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What Are Your Worst Fears in Pregnancy?

Sometimes the Facebook Queries take a deeper turn than others. This question in particular struck a chord with many women. Fears in pregnancy aren’t often delved into beyond momentary glances followed by reassurances that everything will be fine. Sometimes the feelings need to be held for a little longer than just a moment, but promise me, ladies… you won’t take these fears and wear them like a new cloak you’ll worry about every day. 

 Here, without even initials, are the fears women bravely shared on my Navelgazing Midwife Facebook page. Feel free to add your own to the list. We’ll hold them tenderly. 

(Some comments edited for clarity.)

- My biggest fear was a baby with a cleft palate or something like that. I remember feeling so guilty that I was being so shallow. I wasn't afraid of a cesarean or my baby dying.

- Unresolvable shoulder dystocia is my irrational worst fear. Until the baby actually comes out, I'm scared every.single.time that s/he is stuck.

- Cord accident, hands down.

- Stillborn, late term miscarriage, due to hyperemesis, low birth weight, breathing difficulties, a heart issue, hemorrhage; I was pretty much a basket case of worry.

- With my first baby, it was probably something that required an NICU stay or lengthy separation. With my second (as I was planning a homebirth), it was having to transfer emergently to the hospital for a C-Section. With this pregnancy, I'm not really sure. I'm more afraid about after the baby is born and how I will handle 3 kids, spaced closer than I ever planned on, and if I'll have to go back to work.

- After 4 miscarriages, it’s always loss.

- Shoulder dystocia is my nightmare. I have bigger babies with line backer shoulders and my first did indeed have SD (shoulder dystocia) although that was likely due to position/epidural/being induced early and was fairly easily resolved with McRoberts. Still, it's a scary thing to be in the middle of and I always feared it would occur again without being able to get him/her out. I was also scared of breech with my twins...and you know how that worked out. (She had a breech and it went fine.)

- NgM - I know we all know this, but I really, really hope women don't judge their own fears as being appropriate or not. Just because one woman has death fears doesn't mean a baby with Down syndrome isn't equally terrifying. Even when something is correctable like cleft palates or other "cosmetic" issues, I know those can be just as horrific in the head.

- That someone would take my baby from me. I had nightmares about it in my second pregnancy, where I was hiding the baby so no one could find him. After he was born, I had PPD (Postpartum Depression) and was convinced that something horrible was going to happen to them and they would die, so I was planning their funerals in my head. My psychiatrist promised me that no one was going to take them away or commit me, to help me trust him and open up about my symptoms.

-  I think I feared a mentally disabled child the most, having been brought up to think intelligence was all important. My father taught mentally handicapped children and achieved great things with them, teaching many to read, write and do simple math even though they were only supposed to be able to, by the classifications of the day, to be only 'trainable' not 'educable.' He also taught them to work with tools and with many other things in the world. For instance, having an enormous aquarium in his room filled with local stream life. He behaved with devotion towards them, but always grieved at their limitations beyond which his efforts could not take them, and feared finding any such thing in his children. I believe in the worth of all people, not dependent on their intelligence, but the values I was brought up with were also strong in me.

- With my UC (Unassisted [Child]Birth), being responsible for my baby's death.

- Dead baby. Always, the constant fear of a dead baby. Waking up and frantically poking my belly ‘til I could feel baby wake up as well. Every morning.

- I also had similar fears for probably the first year of my first child’s life. That he would die.

- I was afraid once because I ate the potatoes which had parts which had turned green and read that this might be a cause of spina bifida or anencephaly. It seemed impossible to get through any pregnancy without doing or encountering something which one could fear might have harmed the baby.

One fear I think was real. I was taking anatomy and physiology and we were doing dissections without gloves and pickling our fingers in formaldehyde. I read that in a long list of teratogens and went to my teacher, who told me to stop, not to do any more dissections. That baby was born with a minor degree of hypospadia, and I think that could have been the reason.

But most of the rest were merely dark shadows of fear finding some form to cling to.

- With my third, I had an intense fear of pushing. It hit me suddenly during transition. I felt better once I verbalized my fear of pushing with my midwife. I don't know why, but just saying that I was scared of the pushing stage made me feel better and less scared.

- My fear during pregnancy was of the hospital staff being pushy and not allowing us to labor peacefully and birth how we wanted. Grateful that in the end it didn't matter at all!

- To be honest I didn't even have a reasonable degree of fear that anything would go wrong during birth. I had tiny pricklings of fear about my C-section scar for the first few home births and then I really totally forgot about it. Other than that, I just didn't expect that I would have any problem giving birth. Not saying this is reasonable but that is where I was at.

- My first child was before my "birth enlightenment". Because I have always had horrible constipation, I thought my body would not be able to push a baby out. "If I can't push out a little poop without pharmacological help, how can I push out an entire person" was my very real fear. It seemed so private and scary, I never told a soul. Turns out my body knows exactly what to do - 3 contractions of pushing and he was out. But my fear made me push too hard, and I prolapsed my uterus. A good reminder that 1) no fear is to silly to talk about before birth, 2) fear can truly effect birth and 3) to take seriously any fear that women discuss with me during pregnancy/labor.

- That I would have to be transferred to the hospital. And then all of my defending of homebirth would have been out the window. But it went well and we birthed at home 5 weeks early!

- Scared that I'd be transferred to the hospital. Scared about tearing or being cut again. Phobic about the ring of fire, after the consultant made out she did me a HUGE favour by giving me a local and a cut and using forceps. She fed me lies about the baby emerging being the worst pain ever, just couldn't shake that fear.... Stupid woman! It could have been easier and smoother if she hadn't given me that worry to hold me back!!

- Having to have a c-section. The first pregnancy I read that What to Expect When You are Expecting book and was in fear of everything.

- I had a strange fear of dying when I was pregnant with my first. I looked around at all the women in my life who had survived giving birth and realized that odds were firm that I would too!

- I was petrified of induction or c-section. Induction became a reality at 42 weeks, but I fortunately still had a vaginal birth. Will never willingly birth in a hospital again.

- My biggest fear with #1 was cleft lip, cleft palate. I watched a lot of infomercials about it during that pregnancy.

#2 my biggest fear was premature labour (because of #1)

#3 my biggest fear was going into labor far from home, thankfully I was home because my labor was 30 minutes that time.

- This sounds like the silliest thing in the world, but my biggest fear when I was pregnant was that I wouldn't take care of her umbilical cord stump properly. By the time she was born, I had worked myself into a full tilt over it, convinced that I was going to somehow kill my baby because I messed up her cord stump.

- Oh thank you so much for asking this... some of these still haunt me and I've never really been able to tell anyone! I had a fear that my oldest son would drown complete with nightmares about it. I feared something apocalyptic would happen and I wouldn't be able to get to my mom's 200 miles away. I also had fears about how I would be able to get all the kids out of the van if I crashed into water.

- I am so worried about a prolapsed cord. And having to transfer to the hospital. And that my baby will die. Scary stuff.

- NgM - When I was pregnant with Tristan (#1) back in 1982, ultrasounds were archaic, barely able to display a shadow, much less anomalies. They did one at 7 months because I'd already gained over 50 pounds (ended up gaining 70 pounds). I got to watch the screen (rare for that time) and when I saw his hands, I freaked out that he had stumps for hands, his hands curled into tight balls like claws, deformed and ghastly. The doctor told me it was nothing to worry about, that everything looked normal, but I obsessed about it the rest of the pregnancy. When he was born, I didn't care about the gender, I just wanted to see his hands. Of course, his hands were in balls because that's how baby's hands are!

I was so, so green back then and this memory helps me with newly pregnant moms scared of something or other, that explaining things, not just reassuring them, can make all the difference in the world.

As we all see, of course, even the most knowledgeable of us can have enormous fears, rational or irrational; doesn't matter which.

With Meghann, I was terrified of a cesarean; she was a UC with a gnarly shoulder dystocia.

With Aimee, I was worried about shoulder dystocia (of course), but more worried about having to endure hospital protocols when I knew better. (I was a doula and having a homebirth.) My water broke 7 days before labor started, leaving me in the hands of the CNMs at the military hospital. I finagled signed birth plans from docs re: my desires. In the end, labored alone and had Aimee in the car. Because of my birth plan, however, we stayed a mere 3 hours then went home. It was the BEST birth of all three.

- Water breaking preterm before 37 weeks and therefore not being able to have my homebirth.

- My fear? - my baby's death, either as a miscarriage, a fetal demise, during birth, or as a baby.

- Having another stillbirth after losing my first baby to PROM (Premature Rupture of Membranes) at 20 weeks. I was terrified of going into preterm labor before 25 weeks and being told they couldn't help me again.

- I'm so glad I had my daughter before I was an NICU nurse. I just had those vague fears that something might be wrong.

- Going into labor prior to 37 weeks or having to transfer to the hospital. I did transfer to the hospital after 36 hours of active labor (6+ in transition), but birthed a beautiful 40-weeker vaginally after 44 hours. I had random fears throughout pregnancy of my son dying.

- I'm 34 weeks with my first and am still in shock that nothing has happened and everything has been text book. I've had bizarre health issues since puberty so I don't have a lot of trust with my body. I am trying to work through the fear of waiting for the other shoe to drop. The unknown is what's most terrifying. That I am going to have a child for the rest of my life and cannot guarantee it's protection is terrible.

- I had nightmares about having miscarriage or stillbirth. During labor all I was worried about was a c-section, it was a constant fear.

- So, I am not afraid of another c-section. I am not afraid of a stillbirth (not that I want one), or a miscarriage or congenital defects - in the end of the 3rd trimester and during labor death seems to be walking with me. Not death of the world, MY death, my end, to me birthing is bringing life and death. I am not normally morbid nor morose but it makes my hair stand on end and I do think death was holding me close during my c-section, and I remember being given a choice (in my head) after he was born and I didn't care at all. So I do what I can to avoid death before, during and after pregnancy but I know that will be there next time too.

- I honestly didn't have many fears with baby 1 or 2. With my 3rd son, all I could think was I am tempting fate. I've never had a miscarriage so until I reached about 15 weeks the fear of that was in my mind. I worried about still birth after that. When I finally put that fear to rest, I thought I'd conquered the notion that I could not be so "lucky" as to have another healthy child and birth, but the stuff my doctor said throughout the latter part of my pregnancy seeped in. About 25 weeks he was first hinting at big baby. Then by 30 weeks, he wanted to schedule my induction (which I flat out refused). He scheduled one any way, which I didn't show up for. I went a few days overdue feeling perfectly fine, but when it was time to push my baby out, very briefly, I felt fear creep in (I’ve never felt fear pushing my baby out before). I thought I was a bad girl and didn't listen. My baby will get stuck and die and it will be all my fault for not listening and tempting fate and getting pregnant again. I think my boyfriend sensed my hesitation, because he whispered in my ear, “If you need to push, think of the reward you are getting when you are done. We will finally see our baby.” I pushed our son out in less than 15 minutes after that. slowly, on my own terms, and it was beautiful. He did weigh over nine pounds, but I had no trauma because of it. And neither did he.

- I am pregnant with #4, 39 weeks on Wednesday and those silly fears of tempting fate have popped up again. I addressed them all early on with my midwives. Now I focus on positivity and strength. The strength is to be able to deal with whatever comes my way. The positivity is basically knowing I can do this. My baby can do this, even though it's a first home birth for me; I feel more relaxed because of it.

- I don't remember many with my first 3. I guess the biggest was #2 and I was afraid I would end up with another cesarean. I was scared a lot of my pregnancy with #4 that something was going to happen to her. She was not planned by my husband and I and I knew if something happened to her it would be hard to cope with because I had just decided to go back to school and we were struggling as it was. She's 22 months now and the biggest blessing ever!

- I was scared I’d develop preeclampsia –again- and scared I wouldn't make it to term… again (x2). I didn't and I did and it is the greatest feeling of pride and competency to be able to say that my body CAN do what it’s supposed to. I CAN carry a pregnancy to TERM.

Having to have a c-section. It's honestly the main reason I wanted to go/went med-free, to give myself the best chance at vaginal birth. (It also meant I was doing every trick in the book from 37 weeks on to get baby into a good position and encourage labor.)

That being said, I had to come to terms with the fact that a c-section was a possibility and it might be beyond my control. Being HSV+ (Herpes Simplex Virus), my biggest fear was losing my chance at a vaginal birth with a late pregnancy outbreak. Despite taking prophylactic Valtrex in the last month, I got a lesion a week before my EDD (Estimated Due Date). Probably due to stress/anxiety/hormones shifting with labor on the horizon. At that point, I was having regular periods of BH (Braxton Hicks contractions), so I was terrified of going into labor before I was healed. Let me tell you, I am now a firm believer in positive thinking, and it doesn't hurt if you also have friends praying for you. I firmly told my body to hold off on labor until my EDD. The BH stopped completely. I commenced with a lot of self care to heal as quickly as possible. Wouldn't you know, my water broke spontaneously shortly after midnight on my EDD, contractions started 15 minutes later, and 12 hours later I had a beautiful med-free hospital delivery.

Interesting moment from labor: I had just made it through transition and was told I could start pushing. I had been way deep in labor-land, but the second my midwife gave the green light for pushing, I snapped into clarity and had my first RAWR MAMA BEAR moment and asked her to double check and make sure I was completely healed (even though I knew I was) just in case because I couldn't handle the possibility of hurting my baby girl.

- NgM - Wow, everyone. Very, very powerful, these thoughts.

As you women spoke about luck running out, I totally remembered that after you said it. I'd never had a miscarriage (still haven't), really didn't have any problems during the pregnancies, no bleeding or anything... and I was a doula pregnant with 2 and 3, so knew way too much at that point to be non-chalant. I was so scared something was going to smack me upside my head and I would be one of most who've experienced so many things going wrong.

My things that went wrong (shoulder dystocia, post-dates, SROM [Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes]  for days) were not anticipated, so didn't terrify me. Much scarier were the unknowns. I think it's part of why I play out the worst-case-scenario with clients; it can really help name the fear and put it in its place.

I see it like this.

The fear is the mouse in the corner, but all you can see is its huge, long, ugly shadow on the wall. Talking about the fear gives mom a flashlight to peer into the darkness and, hopefully, see the scary thing really isn't that giant shadow, but a small mouse that's lost its way. Please don't think I'm diminishing the fears' grasp, but offering a way for moms to face the worst and then be able to put it in a box and set it aside when they can. If that helps someone here, I'm glad.

- During my 1st, when I was about 16 or 17 weeks, I remember a woman telling me that she lost her 1st baby at like 24ish weeks. (And side note--I have no clue why she would just volunteer such information, in great detail, to a women who was newly pregnant!!) And that became my greatest fear -that I would lose the baby in some rare, pre-term labor type situation. And then my greatest fear came true. (Due to cervical incompetence @ 19.5 weeks.) As my cervix was dilating prematurely, on the surface I was in denial. But in my head, before I even went to the hospital, I knew it was cervical incompetence. I just knew it. I had no history or anything else that would've suggested to me that it was cervical incompetence... I just knew it in my heart.

Something happens to people when they've already experienced their greatest fear realized. It can make you stronger or it can paralyze you. During my 2nd pregnancy, it paralyzed me. I was terrified of losing another baby in the same way. I kept telling myself, "I'll be more relaxed when I make it to 24 weeks, 26 weeks, 28 weeks, etc." Yet as I reached each of those milestones successfully, I found all sorts of new things to obsessively fixate upon. I most certainly carried all that fear into my birth.

Thankfully, I was able to fully grieve the loss of our 1st baby before we conceived our 3rd pregnancy. This pregnancy was totally different. I was far more educated, empowered, but most of all, I was free from all the painful baggage I carried into my 2nd pregnancy/birth. During my 3rd pregnancy, my greatest fear was a c-section, or rather anything completely out of my control that could lead to a truly, medically-necessary c/sec. I believed in myself and I was very confident in my abilities to have an unmedicated birth. Then my baby was breech and stayed that way through all my attempts to encourage her to flip!!! And I ran out of time trying to find a care provider who had experience w/vaginal breech (which I was willing to consider). So I decided to embrace my birth and my baby and carefully laid out a positive c/sec plan. And in the end, because I worked through my greatest fear, it didn't become my worst nightmare. A c-section is always a c-section; it can never, ever come remotely close to resembling a normal vaginal birth. But for what it was, I was able to make it as positive as possible.

- I was worried about being stressed and the baby picking up on it. Stressing about being stressed. Worrying that my baby would be a worrier. Any less than pure thought in my mind was undermining my baby's future. I was mostly scared about becoming a parent.

- My biggest fear was AFE (Amniotic Fluid Embolism). Which was really not something I could do anything about.
Now, my biggest fear would be abuse/intentional harming/disrespect and disregard. This is, of course, because of what did happen with my last birth.

- Losing this baby, very early on after 3 miscarriages. I set a milestone and would get excited when we met them: 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 20 weeks, and now 28 weeks.

- Bleeding to death in labor. I used to have strange dreams about this when I was young, long before I was ever pregnant. Someone (of a more mystical bent than I) once told me that I had died of PPH (Postpartum Hemorrhage) in a previous life! This fear completely disappeared after the first labor went smoothly.

- Carrying the baby to term, just to have it be still born. Or dying in childbirth... I think that scared both my husband and myself.

- I'm interested that you remember your fears so clearly Barb, or anyone else with adult kids. I don't remember any at all, although I'm sure I had them. In fact I know I had them, because I remember an important task of my first pregnancy was learning how to box up the fears of things I could not control.

I always thought of it as putting them in a box and putting the box on a shelf. Trying to make the fears just go away wasn't really do-able, but putting them in a box on a shelf meant I could take them down and have a look at them from time to time, but put them away again so that they didn't drive me crazy. I no longer remember what was in the boxes. Perhaps they got lost in a move somewhere along the line.

- Shoulder dystocia. Ever since I learned about it at about 5 months, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Once I decided on a home birth, I had a fear that there would be more than one client in labor at the same time.

I'd like to note that both of these things happened. He was a dystocia and thankfully I was able to move around because I was at home and my midwife handled the situation with such skill. Amazing. Also, there was another client in labor! She went into labor before I did, and had her baby after I did. Two Valentine's Day babies!!! I kept a pregnancy journal. It's so weird to go back and read it now.

- Still birth is the one thing that really makes me stop. Most other things I don't worry about. I guess I just don't let myself worry about them.

- NgM -Thank you, all of you. May all your fears vanish in the wind... or at least, maybe they'll stay put in that box on the top shelf of your closet for the duration of the pregnancy.

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Reader Comments (17)

Honestly, my biggest fear is losing one of my twins. I have researched and researched twins being born at home and my "logical" mind that being that I have had 3 successful, full term, very healthy pregnancies...and I am extremely healthy (and fit) now, that I should not have any problems/issues. But, everyone I know who has had twins has had an "emergency c-section" and honestly...that sits at the back of my mind..."What if I am not making the right choice?" I just want to birth my twins naturally...I don't want to be strapped to an OR table, given an epidural, flat on my back and told that they are "giving me the chance" to birth naturally. I didn't want to schedule a c-section at 37 weeks because that's when twins are "ready" and so all will be fine. I mean, I have no issues with getting a c-section, if I really need to...but I don't want to be forced into it because of my "advanced maternal age" (36) and the fact that I am having twins.

I hope beyond hope that I am making the decision that is best for my babies (and I do feel I am) and I wish that I could get my emotional mind in line with my logical mind.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

"I also had fears about how I would be able to get all the kids out of the van if I crashed into water."

This is *always* a fear of mine. That if I crashed into water, or just plain crashed -- that I wouldn't be able to get all my kids out. Or if I did get them out, and we were in water.. how would I support them all. Surely someone would die. How would I ever handle the heartbreak, knowing I'd killed one? All?

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermommymichael

I'd like to add my own. My fear with my first was that I would need to have surgery during my pregnancy because of my gallstones. I was unable to eat properly because of the stones and the doctor said I might have to have surgery during the pregnancy.

With my second babe, at the beginning I met with an OB. The moment we left the doc office I had a panic attack because I was so afraid to birth with her as our doc. I changed to a different OB and was still in a panic until we found a midwife to do a homebirth with. Once we had the midwife, I was no longer scared of a hospital birth.

I think I was so afraid of a hospital birth with my 2nd because my first ended up in the NICU because of the mistakes of the doctor and nurses. I have no trust in them.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea C

Someone mentioned the What To Expect book.....I've been offered several copies from friends (I'm not yet expecting), but it sounds like, at least for the above mom, that it created a lot of fear. Is there a recommendation out there for a better book for an expectant first time mom?

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

Wow, that was raw. And lovely. I missed this one on FB. Thank you to everybody for sharing.

With my first I had no fears during pregnancy, I was overconfident about everything. Then I had a labor in which I felt undermined, had a PPH resulting in anemia, and then postpartum anxiety. I became afraid of everything. (Story worth laughing at, now anyway: When my daughter was a week old, I noticed a pointy cyst in her sacral dimple. In my anemic PPMD state, I thought my baby had a tail! So I went and researched what it might have meant for my kid to have been born with a vestigial tail and completely freaked myself out. Fortunately I was sane enough to ask my mother who insisted it was a cyst, and lo and behold, it went away.)

Second pregnancy I was terrified. I was planning a completely different birth than the first and was so scared that I'd need pit again... scared that my body really couldn't do this, that it wasn't hospital protocol's fault, that I was broken. Thankfully her birth enthusiastically stamped out those fears.

Third pregnancy I had bad varicose veins and I was scared I would die of pulmonary embolism. They weren't bad enough for this fear to be rational, but fear isn't exactly a rational emotion, so I'm cool with that. I knew it at the time too, knew that I had a very small risk of that and that I never had any symptoms of a clot.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh and one really strange fear, that I will be done having babies and won't be content. I have 7 born, have been pregnant 10 times. 7 kids at home, c'mon, as if I shouldn't be content. But I don't want to pine and long and wish and regret.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

My biggest fear with my son was doctors. I was right! But I was afraid too of premature labor and an unnecessary csection. And the later happened too... For my next pregnancy I'm afraid of doctors more than ever. And, sadly, of my midwife. It is something we will need to talk about before I even get pregnant again.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWoe

Dawn: When I got together with Sarah, that pretty much ended my birthing career. We'd off and on considered having another one (we have 4 between is... me, 3 and she, 1), but the reality was our time was over. As I got older, I found myself sad at times; I was/am a great mama! It was what I did better than anything else ever. Not that I held out hope or anything, but, oh, my... when the doctor told me I had passed through perimenopause and was now in menopause, I cried. Probably for a few days.

I tend to think most of us avid mom-types would look at the end of our procreating somewhat wistfully. No matter how many kids we've had.

Courtney: "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth," "Your Best Birth" and the movie "Business of Being Born." That's a great start. Search "natural childbirth books" and you'll find loads of suggestions, too.

I very much appreciate all of you sharing your thoughts and fears. Very much. And I know others do, too.

January 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Oh, and Angela... much love to you as you ready to birth your twins. Please do come back and tell us your beautiful birth story!

January 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I wanted so badly to reply to this on FB, but I didn't want my meddling in-laws to see all my fears!

After 3 miscarriages, I'm 14.5 weeks pregnant with #4. We've been terrified the entire time of losing this baby too. There have been so many milestones where I thought I could feel better about it: when the early u/s came back as not ectopic, at 6 weeks when I was past the gestational age of all my prior losses, at 8 weeks when we saw the heartbeat, etc. And they did relieve some of the anxiety. But at 12 weeks, I started bleeding and cramping thanks to a degenerating fibroid. It keeps recurring, so I'm on partial bedrest which of course only gives me more time to think about all the things that could still go wrong!

Other things that scare me include:
1) my pelvic kidney and preexisting high blood pressure, the combination of which has had me emitting preeclamptic levels of urinary protein since I was 8 weeks along.
2) my OB. Central South Dakota has no midwives, not that it matters in my case anyway since every other OB in town rejected me for being "too high-risk"!
3) the possibility of a C-section. Though I'm luckier than most in this regard because even my cut-happy OB wants to avoid a C for fear of nicking the kidney nestled up against my uterus.

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterManapan

My fear is that I will not attach to the baby after birth and that I won't want it breastfeeding. I think this fear is directly related to being sexually abused as a child. I don't know how to get over it except by going through it with a woman who has been there.

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

With my first I was definitely unafraid of anything. At most I was afraid my son would have a sensitivity to something I ate while breastfeeding and I'd have to give up cheese or pineapple or something else silly.

But after having a completely traumatizing experience with his hospital birth, I'm terrified of having this pregnancy culminate in the same series of events. I wanted so badly to have a homebirth, but because of the cost my husband will not back me up on it. I hate that my sense of safety and well-being comes down to money. We're working with a wonderful doula this time and I plan on keeping my laboring behind at home until I absolutely 100% have to go to the hospital, but even the idea of being there for a short time makes me panic.

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

My biggest fear was mentally disabled child. Since I miscarried though, now I'm just afraid I won't concieve again because I'm 42.

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonypilgrim

Liz: I understand. Sideways related....

I was a total breastfeeding nazi when my kids were little... *everyone* could nurse their babies... no excuses, ma'am. I arrogantly spouted my "religion" for a few years until I met with one woman who told me she wasn't going to bf. I'm sure I rolled my eyes and said, "Yes you can! Try and you'll love it. You'll see how easy it can be with some support." She, surely more than a couple of times, told me she was *not* going to bf. I didn't hear her until she touched my arm and said, very clearly, "I am not going to breastfeed. I was sexually abused and my breasts were a main target. I am *not* going to breastfeed."

In that one moment, I transformed many aspects of my practice as a doula and later, as a midwife. I was able to "see" women more clearly and I listened to them in their own language. That one woman removed my screaming loud filter, allowing me to meet women where they were... and to follow where they were going.

(My tagline at the moment is "Women lead; I follow.")

Anyway, so the gist of that is if you find bfing more stressful than pleasant, don't do it. You can pump and feed the baby that way. Women who've had this same concern have said pumping is a totally different experience than nursing a baby.

Without going indepth, I had emotional issues nursing the boys, whereas it was much easier nursing the girls. I haven't met lots of women who've had that same issue, but I have met a few. It was very odd... I weaned my first (son) at 4 months... not because of this reason, but it came up later when I nursed my spouse's son. Once he hit where my son had weaned, right about 4 months, I began getting antsy... I don't know how to explain it (and my kids read here, so am editing myself a little). It just felt... wrong... *sigh* Anyway, I think you might understand? I did end up nursing him for 2.5 years, but there was a world of difference nursing him and my daughter (who was co-nursing with my step-son).

I hope you can hear me okay. Only you can decide if you want to nurse. If, after you get nursing pretty well established, you are still having ick feelings while you nurse, know there are alternatives... ones that don't always include formula.

I'm not a therapist, but if you need to talk, I'm here for support. (Email me.)

Bless you for sharing here. I'm sure it was a do I?/don't I? moment. You did good.

January 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Manapan: Oh, MY! You are dealing with so many challenges. I can't imagine how hard that must be. I think you're doing great considering everything.

Not suggesting this is what you should do AT ALL, but I totally know I would be scheduling a cesarean; I would not be strong enough to get myself through labor.

But, whatever you end up doing, know that we're thinking of you and I hope you'll keep us up to date on your pregnancy and birth. Much good-luck!

January 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Angela, i had my twins at home, post dates and healthy as can be I will hold you in my thoughts for an uneventful twin homebirth.
Liz.. I have knoiwn moms who couldn't get past the trauma, but for myself as an abuse survivor, I saw breast feeding as something all my own. Not sexual and very empowering. It was the first time I felt like my breasts were a part of me, usefgul and valuable to someone for a purpose beyond sex. Blessings to all you mommas.
At a Blessingway I planned once, all the women wrote their fears on little slips of paper and then burned them all with a pinch of cedar and sage. It was very healing, even for those not expecting.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertabitha

My biggest fear: my worries and anxiety has already affected my baby's brain. This thought is constatly consuming me now.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpooja

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