As soon as I became pregnant everyone started to tell me their birth stories. And not just routine birth stories, proper horror stories. It was like the bump gave them permission to start offloading, sharing not only their own negative experiences but any gory stories that they’d heard themselves.
But it’s not just birth stories that spread fear. Our society is built on a long history of fear that has been around for generations. Labour is generally thought of as a painful ordeal that women have to endure and that is how it is continually portrayed on television and in the media (how often do you hear about a calm, relaxed birth or see one in a Soap? We’re more used to seeing the dramatic images of scared, screaming women on programmes like ‘One Born Every Minute’).
Throughout pregnancy we are constantly reminded of what can go wrong and are tested again and again to check that all is well with baby – scans, blood tests, urine samples…
Don’t get me wrong, we are incredibly lucky to have the NHS and all the medical support that is available to us, especially in the event that medical intervention is necessary. Medical teams save lives. But even perfectly normal, healthy, problem-free pregnancies are monitored with routine proceedures, and the effect of this is that we all have lots of little fears in the backs of our minds about what could go wrong.
So how do we combat all this negativity and fear? With a big old dose of positivity!