My family and I are on vacation this week. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have already seen some pictures. My kids are sooooo excited about this trip. But for me, it involves facing some pretty deep seated fears. We are going to Mammoth Cave. I don’t like caves much and I am deathly afraid of bats. Like PTSD symptoms afraid of bats. My last experience with caves and bats involved me being restrained and not remembering how I got out. That was 17 years ago. That picture I added with this post? Going down those stairs is nearly my worst nightmare. I call it a win that I didn't puke looking for pictures. This is serious.
But my kids love bats. And they love caves. And I don’t want to pass on my fears. I know they are irrational and stem from my childhood. So I’m sucking it up and trying again. I’m taking along my Rescue Remedy and my essential oils for anxiety and seriously considered talking to my doctor about a prescription. My husband knows that I cannot be depended upon to help with the kids and he's committed to supporting me too. I’m going to face those fears and do it again. But if you think about it, pray that I make it.
Now, hopefully no one is as afraid of birth as I am of bats. But I know fears related to birth are normal and common. Birth isn’t exactly portrayed as a normal, non-emergent situation in our culture. And, at least with our first baby, we don’t really know what to expect no matter how much we plan. As women, when we plan our births we know that things may not go as we’d hope. We also know that there is only so much we can plan. Birth may be easy and normal or it might be long and difficult. We have to face our fear of the things we can name and of the unknown.
Part of what I do as a doula is help women face those fears, work through them, and make good decisions for them and their baby. Sometimes all it takes is a hand to hold and a calming presence as you step out onto that unknown birth path — sometimes straight, sometimes full of twists and turns — to meet your baby. Often it’s more than that. I use my wide referral network before and after birth with many of my clients and I definitely do more than hand holding during your birth ;).
But, unlike me who does actually have a choice about going in the cave, those of you who are expecting babies have to give birth at some point. Now, yes, there are a variety of ways that can happen, but ultimately, that little person comes out. And even if you have older kids, you’ve never had this one before. So, like me, you have to face your fears and prepare as best you can. When the time comes, take a deep breath, and step on that path to meet your baby with your partner on one side and your doula on the other. Hang on for the ride!
Adina Nelson, CD(DONA)
I am a birth & postpartum doula and chlidbirth educator practicing in North Idaho.
She was there every step of the way for me and my husband...I thank Adina for everything she helped us with. She truly is a special person and we will be forever grateful for her! ~Erin