Monsters under the bed. Failing a test. Boyfriend breaking up with you. Being alone. Not being successful enough.
Each and every stage in our lives has some element of fear in it, starting from when we are very small and going even until our final days. Some fears may be kind of silly like how I had a legitimate phobia of mustard for a while (the texture- the smell- creeped me out) but other fears can be crippling to us in our daily lives. Fear is a really strong force and we have to work to not let it overtake us each and every day.
A lot of times women struggle with fear throughout their pregnancy and birth. It's hard not to when everyone wants to share their birth horror stories and talk about the pain, the weird things your body does, and oh so much more. For every person who has a horror story, someone else has a story of triumph and victory, a story of blessings and joy, a person who saw pain with a purpose instead of just pain.
Fear can really hold you back in labor.
I remember when I was in labor saying at one point, "I'm scared." And I was, scared of the pain, the idea of having a daughter, the fact that things would be different, and that anxiety and depression would steal this second postpartum too.
I literally was trying to stop pushing even though my body was wanting to push because of all the fear I had carried into my birth. I knew that I had done all the right things to try to prepare for a better postpartum this time. I knew that God is in the redemption business. Fear was still present and trying to rear its ugly head to win the battle.
My midwife reminded me that God gives us promises of peace and fear had no place there. She was absolutely right. Fear is a mighty beast to fight though, but I truly believe it is worth it to fight and choose peace and have it win over fear.
Peace has won this time for me. After my midwife's reminder, I felt peace. I took that peace and I have fought every single day to hold on to it. My daughter is almost 3 and 1/2 months old now. I haven't had any panic attacks and haven't felt depressed at all.
I love this quote from Christine Caine. "She was unstoppable, not because she did not have failures or doubts but because she continued on despite them." That's the truth. We are not failures because of our fears. We can push through them and it makes us a little bit stronger of a person each and every day.
I'm a very practical person so I want to talk about some practical ways to work on dealing with fears so that you don't bring them into your birth space with you.
1) Journaling- Sometimes it can be helpful to just write and see what comes out. It can help you process in a different kind of way than just thinking it through in your head.
2) Talking them out with someone you trust- We can get so emotionally charged with our feelings and fears so talking them out with someone you trust can help. They can potentially bring new light to your situation
3) Pinpointing what exactly your fear is and where it stems from- So many times, a fear has been a part of our lives for so long we may not even know where it really stems from. Sitting down and pinpointing what exactly it is that is holding you back is such a huge starting point in moving forward. You may think you are scared of the pain of birth when really you are scared you would be inadequate as a mother. Those different fears needs different paths to overcome them.
4) Scripture and Meditation- Finding a quiet time and place to either read scripture or meditate can really help give you clarity of mind which can help you be better prepared for conquering your fears.
5) Music- Music speaks to people on so many levels. Sometimes a certain song can really help you find strength and healing.
6) Set up reminders for yourself- In my daughter's nursery, I had a friend create some art pieces for me. They say, " Love life. Choose peace. Give grace." I really put them in there for me. To remind me that those are the things I have to do daily. When I'm having a hard day and she's fighting sleeping and I'm feeling frustrated I look up and see those then I remember it is worth it. So put sticky notes in your car, set an alarm on your phone, have your spouse text you, whatever you need to do to remember that you are strong enough.
These are just a few ideas and hopefully some of them may work for you. You are NOT a slave to your fears. Remember that. You deserve a life (and birth and postpartum) full of peace and joy. I hope you fight for those things and have peace win in your life today.