During labor, the self-doubt phase is often the most misunderstood and mismanaged part of the birthing journey. It typically occurs in short bursts, particularly during the later stages of labor. If you and your birth partner are not aware of this normal part of the process, it may lead to unnecessary actions or interventions, such as seeking medical assistance prematurely.
Understanding the Significance of Self-Doubt
As your labor becomes well-established and your body progressively opens up, the uterus saves a burst of energy for the last few centimeters of cervical opening. Around 7-10 cm, contractions intensify and become more overpowering, occurring approximately every 2 minutes and lasting 60-90 seconds. This phase of self-doubt usually strikes towards the end of labor and may happen a couple of times, particularly when your body is transitioning to the next level (around 7 cm) and again when it is nearly ready for pushing.
The Feeling of Self-Doubt
During this phase, you may suddenly feel unsure if you can carry on. You might wonder why it’s taking so long for the baby to come and question your ability to endure further. These thoughts may arise internally, while outwardly, you may appear to be coping well. Your body might also exhibit physical signs of hard work, such as hot and cold flushes, shaking, and nausea.
Embrace the Present Moment
This is the time to truly relax and ride with each contraction, focusing solely on the present moment. Your birth partner can play a crucial role in supporting you by attentively listening to your breathing and encouraging you throughout this challenging phase. Remember that what you are experiencing is simply a sensation within your body that you can work with. Accept the powerful sensations, knowing they are working to bring your baby into the world. While it might be intense and challenging, it can also be an incredible and awe-inspiring experience.
Empowering Your Birth Partner
It is essential for your birth partner to be aware that self-doubt is normal and expected during labor. Armed with this knowledge, they can provide the right support and reassurance, helping you stay focused on the instinctive path of birthing. Remind yourself that you’ve come so far and that you are close to meeting your baby. When the urge to push arises, the self-doubt usually dissipates, and you will feel more energized and determined.
Embrace the Exquisite Journey of Birth
Understanding the physical, hormonal, and emotional aspects of birth empowers you to appreciate the beautifully designed process of giving birth. Trust in your body’s innate wisdom and its ability to know exactly what to do during this incredible journey.