When I got pregnant with Baby the First, a friend who'd been in the mission field when her baby was born sent me a copy of Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. This book and I have a combative relationship. It tells me something helpful, and I like it. Then it lies to me and I get REALLY, REALLY, REALLY angry. On balance, I'm glad I have it. But I'm an angry person and think the truth should be available, so here it begins.
One useful thing from Bradley is the "emotional signposts," which help your labor coach to know how far along you are (in our experience, they're very accurate). The third and final emotional signpost is the "self-doubt phase." For those of you who have been through this, it's that point of utter despair when you honestly think you can't do it and you're going to die. I really hate that part. This is the first lie of the Bradley method that requires exposure. They're right about your first baby: you reach the self-doubt phase shortly before you deliver. But on your second baby, the self-doubt phase actually begins when you're about two months pregnant and continues for the rest of the pregnancy. Then on your third and following babies, the self-doubt phase begins immediately after the birth of the previous baby.
The self-doubt phase is a lousy place to live. It makes sleeping at night awfully difficult. To see the precedent-based projection of my life stretching out into untold numbers of labors is terrifying. I (naturally, what with the Velveeta-based brain) can't remember if I've been this neurotic about it with every baby since the first, but it sure feels like it's been worse this time.
I know: who of you by worrying can subtract a single minute from your next L&D? And that precedent-based projection is also not ok. But there they are. Kyrie eleison.