“Losing It” in Birth

Molly has an excellent post that discusses “losing it” during birth, why women fear it, and why they shouldn’t fear it.

She encourages women who fear “losing it” to explore those feelings before birth, and come to terms with what “losing it” means to them, and why are they worried about it. This can be an important exercise, and it brings to mind something financial counselor Dave Ramsey has mentioned several times. Sometimes people will call into his show and express difficulty in giving up their credit cards, and fear about what may happen if they stop using their credit cards and/or cancel them or cut them up. He will press them to answer “Why?” — what exactly do they fear in not having credit cards? Usually, they’ll have some nebulous fear that they can’t quite pin down, but when pressed they’ll say something about their car breaking down and needing to buy a new (used) one, or having some sort of medical accident or emergency, or something breaking around the house that will need to be repaired or replaced. Then Dave points out that in the first two cases, the people wouldn’t ordinarily use credit cards anyway (if they absolutely had to get a car loan, they’d go through a bank or something; if they had a medical emergency, they’d just end up owing the hospital directly, not put it on credit cards), and most things that need repairing or replacing around the house will cost less than the $1000 emergency fund he recommends people keep, so they would not have to resort to credit cards even then.

Why did I tell that story? To demonstrate that often what one fears should not actually be feared — as Calvin Coolidge said (paraphrase), “Don’t rush out to meet trouble; nine times out of ten, it will run into the ditch before it even gets to you.” Most of the troubles you worry and fear are not really troubles — you are probably exaggerating your troubles, or at least the results of your troubles. Exploring your fears can also help come up with strategies to minimize the negative outcomes, even if your fears come true.

Do you fear “losing it” during birth? What does “losing it” look like to you? — yelling? screaming? crying? weeping? cursing? What happens if you end up doing these things — is it really going to alter your life if you “lose it” and end up yelling at the doctor? The nurse may have a “horror story” or a funny story to tell around the water cooler, but she probably won’t even remember you in a month; and your doctor probably won’t care either, and has had much worse done to him by other women in labor.

You can do this with any fear in labor or birth — and most likely when you do this, your troubles will look smaller and more manageable, or may not even be troubles at all.

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One Response

  1. For me “losing it” means losing control – something which I certainly did during my birth!! Losing control of your body, control of your pain levels, control of your vocalizations… It’s not a bad thing. Next time I won’t fear ‘losing it’ nearly so much. You really can’t get anywhere until you do, I think….

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