The reduction or even elimination of WORRY is often a main goal of expecting parents, and of the professionals who work with them. The positive intention behind this approach is obvious…but perhaps we ought to examine it a bit more closely. One of Pam England‘s important insights is that “Worry is the work of pregnancy.” In other words, worries, anxieties, and fears are normal parts of preparation to face the unknown. Paying attention to these feelings, rather than suppressing or ignoring them, can help expecting parents build the strength and coping power required by the initiations of birth and early parenthood. Here are Pam’s classic words on the topic…
Many new mothers are surprised that they didn’t feel prepared for birth; they express deep regret that they didn’t acknowledge or listen to inner doubt or fear during pregnancy, instead brushing it away with positivity, denial, or obsessive information-gathering. Yet worry is part and parcel of experiencing a Rite of Passage; facing the unknown naturally elicits a bit of fear.
Worry is a kind of curiosity, wondering about what might happen and how you can respond. Use your imagination and creativity to awaken hidden sources of courage and power within you; worry can help you to become stronger.
A Birth Warrior worries effectively: acknowledge that the thing you worry about (perhaps secretly) could happen. Then imagine: if it did happen, what is one small thing you could do to help yourself get through it? In the long run, doing that one small thing may serve you better than doing nothing, hoping it won’t happen, or expecting that someone else will save you or fix it.
– originally published in 2015