For most of my life, I assumed that pushing a baby out of me would be the scariest thing I ever did. Understandable, considering where babies come out and the terror-filled depictions of birth I'd grown up watching on TV and in movies. Fortunately, in the years right before I got pregnant, I stumbled on several things that helped me reality-check my assumptions about birth. Turns out, there were actually multiple things in my pre-baby life that prepared me for pushing, both intentionally and unintentionally. (It also turns out that I've done plenty of things way scarier than push out a baby, like raising said baby.)
There were things I thought to do on purpose, like taking a childbirth class with a doula who talked frankly about things like ways to avoid tearing during birth. I also knew in advance I didn't want anybody telling me to push, 'cause I'm very insistent that people who don't know what my vagina feels like not tell me what to do with it. That was one of the main reasons I chose midwives whose philosophies on birth aligned with mine. Still, there were a lot of things that I did throughout my life without considering what it would mean for giving birth that totally helped, too. Things like yoga, and re-learning to respect my whole body, sex organs very much included.
When it comes to birth, there are always going to be some things that are beyond our control, and I certainly can't say what worked for me will 100 percent work for every single person who gives birth. However, the following things definitely helped prepare me for pushing, and helped me bring my baby into the world without tearing or hurting myself.