You do not need to fear birth!
“Fear comes from the lack of knowledge and a state of ignorance. The best remedy for fear is to gain knowledge.” - Debasish Mridha, Verses of Happiness
What I know is, that there is fear around birth for just about every pregnant person and their birth partner, most especially for people of color in the United States. I know as a woman of color, mother, and birth doula, there are steps I give my clients to help navigate fears and understand their options in pregnancy and labor.
Here are the steps to take control of your fears and the outcome of your birth.
Step 1: Build Your Birth Team
Choose a care provider.
One who supports the way you want to give birth and not only understands your fears but believes them. If you find out after you have hired a care provider that that provider isn’t the right fit for you, you aren’t stuck. It is well within your right to find another care provider or hospital.
Hire a doula.
Hiring a doula can shorten your labor time, decrease your need for pain management, help reduce surgical birth, and give you a higher satisfaction of your overall birth experience.
Doulas not only support you physically during your pregnancy and labor but also emotionally while also providing you with information you may need for decision making.
Have a plan.
Plan your birth with your team. Everyone should understand/support your desires for your birth and what you expect from them during that time.
Make a contingency plan.
Very rarely will birth go precisely the way you plan, so plan for other birth scenarios. Go over a plan B and even a plan C with your birth team. Everyone should understand your desires in case there is a need for a contingency plan.
Step 2: Educate Yourself
Take a Childbirth Education Class.
Be sure it is a class that aligns with your values and educates you on the birth you aim to have. Knowledge is POWER.
Understand your fears.
Talk to your care provider and doula about your fears. They can teach you how to navigate those fears and even face them if needed.
Step 3: Speak Up
Remember that you are the final say on what happens in your pregnancy and your birth room. It may feel like decisions are out of your hands, but at the end of the day, you are the consumer, you write the check, you get to say yes or no. You have control over your body.
You have control of your birth space.
At any time, if you don’t feel heard, respected, or safe in the presence of a specific person or care provider, it is within your rights to ask them to leave your space. If you don’t feel like you are getting the right support in your hospital/birth space, you may ask for a patent advocate who will help speak on your behalf. There should be NO POINT that you feel like you are not heard.
You control your choices.
Understanding your rights is one of the many reasons having a doula on your birth team can be SO valuable. They can help you talk through deciding for yourself. A doula will not speak for you but will help you feel confident speaking for yourself. They can help remind you that you have the final say.
Get informed consent by using the B.R.A.I.N acronym.
Make a decision confidently by asking these questions:
B) What are the benefits
R) What are the risks
A) What are the alternatives
I) What does my intuition (gut) say
N) What if I choose to do nothing
Certified Birth Doula
Certified Hypnobabies Hypno-Doula
Infant Feeding Specialist