How can overcome fears of childbearing?


#1

Okay, backstory: So, I am not officially a Catholic, but I am joining RCIA and have already felt a strong conversion in my heart. Before this I was an agnostic. I am 20 years old and married, my husband is still agnostic. We've been married since October '09 and are currently contracepting.

We got married pretty young. I was 19 and he was 20. My family is somewhat left-leaning and "modern" and I think that my mom and dad think I am too young to have children still, even though I am married. We have a dog and two cats and, though I'm glad we are good pet owners, I think we have replaced babies with the dog and....yeah, I'm not sure if that is healthy. I do want to be a mother, I am just so scared. We struggle enough being a young couple in what still seems like a scary grown-up world, I just can't see how we could afford a baby. I stay home because of mental illness and my husband works very hard, but we still only barely scrape by. I mean, I know that no one starts out thinking they can 'afford' a baby, and that God always provides, I just don't want to be irresponsible. And I don't want my family to think less of me for having children.

I am also really scared of childbirth. I don't know if the media is to blame or whatever, but whenever I think about childbirth, no matter how much I feel like I would love to be a mother, it just disgusts me. I'm really afraid of all the pain, and I have panic disorder and I just know that I won't be able to handle that pain without having a panic attack and having an attack while in labor seems just awful. I'm terrified of something bad happening to the baby or me. I wish I could just skip the delivery part and have my babies.:o

I guess I am wondering how other couples got over their fear of childbearing. Ideally, I'd like to stop contracepting and welcome as many children into the world as God sees fit to bless me with. I just worry about being irresponsible. Not to mention that, since my husband and I aren't quite on the same page spiritually (He is VERY supportive of me and my spiritual journey to Jesus, but he's just not in a place to come with me on that journey right now.) he doesn't have the same religious reasons for desiring kids. He does want to be a father, but for him it is more of a "someday" thing.

So..uh...what should I do? :/


#2

You might obsess about chilbearing throughout the pregnancy but really and truely when you are in labor somehow you just get on with the task at hand and all fear is gone.

Don't get yourself all worked up over it because by the time you even think you should be worked up it's over and then the real work begins.

Child rearing. Now that did scare me because when I held him for the first time I came to the realization that I was responsible for this other little person. That scared me. :eek:

I know you think you should be worried or afraid of childbearing but you will find out that your preoccupied with getting the job done. :thumbsup:


#3

First of all, look into NFP- Natural Family Planning. It will be the best thing you can do for your marriage- seriously. You'll learn things about your body that you never even knew, and more importantly, so will your husband. That way you are open to life, open to God's will, but not neccessarily starting a family right away if both of you pray and believe God is telling you to wait.

Secondly, don't obsess over childbirth. I tell you with complete sincerity and utter truthfulness that you will forget all about the pain once you start taking care of that baby. You won't forget that you had been in pain, but you won't remember exactly what it was like either. It is like God in His mercy makes all that pain seem totally worthwhile once you see your child. Besides, there are plently of things to mitigate the pain, IF you feel you need them. Some women don't even need them. My mother never thought giving birth to us was particularly difficult- she didn't need any drugs. My sister and I might envy her (since we never inherited that really handy tolerance for pain!) but that's okay- we got an epideral for our labors!

Thirdly, I sincerely hope you come into the Catholic Church. It is where the fullness of Truth is. I'll be praying for you. God bless!


#4

I was in a somewhat similar boat in my 20s and 30s, whenever my anxiety disorders slammed into my life. And I have the OCD thing going on too, where you get the "What if I just panic and do something terrible and harm my child?" kind of fears. (Don't watch too much TV news about this kind of stuff, would be my advice, if you are fearful. It can work on your mind, so why watch the stuff?)

My own mother had severe postpartum depression and I had terrible PMS so I did have reason to be concerned. So I started educating myself on these things and how women cope with them, and asking my psychiatrist how we would get me through a pregnancy if I ever did marry.

Now, I didn't end up marrying, and I've had a hysterectomy, so I never had to use that knowledge, but it was good to get the reassurance. So I guess what I'm saying is, seek out websites that are supportive - Elizabeth Ministry is one that comes to mind. Even see if you can find someone who works with crisis pregnancy and maybe they have come across other gals with similar issues.

And above all, discuss all these concerns with your health care provider well before a need arises - find a provider who wouldn't think you should have an abortion, needless to say, if you panicked. Discuss the meds you take, the safety issues with them, and the meds you might need if you had additional anxiety and their effects. And assemble your support team well ahead of any need, too - whether that's your mom, sisters, girlfriends, etc.

As for delivery, if you absolutely cannot bear the thought of labor, there is the option of a C-section, but maybe that won't be necessary if you have a good plan for getting through the pregnancy itself. And postpartum support. God bless you and I hope this has been helpful. :)


#5

I know some pretty devout Catholics who use contraceptives. I know it's a sin and stuff, but it seems to be pretty common anyway. I think you are being mature by recognizing you are not ready to be a parent, financially or otherwise. Also, if your husband is not ready either, it could cause a lot of marital strife if you have a baby when one or both of you are not ready. Since you are not quite completely Catholic yet, I think you should keep using contraceptives for awhile. You could kind of unofficially practice NFP: learn about it, observe the signs of your body's fertility so that you will be familiar with it when you stop contraception, educate your husband about it, and maybe even designate a certain week of the month to be your pretend fertile time, and try abstaining then. Meanwhile, as you continue the conversion process, maybe focus a lot of your prayer on asking God to show you why NFP is the way to go, and ask Him to understand that your heart is in the right place when you use contraceptives right now but tell Him you want to grow closer to Him, you just want what's best for your relationship with your husband and your future family's well-being. You don't have to be perfect to be loved by God, and as long as you continue seeking the right way, I think you will find it.
As for overcoming the fear of childbirth, you can just get a C section if you don't want to go through regular labor.


#6

How exactly can you be devout and use contraception???

Anyway, there is no point worrying about childbirth. The simple reason being that childbirth is different for every single woman. Some women find it tough, some women find it easy. Some women think it's painful and some think it's a walk in the park. To be honest though, I think most women think they panic over nothing, after the event.

From my experience, labour is painful. But it's a good pain. And there are many pain-relief options. Plus the fact, going through labour is worth the child you get at the end of it! I would go through labour 1,000 times over to be blessed with my daughter. She makes me happy in a way nobody could've ever told me before I became a parent.


#7

[quote="bumby, post:6, topic:234738"]
How exactly can you be devout and use contraception???

[/quote]

just devout in other ways. more religious than most other people i know. it's just in comparison to other people i know.


#8

As far as actual childbirth goes: when it gets to that point; just make sure you are on the same page with your OB regarding your disability from the start. Get a note from your therapist, whatever. The OB can schedule a c-section right when you're due so that you are completely drugged and don't need to ever feel a thing. ... Not that you have to worry anyway. The pain is short and completely forgotton the moment you see the miracle that results.


#9

When you have a true psychological problem with childbirth, most doctors will just do a scheduled c-section. I have given birth naturally and by c-section, and the scheduled c-section was the easiest-- I never experienced true pain once from it--only soreness. And these days, you can have many c-sections safely...

Of course, if you want to give birth naturally, you might want to go to counseling. Whatever you decide, let me encourage you not to let fear rob you of the greatest gift life has to offer!!!


#10

Childbirth hurts. It really does. But it is (more or less) one day. Just ONE day. And then you have the most beautiful baby forever. :)

There are lots of pain relieving measures available to laboring moms too. Epidurals are the most common but there are lots of other things that can help with the pain. :thumbsup:

I think you are worrying a little too much about how your family views you and not enough about what God wants for your life...and what is best for you and your husband. If you are ready to have kids or not ready and you have settled it with God and your spouse, you really don't need to worry about anyone else.

Now about the contraception. That's not ok as a Catholic and I'd suggest you start just reading. Read about NFP. Ask questions. Look into it. Whenever you guys start a family, you can use the knowledge you gain to help concieve, and in the meantime, maybe you'll make a different decision on how you avoid having children. I also recommend Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It isn't a Catholic book but if you understand you aren't allowed to use condoms during your fertile period (as the author suggests), the rest of the book is really informative if you decide you want to use NFP.

You sound like your heart is in the right place. :thumbsup:

Prayers,

KG


#11

Dear OP,

No one ever really is fearless when it comes to making babies. The first one is so nerve-wracking because it's all a mystery! But in spite of that, people go on making babies (with God's help)!

Throughout the ages, we continue to "go forth and multiply!" Even in difficult times, people still choose to have children. You can't NOT have kids just because there might be a war, a drought, a famine, earthquakes, floods, etc. It might seem like the most difficult of times but people had kids all throughout the Depression Era, and most of them made it. Don't think too much so that you scare yourself.

Trying to make a baby can be lots of fun!!!

:D

And then one day, you either notice that your period is late, or you start getting queasy instead of hungry when your husband mentions going out for Mexican food, or your breasts start feeling tender, and you go and get one of those sticks...and...

  • !!!!!!! Oh, man...everything goes blurry for a few minutes and about 1,000,000 things run through your mind..."Can I do this? Can WE do this??? Really??" But of course you can, and you will, and anyway God has done something wonderful and you will grow a baby inside your own body. You can't turn back or stop it and you don't want to...not really...When you tell your husband you see tears in his eyes...and you hold each other and cry together in happiness.

Oh, what a miracle it is! Just WAIT until you hear its little heart beating away...Yes, it's a baby and it's alive in there! Or when you feel that first little movement. :) It's like nothing else. At first you aren't sure what it is, and then....wow, it's the BABY moving!!

Yeah, OK, so you get morning sickness...or maybe you don't...some people never do...the first 3 months or so are a little different...but sex when you are pregnant is ...how do I put it...SHAZAMMMM!!!! The 2nd trimester is usually great. The last 3 mos. you are getting bigger and more awkward, and the baby is growing and squishing your organs a bit...but still, you know the time is drawing near when you will meet your little one in person...no matter what, it's so worth it.

You are very young, so your body will recover more quickly than those of us who started later. And, some women have very fast and fairly painless labors. I just talked to one friend yesterday who said her FIRST labor only lasted 3 hours! Mine took about 18 hours total, but only about 2 in hard labor. My 2nd one came in less than 3 hours, easy-peasy, I never even broke a sweat. My body knew what to do the 2nd time. And I knew what to expect. Yeah, it hurts while it's happening, but unlike getting a root canal, you get something amazing at the end, a real live baby!!!! Your very own!!!

And suddenly, you are a mother. And your fears while pregnant seem so insignificant when you think that this little being is completely dependent upon you for his or her very life...and that now you have to raise him for the next 18 years or so...

:)

It's the biggest adventure God could ever trust us to handle. Do it. You won't regret it.


#12

I also recommend a book called "Having Your Baby When Others Say No" - as the title suggests it's about many different challenging pregnancy situations. Not all of them will apply to you of course, but it does cover anxiety and other psych disorders.

I think some of the well-meaning posters on this thread are thinking you have a simple case of the jitters, but if you have a true anxiety disorder you need specialized help geared toward that. And anxiety may be triggered by hormonal issues as well, or made worse by them. Don't know if you're on hormonal contraception or some other type. It is true that in becoming Catholic you will need to be willing to let go of that and practice NFP so you might also want to counsel with your priest at this point as well as your health provider. Good luck, and I'll pray for you.


#13

[quote="samiam1611, post:5, topic:234738"]
Since you are not quite completely Catholic yet, I think you should keep using contraceptives for awhile. You could kind of unofficially practice NFP: learn about it, observe the signs of your body's fertility so that you will be familiar with it when you stop contraception, educate your husband about it, and maybe even designate a certain week of the month to be your pretend fertile time, and try abstaining then.

[/quote]

She can not observe the sign's of her fertility if she is using any kind of hormonal contraceptive such as the pill for example.

For the OP since you have an anxiety disorder you should have a therapist help you work through your fear. Yes its true you forget the pain and that the pain is very survivable and there are many methods used to during to childbirth to circumvent the pain. But I also have a daughter with anxiety disorder and these types of reassurances just don't penetrate the fear.

I also don't recommend you automatically go the c-section route. This is like telling someone who is afraid of public places just stay home. I've seen my daughter conquer some of her fears and its so much better for her than avoiding them, its so much more freeing for her.


#14

I also recommend you don't go straight for a c-section when you do conceive. Strangely, it is a good thing to experience labour and (hopefully for me one day) childbirth as it's meant to be - vaginally. (I laboured for 15 hours, only got to 7cm and wouldn't progress - hurrah - so a c-section it was for me.)

I am desperate to give birth 'properly'. For me, it is my rite of passage as a woman. It is so important to me, I would put up with an arduous labour if it meant I could do this. Of course I won't sacrifice my baby's health but I have suprised myself at how much normal childbirth means to me.


#15

[quote="rayne89, post:13, topic:234738"]
She can not observe the sign's of her fertility if she is using any kind of hormonal contraceptive such as the pill for example.

[/quote]

That's true. And I wonder if a good NFP instructor might be able to help her determine if the anxiety might be due to PMS and then an NFP-friendly doctor could help her with that. :)

[quote="rayne89, post:13, topic:234738"]
For the OP since you have an anxiety disorder you should have a therapist help you work through your fear. Yes its true you forget the pain and that the pain is very survivable and there are many methods used to during to childbirth to circumvent the pain. But I also have a daughter with anxiety disorder and these types of reassurances just don't penetrate the fear.

[/quote]

You said it! :sad_yes: It's not your garden-variety fear, it has to be experienced to be truly understood, though I wouldn't wish that on anyone. :nope:

[quote="rayne89, post:13, topic:234738"]
I also don't recommend you automatically go the c-section route. This is like telling someone who is afraid of public places just stay home. I've seen my daughter conquer some of her fears and its so much better for her than avoiding them, its so much more freeing for her.

[/quote]

That's a good balanced approach. I just meant have the C-section option as maybe a backup plan; it would be better to avoid surgery if possible. Every case of anxiety disorder has similarities and differences, though, so again it's just crucial to have good pro-life people who also understand the mental health issues on your "team." :thumbsup:


#16

[quote="samiam1611, post:5, topic:234738"]
I know some pretty devout Catholics who use contraceptives. I know it's a sin and stuff, but it seems to be pretty common anyway. I think you are being mature by recognizing you are not ready to be a parent, financially or otherwise. Also, if your husband is not ready either, it could cause a lot of marital strife if you have a baby when one or both of you are not ready. Since you are not quite completely Catholic yet, I think you should keep using contraceptives for awhile. You could kind of unofficially practice NFP: learn about it, observe the signs of your body's fertility so that you will be familiar with it when you stop contraception, educate your husband about it, and maybe even designate a certain week of the month to be your pretend fertile time, and try abstaining then. Meanwhile, as you continue the conversion process, maybe focus a lot of your prayer on asking God to show you why NFP is the way to go, and ask Him to understand that your heart is in the right place when you use contraceptives right now but tell Him you want to grow closer to Him, you just want what's best for your relationship with your husband and your future family's well-being. You don't have to be perfect to be loved by God, and as long as you continue seeking the right way, I think you will find it.
As for overcoming the fear of childbirth, you can just get a C section if you don't want to go through regular labor.

[/quote]

This statement above is incorrect because while using contraceptives her hormones are thrown off to the point where she cannot practice NFP.

A better option would be to contact the Couple to Couple League (ccli.org, I believe) and have them set you up with a class. There are ways for couples to learn NFP even while their bodies get back on track after actually stopping birth control.


#17

My fiance and I are not going to specifically try for children when we get married this summer. We are going to use NFP to hopefully hold off for a bit while we get some finances worked out. We want children but we also want to make sure that we can afford to give them a comfortable life. Nevertheless, we are open to the possibility of children. The idea that as of July when we get married he and I could possibly become parents together both scares me to death and makes me realize that I love him enough that scary things like that are okay. It scares me because there are days when I still feel like I am a kid and the idea that I am an adult blows my mind.
I have a back problem and my orthopedist told me I should keep recent X rays on file during childbearing years because in his words, “I don’t know how you feel about epidurals, but you WILL WANT ONE.” My back problems are a guaranteed path to a much more painful delivery (but entirely healthy and possible delivery- which is good news). The X rays are meant to help the person performing the epidural. The spine’s odd curves mean I will be a tricky patient to give an epidural to! This scares me when I think about having children. I really don’t want a hard birth. On the bright side, we live in a world with very good pain meds and hospitals that will work to keep things running as smoothly and pain-free as possible.


#18

Hi

When I was preparing for childbirth, there was a course available in a type of “hypnosis.”

pregnancy.org/article/hypnosis-childbirth-what-it-and-does-it-work

This might help you.

:slight_smile:


#19

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