From Fear to Empowerment

I am now 32 weeks into my pregnancy. Overall the baby is healthy, I've felt pretty good and besides eating sushi and lounging in hot tubs, I've been able to do what I've wanted to in this new season of life.

I'm learning a lot about pregnancy and birth. There are a lot of things I didn't know like the fact that the United States has one of the worst maternity leave policies. Or that most women don't know they have options in regard to birth because of what they assume pregnancy is like based on television, social media and what other people are doing.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I assumed that I didn't have any options - everyone gives birth at a hospital, everyone uses an epidural and birth is scary and extremely painful, no matter what.

It wasn't until my third trimester that I started feeling anxious about giving birth and realized going into labor with anxiety and fear would lead to a difficult birth. So I reached out to a friend who is a Doula and she recommended a natural birthing class. Jeremy and I were skeptical at first because natural birth sounds "new-agey" and not to mention the price of the class.

After a couple conversations with other women, I realized this is what I need to do in order to calm my labor fears. Last Wednesday Jeremy and I attended our first class. The instructor is fun and down to earth. She talked about how bad-ass the uterus is and if men had them, we wouldn't hear the end of it. She talked about how birth is the most natural thing women's bodies were created to do. She told us that even pregnant women in comas will go into labor and give birth - without any conscious effort of the mother. She told us some women don't have painful births.

I couldn't believe it! All I ever hear about labor is the pain. Don't get me wrong, labor is intense no matter what, but the instructor explained that if we learn to breath and relax through each contraction, instead of try to fight it and tense up, we can naturally get through the intensity.

She then instructed us to write down all of the negative things we've heard and that we've come to believe about birth. We were then asked to pick our number one fear and write the positive of that statement.

My negative statement read: I am not strong enough

My positive statement read: I am strong enough and my body was created to do this.

We then proceeded to share our fears and our positive statements and I began to realize all of these women were afraid like me.

The rest of class was spent doing relaxation techniques and reading affirmations about our bodies and the future coming of our child.

I left the class extremely thankful. Thankful that my husband is more then willing to do this with me. Thankful that I am not alone in my fears. Thankful that I learning to teach myself to view birth positively.

My hope is that women realize they have a choice. Your birth doesn't have to look like someone else's. You can choose to give birth at a hospital, at a birthing center or in your home. You can choose to use drugs or not. And you can choose how to prepare.

In fact, Boom Spokane is an awesome resource for pregnant women. They have information on each of the hospitals in town, doula's, classes, pediatricians and much more! Check them out for more information.

Take time to figure out what is best for you and your family and know what you are getting into. You are not alone!

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