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. Early on in my career I learned to ask my clients prenatally if they have any fears about the upcoming birth. Experience has taught me is it beneficial to try to identify fears prenatally and then work through them before the birth so that the client can be better able experience the totality of excitement, joy, adventure, to step into her power and to fully experience her birth (hopefully) 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. Too often doulas will assume something is wrong and that an intervention is needed when they perceive that labor is taking too long.
I much prefer to take a few minutes and ask my client “What were you thinking during that last contraction?” As a doula, that one simple question is one of my favorite tools.
I want to know what you’re thinking, what your internal dialogue is, what are you fearful of? Once you are able to give it a voice it no longer looms like the boggart in the corner.
We can then strip it down, address the fear and allow you to move forward in your birth with a renewed sense of energy and the renewed belief of, “I can do this.”
Thoughts can be self limiting. Part of my role as a doula is to explore your inner thoughts about birth, tease out your fears, help you work through those fears and through that process help you to discover the power that lies within. This work begins during our pre-birth visits and continues through the birth itself.
As a doula I can help to create and hold the space for you to develop self-reliance and independence.
This is an achievement that you will carry with you throughout your life.
The empowered experience against which you will forever measure life’s ups and downs and say “If I could do that, I can accomplish this.”