Having a baby has been depicted by Hollywood as a dramatic, screaming, emotional event. Well, the truth is that sometimes it’s all of those things. But not necessarily the way that television and film makers make it out to be. Thanks to reality birth shows that seem to plaster themselves on channel after channel, many women find their fear level ratcheted up as they watch dramatic event after event unfold in front of their eyes.  It’s not necessary, and in reality we all fear the process enough in our own minds that we just don’t need the extra help from nighttime entertainment.

Every woman fears some part of child birth. Some of them are for funny reasons, some for more serious ones.  In this two-part series we are going to hash over the top eight reasons women fear delivery—and we’re going to start with those little issues that leave you laughing. Wondering later, why did that even matter to me?

Too little, too late

Almost every woman has run the worst-case scenario through their minds at least once during those last weeks. The sudden gush of fluid that sends everyone into a tailspin and (thank you Hollywood film) the panic that ensues is multiplied by a rapid birth that means baby arrives in the Honda instead of the hospital.  Waiting too long to leave for the hospital and having to yell “The baby’s coming! NOW!”  sends chills down our backs. No epidural. No doctor. No help. Just you, your driver and the car.  Here’s a newsflash about delivery: most women are in labor for 24 to 36 hours. Standard. Most women push for an average of 2 hours before baby is delivered. I know. Someone out there is going to tell me that they delivered in one push with no contractions. I know you exist. But you aren’t the norm. (And neither was I, so don’t be offended.) You will have more than enough time to get there.

Undergarments are Understanding

We cling to our bras and underwear like a security blanket—like the teddy bear you tried to hide under your pillow in college. We love them. We somehow believe that surrendering our underwear leaves us vulnerable. That folding them and putting on the open-backed gown says “I’m weak. I’m out of control. I can’t do this!”  Even for myself, a nurse for many years before the birth of my first child, put on my gown and smiled at my friend and nurse. “Can’t I just leave my underwear on?” I ask. She just smiled. “Off.”  She said. And they have to come off. No way around it. I once heard of a woman who delivered into the leg of her pantyhose because she refused to take them off—as though staying dressed was going to change the course of her future.

The Energy of the Enema

The truth is, no one is given an enema much these days.  Two decades ago, this touchy process was considered standard for anyone entering a hospital for delivery. Well not anymore. Because of this, many women live in fear that they will do#2 as they push.  Here’s the hard reality of that: it happens. Some women make a great “statement” while pushing. Some don’t.  Afraid your partner will see? Have them stand by your head.  And rest assured your doctor is ready too—with a swipe quicker than the eye—it will be gone so fast no one will ever notice. Discreet is the name of the game so be confident that everything will turn out fine. But if you still want a flush, go ahead and ask