I came across a quote this morning that has had me ruminating about using it for a blog post all day.
I learned early that the richness of life is an adventure. Adventure calls on all facilities of mind and spirit. It develops self-reliance and independence. Life then teems with excitement. But we are not ready for adventure unless we are rid of fear. For fear confines us and limits our scope. We stay tethered by strings of doubt and have only a small narrow world to explore. ~William O. Douglas~
Fear and its impact on birth is a fascinating topic to me. As a doula, I’ve seen fear hinder labor. As a doula I long ago learned to ask women prenatally if they have any fears about the upcoming birth. We try to identify fears prenatally and then work through them before the birth so that the birthing individual can be free to experience the totality of excitement, joy, adventure, to step into their power and to fully experience the birth in the absence of fear.
When a woman is confined by fear her body combats labor with surges of adrenaline, a hormone that suppresses the necessary hormone, oxytocin, that facilitates contractions and birth.
One of the most important questions we can ask during labor is, “What were you thinking during that last contraction?” As a doula this is one of my favorite tools. I want to know what she’s thinking, what her internal dialogue is, what is she fearful of?
Once we give it a voice it no longer looms like the boogey man in the corner, we can then strip it down, address the fear and allow her to move forward in her birth with a renewed sense of “I can do this.”
Thoughts can be self-limiting.
Part of our role as a doula is to explore our client’s inner thoughts about birth, tease out their fears, help them work through those fears and through that process help them to discover the power that lies within.
We create and hold the space for them to develop self-reliance and independence. An achievement they will carry with them throughout their life, an empowering experience against which they forever measure life’s ups and downs and say:
“If I could do that, I can accomplish this.”