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Fears During Pregnancy

Dear Dr. V,

I’m two weeks away from delivering my first child and I’m so scared. I have so much anxiety about the whole birthing experience; I can’t eat, I can’t sleep and when I do sleep I have terrible dreams about the birth. I’m really terrified! Please help me.


Dear Gina,

As a mother and doctor who has guided and supported several women through pregnancy and beyond, I bring to you a profound reverence for the process. I support your intention and journey to have a healthy and wonderful birth. I acknowledge what a unique time in your life this is, which brings with it amazing changes — physically, emotionally and spiritually. I also know what a time of incredible receptivity and growth this is pregnancy and birth is one of the most awesome times in a woman’s life.

Choices you make on this journey influence what will happen, how well you learn to listen to your own needs — honor them and speak them will also have a powerful influence. We are all interconnected and we need care from others but no one can care for you as well as you. You are the most influential source for guiding your experience. Simply by the fact that you have written down your struggles here today, affirms you have the resources to get what you need.

Learning to care for yourself and giving yourself this time is one of the greatest gifts pregnancy can offer. And you honoring and supporting yourself in this way is one of the most important and often overlooked concepts — nurturing ourselves is the essential most important step in caring for others. Learning how to relax and breathe can enable you to return to this state at will. If at any time, what you read here does not resonate with your own spiritual images give yourself permission to use what resonates with you. This is very personal and individual. Don’t try and fit into someone else’s mold. Honor what’s true for you.

There is probably no single event that holds so much mystery, so much fascination as birth. Many cultural messages have surrounded all of us concerning the process of birth. This has helped shape what you expect and fear about birth. Beyond the messages, beyond the fears, there is the mystery; the unique way in which each woman does her birth. It is possible to build trust in yourself, your body and birth. You are not powerless over this experience and only you can shape your thoughts and emotions regarding this unique time. The natural makeup of the world is at work to help guide you, your body, and your baby into the world. It is conspiring to help you with the process of birth.

The birth process is so powerful, is transformative with your whole being giving birth to your baby. You have prepared for this on deep levels. You’ve done so much to strengthen reform and enable yourself. You are ready now. No woman enters labor without some fear and doubt. As you stand at the threshold you know that this has been an amazing journey and we know deep inside the safety and power of birth. Even though our culture has not valued and honored labor; we’ve tried to control it, scared by its power, birth has an intelligence of its own and has provided us with great gifts, beyond the gift of the child; birth is the opportunity to claim what is ours as women and as you take your next breath, recall now times in your life that have been challenging and notice how every experience has taught you, has helped shape you, has been a part of making you who you are. Resisting change seems to be common even if the change is something we want. The mind fears the unknown, yet you can recall now the difficult changes you’ve, perhaps even painful but incredibly beneficial. Experiences that have given you wisdom and strength, experiences that have made you the person you are have helped prepare you now.

Draw upon these experiences. You bring all of your resources with you — they belong to you and are an integral part of who you are … nothing can change this. Notice your breath right now. Is there any holding? If so, just allow your breath to soften and deepen. Your breath is your most immediate ally — follow its inhalation and exhalation. And with your next breath recall challenging times in your life that almost seemed impossible. You may have wondered if you were going to be able to do it and how afterward you may have even thought it wasn’t hard as the mind had said or feared it would be. Paradoxically, you may recall when you were so focused that the work was simply happening on its own, your body takes over, your actions unfold and in spite of what the mind says you’re simply doing what needs to be done.

We’ve all had times in our life like this. This is a very personal and powerful space of focusing and trusting the readiness of your body. Nature will tell you when to begin. Just as nature helped in the creation of this beautiful baby, nature will help bring this new soul into the world. And the beauty of this is that nobody really knows when, not even the doctor or midwife, but the body knows … your body knows. And you, the mother here and now, part of this web of creation of the divine intelligence — trust your body, yourself, this divine intelligence — it’s always there — close your eyes and breathe it in. During this process, create for yourself a place of deep relaxation, positive visualization, a sanctuary in your mind to return to when needed.