If I have to talk in front of a large group of people, I am likely to stumble on my words, forget what I want to say and think something is bound to go wrong.
Does this sound like you?
If I'm waiting for someone I care about to return home and they're late. I worry and I start to think they have been in some kind of accident.
You see I'm the type of person that easily gets worked up over things that later turn out to be nothing.
Do you do this?
I'm always thinking of the worse case scenario.
People often say they know what I am thinking as it's written all over my face.
I've been known to get very emotional very quickly and I'm really good at giving myself a hard time and saying things to myself like this "I should of done this, I should of done that".
I use dramatic words like amazing, incredible, terrible, stupid, never and always.
I suppose you could say I'm a bit of a drama queen. I really wouldn't like to admit it though.
I don't like to take centre stage; I prefer to hide away at the back of a room hoping to blend into the wallpaper. I like a position, which allows me to stay in control by seeing what's going on in the room around me. I'd never sit with my back to the door unless I really, really have to.
Are you with me on this?
Why am I like it? Is it just who I am? Have I always been like this? Will I always be like this? How is it for you?
A natural way of thinking
Truth is sometimes it feels like I've always been like it, it's just me, how I am and that's okay. It excuses me from going out of my comfort zone too often. It also holds me back too.
Then, other times it's okay; I embrace my inner drama queen and bust of my comfort zone like I am now publishing this. You see it's really just a natural style of thinking I've adopted over the years. You could say I've learnt it, most likely from my parents, sorry Mum and Dad.
What's all this got to do with birth you might well be wondering.
Well, if you're like me and feel like the above it's likely you'll be a bit of a dramatizer, an overly creative thinker and have the ability to create high levels of worry and stress very quickly.
When you think in an unhelpful and catastrophic way your thoughts can quickly and easily turn into the worse case scenario playing out in your mind. You know that series of images that appear in your mind playing out a sorry tale. Leaving you feeling like poop.
You have to ability to magnify, exaggerate or blow out of all portions any kind of perceived worry, fear or threat. Your sense of perspective disappears out of the window as you over use of your imagination; this can leave you in a state of panic. Like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
You have a tendency to make assumptions that all sorts of disasters, calamities and upsets are bound to happen, expecting things generally to go wrong. Your language is dramatic, your body language is exaggerated, large sighs, hand gestures and facial expressions tell the others in your company a lot about your current dramatic state.
You're the sort of person who when in this dramatic way of thinking tends to adopt a bit of hysterical blindness. You know when you can't find your keys that are in front of you the whole time!
You react quickly to thoughts and actions.
During your pregnancy this kind of thinking can cause you undue stress, most of the time for no real reason. During birth this quick dramatic response you have can quickly turn a calm, peaceful you during labour into a panicky unable to cope, get me out of here labouring woman. Your body is likely to fill with more adrenaline than required. Leaving you in a state of flight or fright. It's certainly something you need to be aware of, this response happens in a situation where there is just a perceived danger, which causes the stress, anxiety and worry.
Make it work for you.
However, there is good news for the likes of us that think like a bit of a drama queen. We can learn to put our beautiful, overactive imaginations to good and using the tools and techniques found in most hypnobirthing courses, classes, books and CD's.
You can change that unhelpful dramatic chemical reaction in your body to a helpful one that labour favours, like producing the hormone oxytocin equally as quickly as you made the drama. It's just like flicking switch; you just need to give yourself permission to see it in the first place.
So what can you do now to make this natural style of thinking start working for you?
Its easy start filling your mind with helpful supportive language and thoughts of birth, use well phased affirmations, avoiding words like don't, can't, should and try) and watch, read and listen to positive birth stories for extra support, Milli Hill's 'The Positive Birth Movement' is a good place to start.
Imagine the birth you desire, see it in your minds eye, as if it came true for you, how would that feel? Notice how quickly and pleasantly you react to these suggestions when you use your imagination in a positive way.
But most importantly take this style of thinking, embrace it and enjoy making it work for you.
Sarah Brent is a mum of two, hypnotherapist, psychotherapist and creator of Positively Blooming. Positively Blooming is a childbirth preparation course that gives parents-to-be insight into their natural style of thinking and highlights a set of tools and techniques to prepare them for the birth of their baby and the life long job of parenting.
Follow Sarah on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SarahHypnobirth