What if I have unresolved emotional issues?

If you had an extremely difficult or frightening birth experience before, or have been through other traumatic experiences like sexual abuse, thinking about labor may bring on very strong emotions. You might feel like you cannot deal with making any decision. These unresolved issues can make your labor more difficult, too. So what can you do? Here are a few tips:

  • Get professional counseling from a mental health professional who is well-informed about maternity issues.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Talk through the troubling events and your concerns with a friend or relative.
  • Seek peer support from other women who have had similar experiences. You can find peer support resources here.

If you have an extreme fear of childbirth, counseling or therapy may help you overcome these deep fears and give birth vaginally. Continuous support during labor by a trained labor support companion (doula) may be especially helpful in this case. If you still have deep fears of childbirth despite counseling, you may decide to have a C-section. Be sure to talk this over with your care provider as early as possible in your pregnancy, and work together to help ensure the safest possible and most satisfying birth.