When I first got pregnant (and even before I was pregnant), I would see a pregnant woman late in her pregnancy and feel scared for her. Scared about what she was going to have to endure to get that baby here.
Women have all sorts of fears (and husbands/partners have their own set about watching their lady go through labor). Pain. The Unkown. Something going wrong. Feeling out of control. Getting an episiotome. Tearing. Pain. Hospitals. Did I mention pains? We all have different ways of working through these fears. If your main fear is the pain, you may opt to go with pain medicine or an epidural. If it's the unknown of what happens, you may continue avoidance because the knowing may make you more fearful, or you may become very well educated on the process of giving birth. If it's that something could go wrong, you may prepare plans about the worst case scenario. If it's the hospital, you may choose to give birth in a birthing center, or at home.
For me, I had a few fews that were overwhelming. I was afraid of the unknown, and of feeling out of control. I educated myself by reading about others birth stories, reading books, reading articles, asking others about their experiences, and even watching some documentaries. This helped me feel more in control because at least I'd be able to have a conversation about the risks with my practioner. It also made things a little less unknown. And finally, it helped me prepare in case things don't go according to plan. If something does go wrong, I have a plan set up for that too. If something does go wrong, I am with practioners who I trust completely to consult with me because they know this is about me and my baby.
I read an article on birthing preferences recently and loved this section of it: "The right way is the way that leaves the mother feeling at peace with the birth. If she’s at peace with her elective cesarean or her epidural or her water birth, that is the right way. If she’s left feeling disempowered, scared, unsure, this is the wrong way."
We all have different personalities, fears, wishes, hopes. It's sad to me that some women are judged for opting for an elective c-section, or on the other side, for wanting to go completely naturally at a water birth at home. We all are different and each woman deserves the respect that she's making a great decision for herself based on her wants and fears.
And finally, a humorous (but legitimate) fear I had was that women sometimes poop during labor. I was so worried about this! I don't want my hubby or midwives or nurses or our doula seeing me poop as I'm pushing our baby out! So I talked about this fear. With hubby, with our doula, with friends, with women who have had babies before. And it turns out - pooping during pushing is pretty normal. I've been reassured that if I'm pushing correctly, that I likely will poop (oh joy). I've also been reassured that in that moment, when I am giving life to our daughter, that I won't care if I poop because I will be so focused on bringing her into the world. Ian is a huge fan of potty jokes and talk. So I was worried that after our daughter is born and she's on my chest and we're soaking her in, that Ian would whisper, giggling, "you pooped!" He has assured me he will NOT utter those words. I'm sure days or weeks after she's here, that (if I did in fact poop during labor) we'll be able to laugh about it. But until then, I'm going to be in complete denial as to whether it happens, and if it does happen, continue denying that it did. A girl's gotta do what she needs to to get over those fears. Denial - complete denial works for me!