Birth: Letting Go of the Fear
ANSWER: Your mother's negative experience of your birth has set the emotional and psychological backdrop for your own upcoming childbirth experience. Her story is one laced with unresolved fear, panic and pain. No wonder you are afraid! Women, like your mother, who are left with no way to process the trauma they experienced in childbirth, continue to tell their stories in an effort to heal. But it is imperative that you separate your own upcoming childbirth from your mother's birth story.
It is likely that your mother's experience is a result of a lack of realistic preparation for coping with labor and an absence of support during labor and childbirth. You are not your mother, nor are you helpless in preparing yourself for childbirth in a manner more likely to make it a positive empowering experience, rather than a negative traumatic one.
Childbirth is an event of great, often underestimated, power. As such, it is not a neutral event. Preparing to meet the intensity of contractions allows you to master the challenge of coping with this aspect of life. Active preparation and involvement in labor and childbirth is no doubt, a benefit your mother did not have available to her when she was pregnant with you. There is no need to repeat the mistakes of the past. Use your mother's experience as an opportunity for learning. Take action against your fear, rather than become paralyzed by it.
In order to resolve fear and prepare actively for your childbirth consider the following guidelines:
Research shows that respect for the woman during the process of labor and childbirth, and a woman's active participation in the experience, are key contributing factors to positive feelings of self-esteem in birthing women. (Perhaps ingredients your mother did not have!) Addressing you fears about the birth through active education and preparation is what will allow you to enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.
Gayle Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model and is the author of An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and her latest book, Making Healthy Families. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering and Parenting. She is a clinical member of The Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a Diplomate with the National Association of Social Work. She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy Magazine.
Dr. Gayle Peterson has written family columns for ParentsPlace.com, igrandparents.com, the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper and the Sierra Foothill's Family Post. She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle" on www.ivillage.com, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family and communications expert in the twelve part documentary "Baby's Best Chance". She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University in Northern California and adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices psychotherapy in Oakland, California and Nevada City, California. She also offers an online certification training program in Prenatal Counseling and Birth Hypnosis. Gayle and is a wife, mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother of three lively boys and one sparkling granddaughter.
Copyright 1996-2003. Gayle Peterson All rights reserved.