Dear Doula: I’m About to Give Birth for the First Time. How Do I Deal With My Fear?

Lori Bregman

Dear Doula: I’m About to Give Birth for the First Time. How Do I Deal With My Fear?

Welcome to “Dear Doula,” where our trusted Doula-in-Residence, Lori Bregman, shares her invaluable advice and insights on all things related to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum wellness. Lori has a wealth of experience as a doula, supporting mothers through their pregnancy and birth journeys for over 20 years. She brings a unique blend of compassion, expertise, and practical wisdom to our readers.

In each installment of “Dear Doula,” Lori will address common concerns, offer guidance on navigating challenges, and empower you with the knowledge to make informed decisions. Whether you’re expecting, a new parent, or simply curious about pregnancy and birth, reach out to us on social media with your questions.

Dear Lori,

I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant and I’m starting to feel more and more anxious about giving birth, I know some fear of the unknown is normal but I’m terrified, how can I be better prepared to deal with my emotions around birth and let go a bit.

Worried Mom.

Dear terrified mama to be, I want you to know that you are not alone and that a lot of women feel the same way before they give birth. We all know birth is unpredictable and it unfolds in its unique way and time. This can bring up a lot of fear of the unknown and anticipatory anxiety. So my question is, Where can you be a little extra gentle with yourself right now? You are entering new territory as you travel on your journey to where you have never been before. This also applies for 2nd, 3rd time moms because this next birth will be different than the previous and you are also different now.

Here are some of my tips to help navigate and work through the emotions that are coming up for you. Personally I love when it comes up during the pregnancy so you have time to clear it before birth. Fear can prevent you from going into labor and when in shows up in labor often it can prolong it until your able to release the emotion or feeling. 

Identifying your story around birth - Whenever work with my clients, one of the first thing we dive into are the story’s they carry inside them around birth. We grow up hearing our moms talk about their birth with us, your friends and other family members all have stories, not to mention the over saturation of society’s projects, care provider, social media and the internet If you aren’t aware these stories can easily become your story about birth. Something you can do is take a moment and think about what you have been told about birth and notice who and where it came from. Often you will find that it is other peoples projections that you have taken on. This will allow you to tap into your own truth about birth.

Using fear or what’s coming up for you as your teacher- During your journey into motherhood, whether you’re trying to conceive or already pregnant things come up along the way to help better prepare you for motherhood  and to help better parent your unique child. If the fear of the unknown is coming up maybe it’s teaching you to learn to trust more, if you are trying to control a situation maybe the gift is learning to let go and flow more. If your due date rolls around and you are becoming inpatient, where can you cultivate some patience. If you’re self beating and being hard on yourself where can you embody more love and compassion for yourself. Fear its in itself is a great teacher within it holds the gift of transformation and growth.  

P-12 purge writing- years ago I was working with a client and I asked her if she wanted to work on any fear she had about birth or becoming a mother. She said, nopeI don’t have any! I was like wow that’s amazing what. Did you do to work through it. She told me she did a purge writing exercise daily starting back from when she was trying to conceive all the way thru her pregnancy. We share the same holistic doctor and he had given it to her and she shared it with me. It’s called P12 PURGE WRITING here is how you do it: 

Get a white candle and lighten it - it helps clear the energy 

Set a timer for 12 min (12 pertains to cycles) 

Begin to write on paper about anything you’re worried about, your fears, the whats ifs, anything or anyone that is stressing you out or that you feel overwhelmed about. 

Write until the timer goes off then stop. Do not read what you wrote. You just got it out of your mind and body so you don’t want to put it back in by rereading what you wrote. 

Take the paper and burn it - Fire dissipates the energy and clears it. 

Do this exercise daily as it’s like taking out the trash everyday. Before you know it all that energy and fear will be cleared. 

Read or watch inspirational and positive  birth stories -for as many negative stories there are out there about birth there are that many or more positive ones. Where your attention goes your energy flows. Focusing on the positive and what can go right will help shift your views about birth. 

Educate yourself all about labor and birth - We often fear what we don’t know. I cant tell you how many people feel so much better once they educate themselves about birth and the choices they have. Some great books ina mays guide to childbirth and spiritual midwifery, transformed by birth by Brittany bushunal ( spelling), push by i don’t know who wrote and the birth partner by penny simpkin. Watch the documentaries the  business of being born and born free 

Set boundaries with others to protect yourself - Maybe it’s a bonding thing or a wanting to connect about a shared experience but  for some reason people just love to tell pregnant moms horror stories about their own birth or something negative they herd about a birth. It’s so important to watch other peoples stories and projections. Your prenatal mind  is very impressionable like a sponge absorbing information and like I said earlier can feed your fear and become your story about birth. You are allowed to set a boundary when someone starts to talk and say, hey I’m trying to stay positive so unless your story is helpful not hurtful id rather you not share it with me and change the subject. Another to notice is that every birth story is different just like yours will be. 

Bring yourself back too the present moment - the future hasn’t happened yet the past is over, all you have control over is the present moment. It’s what you do today that helps shape your future. Here is a simple exercise to bring your self back to the present moment. This is helpful when anticipatory anxiety sets in or the oh shit not again shows up. 

5 things you can see 

4 things you can touch

3 things you can hear

2 you can smell

1 things you can taste 

Now take a few slow deep breathes in thru the nose deep into lower belly for the count of 4 and then out thru the mouth for the count of 5 or more. As you breathe in, breathe in the energy or feeling of the word peace as your create out breathe out anything your worried or stressed about. When you’re finished ask yourself what is one thing you can do today to work toward your future goals? This might be reading a few pages from a book about birth, signing up for a birth class, interviewing and hiring a doula... 

Sending you all the positive birthing vibes! You got this mama! Xoxox Lori 

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Lori Bregman,

Lori Bregman is a renowned doula, life coach, author of The Doula Deck, Mamaste, and The Mindful Mom To Be, as well as co-founder of Seedlyfe Superfoods. With over 20 years of experience, Lori works with moms-to-be and new moms on all aspects of their personal transformation from fertility through pregnancy and into new motherhood.