
As a result, we start to see firsthand that what we do has a greater impact on the outcome of our pregnancy than what we don’t do and the grip of fear inevitably starts to loosen.
So, no matter how you decide to bring your child into the world: be it in a hospital, birthing center, or in the comfort of your own home, resist the temptation to let fear win you over and cloud your judgment. Find strength in its presence, let it go and trust your body, mind, and soul to steer you in the right direction.
And while it is an unfortunate reality that societal pressures have forced many w omen to live out their entire pregnancy in fear of what is to come, we don’t have to keep playing along. The time has come to put an end to this vicious cycle and embrace a new chapter together.
Fear is exactly what it looks like. A four-letter word. Nothing more, nothing less. Give it power and it will grow. I’m giving fear the middle finger and choosing to be BIRTHFIT. Who’s with me?
Lane Gauntt @BIRTHFITVolusia