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So scared and confused at childbirth!

(31 Posts)
MsHopey Wed 31-May-17 07:02:31

So scared. This is my first child, I am 30 weeks pregnant, and tbh I am absolutely petrified about childbirth. Me and DH have been together 8 years, he has wanted children all that time but it took quite a lot of courage for me to agree because of the dreaded birth. Everyone keeps saying it's not that bad, I'll get over it, people wouldn't have more kids if it was terrible. But nothing is making it any easier. I've tried speaking to my midwife (literally from the day she confirmed I was pregnant) but she just says "don't worry, it ages away yet". It doesn't feel that long away now. The idea of everything scares me, vaginal, C-section, epidural. My husband says I can do whatever I feel is best, and he thinks with the high anxiety I suffer an elective C-section would ease me. But I have no clue and I can't stop worrying.
Any help?

FathomsDeepAndFallingFurther Wed 31-May-17 07:08:33

You need to speak to your midwife again. Tell her that your anxiety about giving birth is affecting your mental health. They should be able to refer you to a specialist.

grounddown Wed 31-May-17 07:16:40

I agree with PP, you should be able to get some specialist help for this level of anxiety.
Personally I had 2 very positive birth experiences and very loosely followed hypno birthing if you have looked at that?

Honestly though it doesn't matter how baby is born, the hard work starts when they hand you the baby all wrapped up like a burrito and tell you to go home.....

peukpokicuzo Wed 31-May-17 07:31:04

Hi MsHopey
People have to respond to your fears with these reassurances because (a) no one can predict what will happen, childbirth is chaotic and yes it is risky BUT (b) in every possible scenario the risks for a negative experience are reduced if you the expectant mother are as calm and relaxed as possible.

Everyone involved does understand your fears - it's just that it is more important right now to encourage you not to think about these possible negatives.

Yes it is scarey but all the risks you hear about are generally quite rare. People who have bad experiences are way more likely to publicise their story than people who have good experiences so it is easy to accidentally get the impression that the bad thinks are more likely than they are. However the vast majority of women have a birth experience which, while rarely actually pleasant, is at least OK enough to consider doing it again one more, or several more, times.

The people you are talking about this to, your DH and the midwives, do not want to lie to you and cannot guarantee what will happen but dwelling on the worst case scenarios is just unhelpful.

your DH's idea about going for elective c-section in order to make the birth more predictable is not ridiculous but the long-term effects of having major abdominal surgery - especially then looking after a baby which is a lot of work - shouldn't be underestimated.

DoubleHelix79 Wed 31-May-17 07:33:10

Speak to your GP or midwife about Tocophobia and whether you might suffer from it. It's an (excessive) fear of pregnancy and/or childbirth and apparently not that uncommon.
Being a bit scared is perfectly normal, but you sound like it's really affecting you. Don't suffer in silence.

Fernanie Wed 31-May-17 07:36:32

Ms Hopey are you able to articulate what exactly it is about the birth that scares you? Is it the pain? Is it the loss of control? Is it that you've heard scary stories from others and you're afraid the same will happen to you..? If you're able to identify your fears (not always possible, I know) then it's easier for others to respond appropriately to them. Otherwise all they can really do is give vague reassurances because they don't really know how to target their response.
I would also suggest asking your midwife for either a perinatal mental health referral (nothing sinister, just means you get an appointment with a bit more time to talk specifically about your fears, rather than having to rush through them in the 5 minutes that are left after the blood pressure, listening to the baby's heart etc), or to speak to a consultant midwife / birth choices clinic if the hospital has one.

baconsandwiches Wed 31-May-17 08:22:44

For the first few months of pregnancy I found the idea of giving birth totally terrifying, I had a lot of anxiety around it. I would recommend looking into Hypnobirthing - it's made me see things very differently and although I'm still nervous about the unknown, I feel so much calmer, prepared and most importantly, in control.

kel1234 Wed 31-May-17 08:28:05

I agree. I think you need to speak to your midwife again and explain more in depth about how you are feeling and exactly what it is you're most concerned about, as a pp suggested.
You shouldn't be brushed off like that IMO

MsHopey Wed 31-May-17 12:24:44

It's the loss of control and the fear of the unknown. Not knowing when it's going to happen, whats going to happen, what's it's going to feel like. There's no way of even comprehending what it's going to feel like. I am a planner and knowing things settles my anxiety normally, but clearly this is something I can't plan (which is why DH thought a planned C-section would be better).
I am a highly anxious person anyways and have been diagnosed with high anxiety and low self esteem, so being in a situation I can't control worries me more than most people understand, on top of the fact that birth is already a scary thing at the best of times.
I will have to reiterate to my midwife how stressed I am feeling as I think she's probably heard it all before and doesn't realise how worried I actually am.

adlertippa Wed 31-May-17 12:40:31

I've found hypnobirthing brilliant for managing apprehension and fear. Even if it doesn't get me all the way through labour, it's helped me so much in late pregnancy. Currently 36 weeks, feeling really positive and excited. Good luck OP xx

Fernanie Wed 31-May-17 13:34:07

I would agree with PPs who've suggested hypnobirthing. I thought it was a load of hippie guff until I tried it. It's just really great for calming your mind and helping you regain control when you feel like you're losing it.
Also, with childbirth, things tend to happen slowly. So you normally have loads of time to prepare for each thing before it happens, especially with your first baby. Talk to your midwife about your feelings around loss of control, so that she can put something in your notes to make sure the midwife who looks after you when you deliver (whether vaginally or by c-section) makes extra sure to explain things really clearly, gives you enough time to think about things without pressuring you for a decision etc. There are lots of things you can't plan regarding childbirth, but also lots that you can. And if the midwives understand your anxiety then there are things they can do help put you back in control of the situation.

AceholeRimmer Wed 31-May-17 13:41:34

I had two planned sections due to feeling the same as you OP and they are the best thing I've done. Yes the recovery is painful at the beginning but you skip all the chaos, unpredicability, damage and pain of vaginal birth.

Alicekeach Wed 31-May-17 14:34:35

I felt exactly like you and after much thought and research requested an elective section. After a long discussion with a consultant and a senior midwife my request was granted.

The c section was fine and the recovery not too bad. I ended up with a long hospital stay, but that was due to pre eclampsia, and would have been the case however if given birth. I would recommend an ELCS to anybody with severe anxiety around childbirth.

MsHopey Wed 31-May-17 15:32:48

I have been thinking about it but think other people will be funny. I am very much a people pleaser, probably the anxiety again. My husband is all for the c-section because he knows me so well, but I think my family and his would be funny about it. Saying I'm taking the easy way out, in no way you I believe it'll be the easy way, it's just the less anxious route for me. I thought the midwives wouldn't allow an elective section just because I'm anxious. I was told they'd probably be funny about an epidural.

mimiholls Wed 31-May-17 15:36:28

Another one who had elcs due to similar feelings. I loved knowing exactly what was going to happen and when. Really pleased with my decision and recovery was great. Its not a decision to be taken lightly but definitely an option to consider.

Fragglez Wed 31-May-17 15:49:04

I had a pretty unpleasant birth experience, tbh. But i still want to do it again. Pfb is 6 months old now and I'm definite that i want more kids. It really is worth it, i promise!

I had an emergency spinal and can wholeheartedly recommend the epidural type painkiller. I thought i didn't want one as i'm not keen on needles but, honestly, it was fantastic.

I would be hesitant about having a c-sec simply because it is major surgery, and immediately afterwards you will need to be taking care of a baby. There won't be the recuperation time that you would get with other surgeries iyswim. If you have loads of family support that you can rely on 110% then that would lessen the worry for me, but bf for instance, only you can do.

I understand the aspect of being able to plan, i don't know if you can choose to be induced or maybe have a sweep early? I had a sweep at 41wks in the morning and had baby the next lunchtime.

Good luck, i know it's scary, but it is also normal and natural, if that helps - I'm not sure it does?!

Fragglez Wed 31-May-17 15:53:32

Oh, i meant to say, it doesn't matter in the slightest what other people think - if you want to give birth to the sound of a brass band whilst nibbling on weetabix then you go right ahead, it's you that is having the baby, no one else!

TurquoiseDress Wed 31-May-17 19:58:22


I really sympathise with the way that you feel.

For similar reasons to you, I requested a CS. I didn't get the ball rolling til late i.e. Post 35 weeks, but it was absolutely the right decision for me.

I had to jump through a few hoops- meet separately with 2 consultant obstetricians and even see a consultant psychiatrist as part of the deal. So I got an ELCS for maternal request.

For me recovery was straightforward, we were home within 48 hours.

I've got a few friends who had vaginal births but with protracted recoveries due to instrumental delivery, episiotomy then 3rd/4th degree tear then corrective surgery later down the line.

By comparison I was up and about, leaving the home with baby and out in the town/park.

For balance, I have other friends who had spontaneous vaginal deliveries and recovered fairly quickly.

I think my point is that there's no guarantee what kind of birth you will have even if it's a so-called straightforward VB.

Do what feels right for you, never mind what family or anyone else thinks.

Plus it's great that your partner seems v understanding and supportive.
Good luck

ShouldHaveListenedInBiology Wed 31-May-17 20:08:50

Another vote for hypnobirthing here. I just did Maggie Howell's online Natal Hypnotherapy course and it was really effective at helping me to stay calm. It examines the reasons for our fears and is incredibly reassuring. I delivered a 9lb 6oz baby with no pain relief thanks to it! Which is something I NEVER thought I would do, and the sense of achievement at having overcome my fears and the pain of childbirth is incredible.

AceholeRimmer Wed 31-May-17 21:54:05

It's no-one elses business how you give birth, this is your body and your life. It's not the easy way out, it's just a different method that comes with its own pains but without the anxiety and unpredictability.

You don't need lots of family support either if you have a good partner. Mine was ace with taking care of everything for me, toddler and baby.

PonderLand Wed 31-May-17 22:24:11

I was scared too OP, I actually put a thread on here and got a bit flamed! Oops!

Anyway me and my DP booked onto a last minute NCT course and I also went on an NHS one. Both helped my anxiety, I think a part of it for me was that I didn't feel like my DP would be a good birth partner, he's quite shy and backs away from any kind of discussion/conversation. I would really recommend the courses for both parents.

I also think you need to talk to your midwife again and get as much information as you can about birth and what will be the best decision for you.

FartnissEverbeans Wed 07-Jun-17 19:45:42

My husband is all for the c-section because he knows me so well, but I think my family and his would be funny about it. Saying I'm taking the easy way out,

How fucking dare they?! It's your body OP, not theirs, and frankly why the fuck shouldn't you take 'the easy way'? This is just misogyny, harking back to the sin of Eve and how women deserve punishment for their sexuality. Fuck that shit. Get a c section. Two of my friends did and they loved it.

MsHopey Thu 08-Jun-17 12:23:14

Very anxious about the whole thing. My due date is now only 8 weeks away, I can't stop fearing the birth and now find I am constantly googling or asking people about their experiences to try and relieve my fears. As of yet, my fears are just as intensified as they have always been. My next appointment with my midwife is when I will be 34 weeks pregnant, is this too late to ask for an elective c section? Because as of yet still no one has discussed anything at all regarding the birth! Whenever I bring it up they're still very dismissive as "everyone is worried'. I have a friend who is having an elective c section tomorrow. She is a high risk pregnancy and basically had to beg for one in the end, but is telling most people it's for medical reasons because of how judgemental everyone is being. I just want baby out with as little horror and fuss as possible, I just keep thinking if I'm this stressed thinking about the baby coming out, how stressed will I be during the birth?

PonderLand Thu 08-Jun-17 12:49:56

OP is there any nct classes you can go to near you? If you go on the nct website you can search your town. Likewise for NHS classes, midwife will also be able to give you info on those classes, you need to ring her if she hasn't put any Leaflets/info in your mat notes of classes nearby.

arbrighton Thu 08-Jun-17 13:40:58

You can ring and talk to your midwife before then. YOu need to do something about this and insist on being listened to.

But please don't think that having a section will be no fuss...

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