Everyone is afraid of the unknown. Some of us feel more fear than others, and pregnant women (especially first-time moms) are no exception. Breathing techniques and mindfulness skills can help moms to cope with all the fears they might have and even decrease symptoms of prenatal or postpartum depression.
With birth just around the corner, there is no better time to prepare the body and mind. Anxiety and fear are natural reactions to this new situation and the great responsibility that comes with it. But it’s also important to know that these feelings are the worst enemies of labor. They can increase resistance and therefore the pain and length of labor. Now, we don’t want to scare you, on the contrary, we want to share some helpful tips that will help you embark on this new journey by being fully present and feeling full of confidence.
Key tips for being mindful and managing fear during childbirth
Remember that contractions come and go. In between each one there is a moment of calm. Try to stay present and breathe deeply through each one without thinking about the past or worrying about what is to come. This is easier said than done, but breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth very slowly can help you stay calm during unpleasant situations. Plus, you’ll discover all your inner strength and resilience. Childbirth can be hard, but you can get through it with the help of breathing exercises.
Another important aspect to consider is that you don’t have to control and manage every aspect of childbirth. If for some reason things don’t go as planned and your natural birth must be a C-section, it’s okay! Remember that your health and safety and your baby’s comes first. It’s also important not to forget that it is totally natural to feel sad and disappointed. Don’t try to conceal your emotions, experience these feelings for a moment, but then try to breathe, let them go and stay present. Your baby is about to be born, you don’t want to miss it! Becoming aware of your resistance and need to control will help you let go and accept life’s alternate plan.
Finally, remember that mindfulness is like surfing. If you decide to ride the wave –or experience– instead of fighting it, you will not get as battered. Each wave will be different, but learning to catch them and letting go will help you stop yourself from worrying or feeling anger, anxiety and depression from trying to fight the ocean. You might fall from time to time, but if you remember that each wave –just like most experiences– is temporary, you’ll be able to go with the flow and stop trying to control everything. Knowing that life is always shifting and changing will not only help childbirth be more pleasant, but you’ll be ready for the rollercoaster of parenting.