Like many hidden aspects of who we are, fear is a legitimate and real feeling. It is one of many feelings we are able to experience and has an important purpose. To allow it, and truly stand in the heat of it, requires courage. Only when we can do that can we make peace with our fear and allow its rightful place. When we avoid facing our fear, it can unconsciously control us and suffocate all joy and peace beyond it.
Gabrielle Roth in her book Maps to Ecstasy – Teachings of an Urban Shaman (1989:66) says that “Fear is a vitally useful emotion. It places you on the alert, catalyses your senses, and heightens your awareness in the face of danger. Fear is your friend, the radar for your voyage through life. It is a basic instinct of human survival – physical, psychological, spiritual. We need to have an acute sense of what threatens our well being.”
It is vital for us to allow ourselves to fully feel our fears. To allow this full release will give us the opportunity to harness this vital energy and transform it into our partner and ally in pregnancy and birth.
Some ideas for working with fear:
• Journaling: taking the time to write uncensored. What are your fears? What is the worst thing that could happen? What would happen to me if these things did transpire? Who would that make me then? Who would I be as a woman? You might like to burn your writing as a symbol of letting go.
• Drawing / painting: allowing the free uncensored spontaneity of art to fully express what words can not.
• Dancing: using dance and movement to allow your body to express and heal unspoken fear. Choose pieces of music you feel drawn to and allow your body to move in whatever way it needs to.
• Reality testing: What evidence is there to support that fear? What is my body really telling me? Are those signs and symptoms a normal part of pregnancy and birth? Information gathering, what are the statistics that this will or will not happen? Put your fears into an informed perspective.
• Surrender: Allowing yourself a set period of time to experience the other side of fear. What would it feel like not to have this fear? What would you be doing? Choosing baby names? Planning the birth, a Blessingway? Indulging in the pure joy of wondering what this baby may look like, smell like, be like? What colour hair, eyes? Boy or girl?
• Celebrating a life regardless: taking the time to give thanks regardless of where this journey takes us. Thanks for the opportunity to carry precious life. Adopting an attitude of gratitude.
• Mindfulness: focussing on the here and now. Gently guiding the mind to be present in daily life and not be distracted into the past or future.
• Massage: allowing yourself to be nourished and supported while releasing tight muscles and relaxing parts of your body where strong emotions may be held.
• Talking: finding a trusted friend who will allow you to voice your fears without judgement or the need to fix. Giving voice to the feelings underneath your thoughts can often be enough.
Gabrielle Roth (1989) Maps to Ecstacy – Teachings of an Urban Shaman; New World Library; California.