This meditation is for you if you have a fear of pain. If the thought of pain freaks you out, then you’re in the right place!
Research tells us that anticipation and fear of pain can contribute to worsening our experience of pain, so addressing both our fears and beliefs around pain can make a real difference to how we experience pain, and not just in childbirth.
This meditation addresses various aspects of pain;
- The idea of pain itself. In this part of the meditation, we “make friends” with pain. When we are more comfortable with the idea of pain, we’re less likely to fear it.
- Fear of pain. Here we work directly with the fear of pain.
- Beliefs around childbirth being painful. This helps to address any anticipation of pain you might have around pain during birth. If you’re less likely to believe that childbirth WILL be painful, then you’re more open to the possibility of it NOT being that way, which in turn will help to reduce any experience of pain you might have.
Fear of Pain
Unfortunately childbirth and pain are two words that are often used interchangeably. This is a real shame because this alone adds to a lot of fear that women experience around birth. Sure, some people experience pain in birth, but some don’t. So it’s not a given that childbirth will be painful, more that it might be.
Furthermore, pain is subjective; not everyone experiences pain in the same way or to the same degree. Pain clearly involves a physical sensation, but the experience of pain also inherently involves unpleasant and distressing thoughts, feelings, and behaviours which just add to the pain; emotional pain if you will. So from that perspective, pain is essentially a construct of the mind.
What’s interesting about pain is that it is often made worse by two things;
- Anticipation of it
- Fear and avoidance of it
Anticipating pain increases its likelihood and intensity
If we imagine we are going to experience it, we will. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.
Fear and avoidance of pain increases its likelihood
Fear and anxiety of pain, increases the likelihood of it being experienced, and when it IS experienced, it’s worse than it would have been, had we not been fearful or anxious.
But this doesn’t stop there. There’s another aspect to pain that’s particularly relevant for you if you’re about to give birth and it’s this; there’s a direct physiological relationship between fear and pain; the more fearful you are, the more pain you will experience. This is all down to what is widely known as the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle and is particularly relevant when the area that may be affected by pain is a muscle (i.e. affected by tension). And as labour and childbirth requires your uterus, your largest muscle by mass, to dilate the cervix to help your baby down the birth canal, then this is particularly relevant.
Essentially, the Fear Tension Pain cycle goes like this: When there is fear, the body tenses and when there is fear and tension, pain is amplified. So when there is fear and tension in childbirth, the pain of the contractions seems more intense than it truly is.
This meditation lasts around 50 minutes and is delivered by Alexia Leachman