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Pain Management

Intense fears about giving birth are eased with EFT

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

Shelley Malka from Israel expertly helps her late-in-giving-birth client through the fears that were causing her late delivery. Note how she brings a helpful awareness (reframe) to her client's attention.

Hugs, Gary

By Shelley Malka, Ph.D

Hi Gary,

I have often found that the fear of giving birth, usually due to a previous trauma, considerably impedes the smooth functioning of the birth process.  This kind of trauma can come from negative past birth experiences, from watching traumatic birth scenes in movies or from reading about such episodes in books.  Or, as in the case of my client, this fear can be triggered through directly experiencing the traumatic birth process of someone close.  EFT can be enormously helpful with this and assist women in coming to terms with this most significant life event in a positive, empowering way.  

Sharon came to see me when she was 10 days post-due date.  She was terrified of being induced and had only four days left to 'D-Day,' when the doctors would insist on induction.  She hadn't been able to fall asleep at night due to this anxiety and although she felt desperate to give birth naturally, in her words, "something is holding me back."  This wasn't her first pregnancy, or the first time she was overdue so she didn't understand her anxious reaction this time around.  We began tapping right away:

Even though this time I feel something is holding me back...

After a round or two, a memory popped up about being with a friend, Renee, during her birth process.  Renee had asked to be induced and Sharon had watched while the doctor stripped her uterus in order to move things along.  This is a common induction practice in some countries, and extremely painful.  So we began tapping, allowing the following statements to emerge:

Even though Renee chose to be induced and I definitely don't want to go that route...

Even though the doctor stripped her uterus while I watched...

Even though she screamed and kicked him...

Even though he hadn't warned her of what to expect…

Even though he had no right because a few minutes later she had an epidural...

This was not the first time a client had reported such stories, which I told Sharon, and I mentioned the term "finger rape" was often attributed to such cases.  Based on further discussion about this, we tapped on the statement:

"Even though I'm still traumatized by Renee's experience, it's very helpful that you've legitimized my horror and given it a name…"  Finger rape then became the Reminder Phrase.

During a couple of sequences around all these statements, Sharon realized that this memory and the fear it engendered was preventing her body's natural rhythm and, she believed, keeping her stuck and blocked about giving birth naturally.  This was a turning point in the session because it cast light on her initial feeling about "something holding me back."  She now saw how this fear was creating the very situation - induction - she so dreaded.  With this liberating insight, we continued tapping.

Even though that happened to Renee, I choose to remember this is HER issue and has nothing to do with my birth experience…

Even though Renee went through a trauma with her birth, this isn't going to happen to me because I'm different and my issues are different.

Then Sharon said, "You know, Renee's whole life is dramatic!" so we explored how that impacted on Renee's 'style' of giving birth and what that meant for Sharon: Even though I somehow became Renee, I know I am not her … she tends to attract dramatic, traumatic birth experiences through no conscious fault of her own.

Tapping on this statement gave Sharon considerable relief.  Her face grew visibly softer and less tense.  Within a round or two she had clearly shifted her unconscious belief that if Renee had a bad birth experience, so would she.  Then she mentioned that Renee was "pushy" and actually "forced" her doctor to induce her because she'd had enough of the pregnancy.  In other words, Sharon no longer saw her as an innocent victim but more objectively, she realized her friend had played a dominant role in how the induction played out.

This new awareness was very important and to consolidate it, we did quite a bit of tapping on, Even though Renee's birth was traumatic, it absolutely doesn't mean it's going to happen to me … my experience will absolutely be different.

At this point, Sharon said, "Such a terrible thing can only happen if God leaves the room."  I find that whenever a client's conception of God enters the picture it is highly personal and subjective. Yet, what invariably helps is to formulate, together, a Choices Statement that both reflects the client's beliefs and truly comforts the person.  A new door opens, and for Sharon, this meant:

Even though such a terrible thing can only happen if God leaves the room, I choose to totally know that He will be with me throughout my birth and not leave me for even a moment.

Here, we performed the Choices Trio which not only allows the expression of both voices, but also creates a kind of a magnet by linking the negative statement to the positive Choice while tapping on alternating points.  Little did either of us know, at that time, how anchoring this "magnetic" statement would become as Sharon's labor and delivery progressed.

What I did know at the time, though, was that another cognitive shift was happening.  "The dawn of realization began at that moment," Sharon told me after the birth.  "I understood that the process I was about to enter was entirely out of my hands.  It began to feel futile wasting my time fighting what God had in store for me.  I could not choose for Him.  What I could do was pray it would be the best for me and focus all my mental energy on that rather than on my fears.  This marked the beginning of my surrendering to a Higher Plan."

So, Sharon's Choices Trio, aimed at developing trust in a Higher Power, made a significant difference to her feeling state.  Her body seemed more relaxed and she felt more at peace.  We then re-wired her original setup statement to further integrate the process.

Even though Renee was induced and stripped, I totally choose to let myself labor naturally!

Even though it seems God left Renee's room, I choose to absolutely know He won't give me anything I cannot totally handle.

Sharon left my office feeling much better.  I would like to write the rest of the story in her words:

"I went home feeling much better and KNOWING I would give birth that night.  I was too embarrassed to tell anyone how sure I was so I just continued tapping on my choice to labor naturally and on my choice to trust that God would be with me all the time.

"I awoke at 2 am with contractions and just continued tapping on my Choices Statements.  Each time the contractions stopped or weakened, I tapped again - and they strengthened.  When they got painful and then stopped I tapped on, Even though these contractions are going to hurt I choose to labor naturally and know that God will not give me anything I won't be able to cope with.

(Author's comment: I believe this helped her system to feel sufficiently safe to allow the contractions to develop, even with the pain.)

"But it was when I got to the hospital and had to "surrender" myself to the medical staff that my cognitive shift in my EFT session really deepened.  For immediately, I was checked by a midwife, who asked if she could do the "stripping."  I said no, and she didn't.  I asked for the epidural, and for some reason, I didn't get it and this triggered every horror story about birth that I'd heard.

"There was also a lot of screaming from the other rooms which vividly evoked more pictures in my mind.  I truly imagined that without EFT my body really could have "seized up" here because I would have panicked.  Instead, I kept on tapping, saying, 'Even though I'm scared that the same thing will happen to me, I choose to know their stories and experiences are not mine. And also, I choose to let myself labor naturally and know that God will not give me anything I won't be able to cope with. It became almost a mantra, alternating with 'this is their story, not mine.'

"One and a half hours later I was finally given my epidural.  I had used the tapping right through the waiting period, and during the epidural itself, and this absolutely kept me sane and in control. The pain disappeared and I fell asleep.

"Suddenly, I was being wheeled into the delivery room.  I tapped on Even though I'm scared, I choose to feel that God is here in the room with me and He will not walk out on me!  And then right before the delivery, a problem with the baby's heartbeat brought all the doctors rushing in and looking very worried.  Once again, I used my wonderful tool and my carefully-prepared Affirmation Statements.

"I tapped on, Even though something terrible may be happening, I know God will not give me anything I won't be able to cope with and I feel He is here with me!  I continued to pray and tap together, using a version of my Reminder Phrase: 'God, I know You're here with me every minute and I'm leaving it all up to You.'  

"By this time, my entire consciousness was enveloped in the experience of God's Goodness and His love for me.  But this only came after I surrendered myself completely to His plan - something I would not have been able to do without EFT.  Three minutes later the heartbeat came back, all was fine again and within minutes, I delivered painlessly the most perfect baby girl!"

Sharon emailed her story to me after her birth, ending with,

"The whole experience became so empowering and strengthened my connection to God and my belief that things will turn out well.  May you always help people to cope with such happy events and may all their struggles have such great endings!"

I spoke to Sharon a few months later, and this is what she told me: "After learning to surrender myself to a Higher Plan I find it easier to take care of my baby.  I don't get mad when things don't go as planned - sleepless nights etc.  I just tap on, Even though I really want to sleep right now I choose to believe that what needs to happen will happen.  I truly believe my baby is calmer and my nights are better but even if not, I totally and completely accept whatever comes."

Thank you, as always, Gary.

Shelley Malka, Ph.D


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