This week we’ve been looking at ways childbirth educators think about managing women’s fear of childbirth. We talked about education and relaxation, but today I want to talk about ignoring the fear. If you can’t think of any natural childbirth theories that support the use of ignoring fear, it is because there are not any. But that doesn’t prevent this method from being used.
How is it used? Small comments meant to instill confidence in the woman or her family. Comments that dismiss the fear, and don’t actually provide any information.
“You don’t have to worry about that.”
“That’s not worth worrying about.”
And the comments get worse in social media and other internet sources where childbirth professionals are less conscious of the involvement of expectant mothers.
“Why do people worry about that?!”
The problem with these types of comments is the impression they give that the woman or her family is inadequate. Why? Because they tell the woman she was worrying about something that was very wrong to worry about – and this should have been obvious to her.
Acknowledging a fear is not only about reassuring the woman that she is a normal, healthy person looking for answers. It can also help the professional understand the root of that fear, allowing a better plan for dealing with it.
It is easy to answer questions and comments about fear in a way that help the woman deal with the fear. Answers such as…
“Women have shared that fear with me before. Can you tell me why you feel that way?”
“That is a common fear. Would you like more information about the process so you can understand it better?”
Moral of the story — do not ignore a woman’s fear just because you believe the fear is about something small or insignificant.