by Andrea Stainbrook – Doula, Childbirth Educator and Co-Owner of Metro Detroit Doula
“You have done this before. You know what you are doing!” Anyone who has given birth once and is now preparing to birth baby number 2, or 3, or 10 has probably heard someone say this. Maybe you feel like, “Heck yeah I got this!”, or you maybe you want to reply, “Do I know what I’m doing? Is it too late to back out?”
Just because you have given birth before does not mean you:
A) Know what to expect this time
B) Feel good about giving birth
C) You don’t need any help, or guidance
D) Are not nervous
Let me be the first to say it is perfectly OK to feel HOWEVER you are feeling about giving birth AGAIN. Whether it is indeed excitement, or happiness, it is also OK if its not. Perhaps you have fear of giving birth again.
No matter what you are feeling there are things to do to help you cope with birthing again.
- Make a birth plan. This isn’t just for first time births. You can perhaps even use what your previous birth was like to help you choose things you for sure know you want to happen again, and things you know you absolute do NOT want to repeat.
- Process your feelings. As you are growing your baby and awaiting your due date it is a good idea to explore your feelings when you are ready. Talk to your partner or doula. Sometimes you just need someone to listen.
- Take a Childbirth Education course. Maybe you skipped this the first time. Maybe you need a refresher. It is always good to learn about as much of the unknown as you can so you can feel more confident. If you take a group class you may even make friends with someone feeling just like you are!
- Surround yourself with positive support. Your family, your partner, your care provider, your doula and your friends. Try to keep positive people near you. People who don’t dismiss your feelings but validate them.
It’s also normal to have your feelings change. Every pregnant woman at some point or another takes a moment to think about what the upcoming birth may be like. And with that comes some emotion. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your processing and feelings.
What can be cool about giving birth again is maybe you do have an idea of what it is like. Some of the unknown may be known! This may allow you to focus on other details. You may have an idea of what helped you. Use these to prepare for this next birth. Use your previous experience as another tool in your tool-belt.
For example, “I thought having family in the waiting room would not bother me. But I remember feeling bad that they were waiting so long out there.” Use this as a tool to know you would prefer all excited family to wait for baby’s arrival at home until they are notified to come be with you.
No matter how you are feeling about birthing again, remember you are not alone and there is support to help you!