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3 reasons we're scared of childbirth...& how Yoga can help!

‘Birth takes a woman’s deepest fears about herself  & shows her that she’s stronger than them’

-author unknown Childbirth.  The ultimate act of creation.  The culmination of nine months of detailed precision engineering, perfectly timed chemistry…and just a touch a magic. The time has finally arrived to meet your baby. And are you excited? Of course you are, but clouding the anticipation of holding your precious bundle of joy, is the small matter of getting the (not so small) bundle out. And it terrifies us.  More than anything else in the world.  The idea of giving birth is so confronting for many of us that can’t we even think about it.  We just crack on with decorating the nursery with nursery wallpaper and hope that things will just work out Now, if we were living in a remote African tribe, this would be the perfect strategy and when the time came, we’d simply wander down to the river bank, squat in the bushes, birth our baby and return to the tribe.  Easy peasy. Unfortunately, being raised in the western world, we’ve been bombarded (almost since birth) with movies of red faced women screaming in pain and swearing at their husbands.  These scenes have programed our brains to associate the act of creation with scenes of carnage and terror. And it’s tragic, because we’ve essentially been robbed of the chance to marvel at what is actually the most profound thing we will ever have the privilege of participating in. it’s not to say that the ‘One Born Every Minute’ births aren’t ‘real births’.  I have no doubt that countless women have had genuinely terrifying births. And sadly, our labour wards are still filled with helpless women lying flat on their backs, having left their dignity and power at the door. But equally, from the work that I do, I know that just as many women say that giving birth to their babies was the most empowering, uplifting and moving experience of their entire life. Because in many ways, birth can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If we go in expecting to lose control and feel crippling pain, that’s exactly what we will experience. If we’ve taken time to consciously prepare, then it’s likely we’ll have a beautiful birth. So, if the mere thought of giving birth is making you wince,  now is the time to reclaim your birthing power! Let’s start by looking at why childbirth is so frightening for so many women: 1. We’re focusing on the wrong things Ask a room full of people what word they associate with Childbirth and 9 out of 10 will say ‘pain’.  And there lies our problem.  We treat having a baby like having major surgery (which disturbingly an increasing number of women are choosing to do), we either brace ourselves for the pain or numb ourselves completely and forget just what it is we are actually doing.  Giving birth to new life. The truth is, childbirth is intense and at times, it can be painful.  But not in the same way that banging your head or cutting yourself is.  The sensation of labour is incredible.  And if we can get past the movie programming and experience these surges of power for what they really are, birth will take us on an amazing, transformational journey, where we witness our body in true perfection as it opens and releases a new life into the world.  Who wouldn’t want to feel that? Last week I received this email from a lady who’d attended my Prenatal Yoga classes and had been (like most women) nervous about her ability to cope with the pain.

 ‘You taught us that labour is not about pain, but is about power, love, strength and life. It's an experience of love, and this is absolutely true. My delivery has been very fast and natural and all went well as I was hoping’ This is something I hear time and time again from the women I work with. When we can re-frame our perceptions of birth, we discover that as labour starts, instead of being scared, we become awestruck by the magnificence of what we’re doing. 2.Our fear of losing control We live in a culture which perpetuates the myth that we’re somehow in control.  Uncertainty scares us, we want to know exactly what’s going to happen at every given moment. If it’s not in the diary with a set start and finish time, it sends us into panic. So, when we’re faced with childbirth, arguably the greatest mystery of all time, we go into meltdown. And the sad irony is that because women are so scared of losing control, they hand over their power just at the moment they should be feeling stronger than they’ve ever felt before. When we’re able to let go of control and lean into the experience of birth, we gain a sense of strength like nothing we’ve ever experienced.    True, we might not know the exact details of how the labour will progress, but what we do know is that we can tackle just about ANYTHING that life throws at us  3.We’ve forgotten who we are Women are amazing creatives.  There’s no denying it.   If men had the ability to nurture, grow and birth a new life, they would never stop bragging about it. Somewhere along the lines, we’ve lost faith in ourselves and this incredible gift that we possess. I repeatedly tell my students ‘there is nothing stronger than a woman giving birth to new life’.  It’s true. And that feeling of empowerment stays with mothers long after labour has ended. Women who birth their babies mindfully, also give birth to a stronger more confident version of themselves. Moving from fear to freedom. Preparing for a positive birth isn’t difficult, you just need the right resources and a teacher you can trust. As a mother that birthed her baby in what can only be described as a state of bliss, I cannot think of a better birth preparation than Prenatal Yoga It’s the reason I left my corporate career and became a Yoga Teacher and Childbirth Educator  And every day, I’m moved to tears by the stories of inspiration that women share with me after their births. Fear has an incredible energy, which, with the right support, can be transformed into strength and power. So, if you’re feeling scared, it’s time to get started! Stacey is a multi-tasking mum, Yoga teacher and founder of Buddha Babies - Enlightened Birth Preparation. She teaches the 12.15pm Prenatal Yoga class at Surry Hills on Wednesdays.

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