You’re having a baby and your maternity unit says, due to covid restrictions, your partner will not be allowed to come with you until you are in established labour. You have to go into hospital in labour alone.
Just those words. ‘You have to go into hospital in labour alone’.
It’s enough to knock the confidence of any mother and especially a first time mother.
You’re already doing the best you can in these very strange times. Then to be told you have to go it alone until you are past 4 or 5 cm, whatever that feels like?
Talk about an anxiety trigger!
Turn Anxiety into Excitement
But here’s the thing.
When we know what to expect, when we believe in ourselves and we trust our journey. That feeling of anxiety can just as easily become its more favourable cousin, excitement. Especially if we add some confidence boosting camaraderie from a trusted network of social support.
I feel safe, to say, this is the feeling we all want.
You’re going to need a plan.
While you may understand the all new ‘go into hospital in labour alone’ restrictions are for your safety. The primitive part of your mind senses something unusual is happening.
That’s enough for your subconscious to take over and sound off all your physical and psychological alarms to put you in a state of anxiety and fear. These are evolutionary tools it uses to get you back into a perceived safety zone.
The reason why your unconscious mind is on high-alert (anxiety) is because it feels unsafe with no control over your situation. With a plan, you restore a sense of control, feelings of safety and pacify your protective mind.
Making Your Plan
To placate and soothe your subconscious mind. You’ll need a robust and calming plan.
A plan so calming you can sit back, relax and excitedly anticipate the arrival of your new baby.
Remember, you are making this plan for you.
The objective is to restore a sense of control for your sensitive subconscious mind and alleviate the worry that being told you have to go into hospital in labour alone.
What you’ll need.
Grab pen and paper.
These work well because the act of writing in the old fashioned way is slower, more tactile and less distracting than online. Whereas, the open social media tab can easily grab your attention away from self-caring activities.
Write down everything that is on your mind.
Big, small and seemingly insignificant worries.
Get them all out of your head on to the paper. I’ve listed some ideas below to get you started.
Put a number next to each one of your worries
Starting with your biggest uncertainty. Seek empowering knowledge about what to expect.
Seek evidence based knowledge.
Hot tip: If you’re struggling, ask in the Mothermind group and we’ll join your quest. You are never alone.
Writing as a medical health professional and a midwife. I can reassure you there’s enough known about the process of birth to confidently know what to expect in a normal pathway to meet your baby.
Of course, there are always lots of variables and you may need a specialized plan. Make sure you tell your healthcare provider you’re feeling anxious so they can take extra time to reassure you.
Just to add, that googling for reassurance is not a great idea for worried pregnant women! I’ve spoken to many women who regretted diving in and ending up on threads that weren’t helpful at all!
Ask your doctor or midwife to provide reassurance and guidance about the usual journey that women go through during labour and what in particular, you should expect.
It’s important you learn from healthcare professional and reputable sources because knowing evidence based information is going to boost your confidence and reduce your fear.
Some ideas & questions to include to appease your subconscious mind
- How do I know the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions?
- What is the difference between the latent first stage of labour and the active first stage?
- How long should I stay at home when I have contractions and when should I go to the hospital?
- What if my waters break? What should I do?
- What is a mucus plug, what does it look like and what does it mean if I see it?
- When/who should I call at the hospital if I think I am in labour?
- What pain relief can I use at home in labour?
- What does dilation really mean and how do I know how dilated I am?
- Where do I go when I arrive at the hospital in labour?
- What happens when I am admitted to the labour ward?
- Is my bag packed and ready – have I got everything I need?
- Do I have my transport organised?
- Have we practiced the route to the hospital and noted how long it takes?
- If needed, do I have my child/pet care organised?
- Are there any other questions that I am worrying about and where can I find out more?
You Have Plenty of Time
For women having their first baby, the first stage of established labour usually lasts about 8 hours and this is the active part!
In normal conditions, what this means is that you have PLENTY of time.
Plenty of time to do lots of things to get your mind and body into the perfect delivery state. There’s no rush to get to hospital before you are in established labour, meaning, if things are straightforward, there’ll be no need to go into hospital in labour alone.
Forget about all those movies where everything is an absolute drama – it’s a movie after all.
In the real world, first babies usually come in their own sweet time and you’ll have more than enough time to relax your way through the latent phase of the first stage and rock up to the hospital at the best time for you and baby, well into the active first stage of labour. Thus bypassing the need to go into hospital in labour alone.
This will mean that when you arrive, your partner will be welcomed straight in with you – no worries!
With your plan in place, hopefully now, your subconscious mind is feeling reassured and has toned down the warning signals. It’ll allow you to get on with more enjoyable activities like indulging in blissful self care, eating well and spending quality time with uplifting loved ones.
Keep your focus on little lighthearted pleasures that fill you with calm and distract you from worry.
Repeat three times, every morning, every evening and at any time you feel a wobble: