If I could write this article for people talking to pregnant women, all it would need to say is: Don’t tell them your horror stories! But it is probably going to be read by pregnant women and so you have to take matters in your own hands. Here is how.
First of all, yes, there are traumatic birth experiences. The question is: Do you need to know about them especially when you’re pregnant and your hormones are already all over the place? My answer is no.
If you are a mother and have some horror stories up your sleeve, keep them to yourself or tell them when someone asks. As you might remember, being pregnant makes you feel hyper anxious about everything and hopefully you would agree that it’s not necessary to add even more worries than those that come naturally.
How to avoid hearing them
I have had people wanting to tell me something starting by saying: ‘Oh my god, this is what happened to so-and-so…’ I stop them right there and then, asking them: ‘Do I really need to know what you’re going to tell me?’ or ‘Would you want my unborn children (I was pregnant with twins) to really hear this?’ Usually this stopped them in their tracks. Some people were a bit baffled, others realized what they were doing without thinking it through and apologised. With some friends I then asked: ‘If there is anything positive or something you want me to remember, tell me that part’. This way I heard tips like ‘rest well’ or ‘make sure you prepare your hospital bag soon’ etc.
If you already heard them
There are as many not so nice birth experiences as there are amazing ones. It all depends which ones you pay attention to. Your consciousness is like a search light: What is yours focused on?
If you have heard horrible stories and are worried, talk to your midwife or obstetrician and check for the facts. Read up on the internet or in the pregnancy books you already have at home. Talk to your girlfriends and ask them for their positive experiences or the tips they would want you to remember. In order to make use of their experiences you don’t need to hear how they forgot something or failed but what they have learnt from it.
The fact is that birth is an intense experience but it all depends on how you want to prepare yourself mentally for it. Do you visualize all that could go wrong or everything that could go right? Why not make your visualization of your perfect birth about what you do want, instead of what you don’t want. If you do this regularly, it will prepare your body and your nervous system to stay calm and be able to manage whatever comes your way.