If the prospect of giving birth freaks you out, you're not alone.
As with other momentous life events -- graduating, getting married, starting a new job -- the excitement and joy you're supposed to feel when pregnant can be eclipsed by growing anxiety about the unknown. With my first pregnancy, the big question mark of childbirth really freaked me out. I hadn't experienced surgery beyond the extraction of wisdom teeth and a corrective vision procedure -- both under heavy anaesthesia -- and of the myriad possible delivery scenarios, none seemed particularly appealing. Even the best of circumstances would require some serious anatomical contortions. Not knowing exactly when labor would begin added to the stress. As a high school teacher, I had visions of my water breaking in front of a class of teenagers who would probably proceed to capture the moment and share it on SnapChat. Yep, on top of the incalculable suffering of childbirth, I'd be committing SOCIAL SUICIDE.
I've heard enough birth stories to know that the best-laid birth plans of would-be mothers are more often than not foiled by physical complications, doctor recommendations, or rush-hour traffic (apparently 2 babies made their earthly debut on the Honolulu freeway last year). But while you can't prepare for what is by nature an unpredictable experience, you can at least know that your worrying puts you in good company. Here, mothers share their greatest fears as their due dates loom nearer.
I had always had a fear of labor since I was a teenager and watched some videos on Sex Ed in high school.
I was nervous about having a huuge baby because i was 10.1 lbs....buuut thankfully she came out at 6.5 lbs!
My biggest fear was the fear of the unknown- becoming a mom! I had been with my husband for 9 years. How was our dynamic going to change? How would I be as a mom? Uncertainty!
Orly, Las Vegas
Fear of labor, fear of taking care of a baby, fear regarding the future of my career/financial stability, fear regarding how a child would change my significant other relationship.
How difficult and long the birthing process would take.
(I was afraid of a) fast labor and giving birth alone or at my house.
Lauren, New Jersey
I was totally freaked out about the epidural. And of course, that whole keeping-a-human-alive thing.
For my second pregnancy, I was worried how I would manage sharing my love and time between two babies.
First time: Giving birth without an epidural. I wanted to do it, but was still a wee bit scared. Second time: Having to have an unwanted c-section and how hellish the recovery would be.
Whitney, Sleepy Hollow
Baby’s health. Effect on other kids. The exhaustion. The delivery being out of my hands (in the sense of...not knowing when I would start, how it would feel, how I would respond to pain). So....fears of the unknown.
I wasn't afraid of the labor process. However, I was convinced that our daughter would be naked throughout her childhood and that I didn't have enough clothes... so I spent a lot of the last few weeks shopping!
How will I function the way I did before pre-baby? How will I function without sleep (assuming I won't be getting any or will be getting little)? How will I continue to be effective in my career? What if I get really isolated from my friends? What if I deal with post partum depression or anxiety and it's awful?
Kate, San Francisco
As the baby gets bigger, I have irrational fears that I won't be able to get him out of me!! But then I remember that my body knows how to do this, even if my mind can't understand it.