J is for Joy

Joy is one of a multitude of emotions you may experience during your labor and delivery.  There are a few main emotions that you will transition through during labor that can help indicate where you are in your labor.  In addition to these typical emotions you may also experience sadness, irritability, or even anger.

Joy or excitement is typically the first emotion.  You may be experiencing your first signs of labor and with this brings joy and anticipation because you will be meeting your baby soon!  While this is usually the first emotion you experience it is normal to feel other emotions such as anxiety or fear.  You may be anxious about being a mom, or fear the pain you expect to feel with contractions.  The best thing you can do is try and relax and let go of the fear and anxiety as they will likely slow down labor and can cause you to feel more intense pain. 

After the initial period of joy and anticipation, when the contractions have begun to pick up, most laboring mothers begin to get serious.  You are less likely to laugh at a joke and you are beginning to have to focus and concentrate during contractions.  The transition to seriousness can be lengthy and you may to even realize it is happening, just like the transition from early to active labor.  Typically you will not want to be disturbed and will need to work to stay relaxed and remember to breathe. 

During transition, when your cervix is dilating the last few centimeters, you may begin to doubt yourself.  Doubt whether or not you can deliver your baby the way you wanted.  This is a good indicator that labor is almost over and it is nearly time to push.  The best way to overcome this phase is to be reassured by your partner or doula that you are doing an amazing job and it is almost time to deliver your baby.  Focus on your baby and relaxing and you will make it through this phase much easier than you will if you give into your doubt.

Once your baby is born you may feel all of the emotions you experienced during labor again, possibly all at once.  You are flooded with hormones and by this point you are likely exhausted.  Just ride through each emotion as they come and remember you just birthed your baby!  The emotional rollercoaster may last a few days before becoming more of a bumpy ride than a crazy rollercoaster.  Adjusting to your emotions in the postpartum period can take some time and tears.  If you are dwelling in the sad emotions longer than you think is normal, speak to your doctor or meet with a therapist—it is better to get help and have it be the baby blues, than to put off asking for help and sink into postpartum depression.

What emotions did you experience during labor?

Next I will be blogging on the letter K… K is for Keepsakes.