Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Are You Afraid?

Afraid of what?


I wish I had a dollar for each time I was asked this question during the past few months.  Actually, I wish I was never asked this question, because it betrays an underlying cultural fear of childbirth.  This is not a fear that I share in; it is not how I view my impending childbirth.  If I have any reservations about childbirth, it is simply because I have never experienced it before and the unknown is usually a bit scary. 

Why are women afraid of childbirth?  I think it is because they are afraid of the excruciating pain they are told that they will experience.  Or perhaps of the many complications they believe are commonplace and unavoidable.  At the heart of this fear is misinformation and lack of education.  Many pregnant women spend months preparing a nursery, they read many books about pregnancy and caring for a newborn, but they often leave the details about the labor and delivery to their doctors.  Many don’t take any childbirth classes or if they do, they are the classes offered by the hospital which usually do not explain the natural processes and progression of childbirth, rather the hospital policies and medical interventions available.  No wonder they are afraid, I’m sure I would be terrified of childbirth if I had no idea what to expect and if I was laying the whole matter in the hands of a doctor, a stranger that I perhaps met only a few times. 

Of course, this is just my opinion, based on my own experience observing the actions and attitudes of those around me.  Perhaps I am wrong, in fact, I hope I am wrong. 

Don’t get me wrong, while I believe that childbirth is a natural process, I do acknowledge that it certainly will be difficult and painful.  I know that there are situations in which medical interventions are necessary for the health of the mother and child, and if I end up in one of those situations, I certainly will do whatever needs to be done.  But I am going into childbirth well-educated about the female body and its incredible abilities to birth a child.  After all, it has been nourishing and sustaining my child for the past nine months, why should I doubt that it is also capable of birthing him/her? 

But I do not only go into childbirth unafraid because I am knowledgeable; perhaps the main reason I’m not afraid is because of my strong faith in God.  I trust in the Lord to protect me and my child.  And if I were to die in childbirth, as unlikely as that may be, I am unafraid of death. 

Now if you asked me if I am afraid of being a parent, that’s a completely different story.  I am much more afraid of the hours, days, weeks, years that follow childbirth.  I am humbled and a bit terrified when I think of the awesome responsibilities of parenthood, of raising a child to love God and to be a compassionate, responsible citizen.   But one step at a time…I’m first going to focus on getting my little one out into the world (any time now!). 


  1. I actually wrote blog post when I was just 16, wondering why it seemed like women, both in real life and tv/movies seemed all freaked out about childbirth but never addressed how actually being a parent might be the scarier thing of the two.

    I know that while I'm nervous about birth, I'm much more anxious about figuring out how to care for our child. I know I'm getting prepared and have God to trust, but that doesn't make it seem a ton less daunting sometimes.

  2. As a mom of three, all delivered without an epidural, I can say that raising a child is a LOT scary than delivering a child. A LOT. My feeling is, there is so much more emotional and spiritual investment once your child is born, versus the day your deliver.

    We took the child birthing class at the hospital when we were expecting our first. And that class is what made me dead set on delivering without an epidural. When they showed the video of an epi being done, I freaked out. Seriously. I turned to my husband and said there was no way I could ever go through having that done.

  3. Brian and I just watched "The Business of Being Born" last week and we were BLOWN AWAY.

    I highly recommend this video to all women. I couldn't believe how much I didn't know about what a real, natural birth is like.

    Great topic! :)


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