I’ll never forget what it felt like to see that first positive pregnancy test.
We were eight months into our marriage, and I had just graduated college.
“Don’t get pregnant right away,” everyone said. “Wait at least five years, travel, and get to know each other. Then start a family.”
But we were young and naive and wanted to have a baby, so I got off birth control when I finished off my senior college volleyball season. I purchased a pregnancy test “just in case,” but I really wasn’t sure how long it would take to actually get pregnant once birth control wore off.
One day, I came home from a good spin class and decided to take a test. I left it on the edge of the bathtub and walked away to get ready for a shower.
I walked back in and checked it. Two blue lines.
I stared at the test, stunned. I was pregnant?! My brain couldn’t quite wrap my brain around the idea, so I took the second pregnancy test just in case.
Two blue lines again. As it started to sink in, excitement started to grow. This was surreal! I couldn’t believe this was actually happening!
But then…it hit me. I’m gonna have to give birth.
The very thought shook me to the core. It caused so much fear that I intentionally pushed it to the back of my mind, reassuring myself that I didn’t want to think about it til I had to. For now, I would just focus on being pregnant.
Every time I talk to a first-time pregnant mama, I almost always discover that she’s terrified of birth just as I was. She almost always says, as I did, that she’ll worry about it later.
Well, you don’t have to worry about it later. In fact, you don’t have to worry about it at all. Through this post, my prayer is that you would be able to overcome this fear.
Before my third birth, I watched The Business of Being Born. In it, I learned that fear is actually a pregnant mama’s biggest enemy. Fear affects your physical body by throwing things out of whack, and it makes your body respond like it wasn’t intended to, making birth a more difficult experience.
Instead of allowing this fear to overcome you, you don’t want to give any place to it. Here are five things you can do to overcome the fear of giving birth.
Don’t listen to negative stories
It seemed like once I found out I was pregnant for the first time, everybody and their mama had a horror story or something negative to tell me about pregnancy and delivery.
Some people would tell me about how they had awful mood swings during pregnancy, and others would tell me how they almost died. One lady told me that breastfeeding felt like razors were cutting her nipples. (Really?) I would literally think, why would you tell a newly pregnant woman this?
I’ve learned over time that you need to keep your thoughts focused on positive, uplifting things. Don’t listen to negative stories. Don’t go on YouTube and find out everything that could go wrong during birth. Trust me, your doctor and the hospital nurses will make sure you’re well-informed.
If you want to have a peaceful, successful birth, then you want to focus on positive, successful birth stories. There are plenty you can watch on YouTube, and also books you can read to this end, like Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize.
Trust God’s design
Your body is designed by God with the ability to give birth.
A common misconception that many moms end up with is that we have no clue how to have a baby without the help of a doctor or nurses. We think that if it weren’t for them, we’d be helpless, clueless, and in trouble.
The truth is that your body is actually pre-programmed by God with the ability to give birth. He designed the woman’s body to carry, nourish, and birth the baby out in its proper time.
Doctors, nurses, and midwives are there to help you, but in no way are they “in charge” of your birth, especially if you have a natural birth. I know there are always exceptions, but if you trust that your body knows what to do, then I believe your birth can be smooth.
I got to see this very clearly during my own first natural birth. When it came time to give birth, my body just took over, like it already knew what to do, and pretty much just pushed my babies out all on its own. I didn’t really know how it was going to happen, but all I can say is that just like your body knows how to go to the bathroom, your body also knows how to push out a baby.
One thing I always, always advise newly pregnant mamas or mamas who want to have natural births to do is to get educated. I can’t stress this enough.
Mind expert Bob Proctor teaches that fear is basically a lack of knowledge. We don’t know how things are going to turn out, so we allow doubt and worry to plague our minds.
Without educating yourself on birth, you may never understand just how much intuitive knowledge God has already stored on the inside of you. You also may end up trusting your life and your baby’s life into the hands of people who don’t really care about you like you assume they do.
As I previously mentioned, I highly recommend Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. This book is nothing but encouraging for mamas who are wanting natural birth, and even if you don’t want a natural birth, it’s still an excellent read.
I also recommend Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize. Jackie was blessed with three completely painless childbirths, and her story is highly inspiring. It reminded me, once again, that nothing is impossible with God,
Pray and commit the whole process to God
“Casting all your cares [anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].” 1 Peter 5:7
We’re not designed to carry worries or fears; we’re designed to release them into the hands of the One who loves us dearly.
I hear mamas all the time say, “I’m really worried about this” or “My biggest fear is this.” While it may seem responsible to harbor fears and worries, the Bible says otherwise. In fact, according to the Word, God wants us to live carefree lives.
When I was pregnant with my third daughter, I really wanted to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). However, my OB-GYN only performed c-sections for mothers who had already had c-sections.
People in my family were concerned for me, because they thought that I was taking an unnecessary risk by attempting a VBAC. I didn’t want to be foolish about getting a VBAC, but I also knew that nothing was impossible with God.
So I spent some time in prayer. I remember taking a walk around the park across the street and just pouring out the whole situation to the Lord and my desire for a natural birth.
Somewhere along the walk, I remember just having a confidence that He was going to make the natural birth a success. And He absolutely did, not just with that birth, but with the one after that as well.
Don’t give in to a spirit of fear!
Finally, amid all of the “what ifs”, you’re gonna have to choose to not give in to a spirit of fear.
There will always be the “what ifs” for anything we do in life, but who really wants to live with a constant fear of the future? Not me.
You may get bad news from your doctor. You may hear an unsuccessful birth story. You may encounter a financial hardship during your pregnancy that makes you wonder how things will work out once the baby is here. Regardless of what comes your way, make a decision not to fear.
But how? You may wonder. I mean, there are things that are legitimate concerns!
As I already mentioned, the Bible exhorts us to cast all of our concerns on Him because He cares for us. Choose to give your worry over to the Lord and leave it in His hands. Exchange it for His peace. Then, choose to focus on the things this Scripture gives permission to:
“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s Word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” Philippians 4:8