The Fear Factor

In the coffee shop this morning, a group of women on the table next to mine were deep in conversation, probably antenatal friends catching up over coffee, two of which were heavily pregnant. They were all listening avidly to one woman, who was recounting her birth story in toe curling graphic detail and judging by the very visible signs of discomfort and distress in the two pregnant women, fear had become an unwanted guest at their table.

Now, what I witnessed is commonplace. Women share experiences all the time but how many of us stop to think about what we choose to pay attention to? Do we turn off that documentary on difficult birth? Do we turn the page or read that article on how difficult it is to conceive over thirty-five? Do we politely steer the conversation away from gory birth stories? More often than not we ought to but we don’t and consequently we validate or give life to unwanted fears and phobias.

So, if asked you to write down your top five fears relating to conception, pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal recovery, what would they be? A few years ago, I would have listed needles, hospitals, surgical intervention, nurses and miscarriage. Some of those were based on traumatic experiences, whilst others were based on what I had read, heard, watched on TV or worst of all, hearsay.

Yet, regardless of whether your fears are based on real experiences or the work of an overactive imagination, your subconscious mind will work hard to find continuing proof to validate them and keep them very much alive causing your survival instinct, your ‘fight or flight’ response to kick in with those familiar feelings we associate with fear, when we encounter a stressful stimulus.

So, do you want to start conquering your fears? Revisit your top five list from earlier and make a start on some simple steps to reprogramme your mind with favourable beliefs instead.

  • List the beliefs which underpin each of your top five fears.
  • Now make it your business to gather new evidence which counteracts each of your unwanted beliefs.
  • Create positive, present tense affirmations to underpin your new evidence and read them daily to seed new beliefs in your subconscious mind.
  • Create compelling mental movies of yourself overcoming each of your fears and ‘play’ them daily to seed new experiences into your subconscious mind.
  • Tune your inner frequency to continue to attract positive experiences to validate your new beliefs. The more you look, the more you’ll find. Trust me!
  • If your fears are too overwhelming to address on your own, seek professional help from a therapist specialising in conception and birth matters.

Footnote information:

Joanne Wren specialises in the treatment of fears, phobias and anxieties affecting fertility and conception, pregnancy and birth and postnatal recovery. She is a Surrey based private practitioner and founder of Conception & Birth.

For more information contact Joanne Wren on 01276 21386 or visit