I have grown up believing that giving birth is the single most painful thing I would ever have to endure as a woman. The stories I have heard from my older relatives, watching movies, seeing people scream with their red faces and ‘One Born Every Minute’ definitely hasn’t helped in believing anything different.
Why is this? Why as women, having the gift to grow a human, and nurture another being, do we fear this beautiful and powerful ability?
Western culture is why. Because we are bombarded with these images and stories that stay with us forever.
However, hypnobirthing is slowly but surely becoming a hot topic within the pregnancy world and changing the way we think.
Okay, so before I continue, I would like to say I am under no illusion that giving birth isn’t going to be one of the hardest things I’ll ever do. It’s not just the physical elements but also the mental side of things that will be challenging.
However, what I want to point out is this. What if I never heard about giving birth as being painful? What if I hadn’t heard about the complications, the tearing and the pain? What would I go into labour feeling like then? After all, mammals are designed to give birth comfortably and efficiently. I honestly believe that these stories have built up scenarios in women’s minds that we embrace so much of pregnancy but not actually the physical ability to birth our children.
Hypnobirthing and it’s principles drew me in right from the start. I loved how it made me think differently about birth and quite honestly, it opened up my mind.
A breakthrough approach to safer, easier and comfortable birthing and it makes complete sense to me. It makes me think of the law of attraction. If our mind is thrown into thinking that birthing is painful and fearful all those negative thoughts will send our body into defence mode. It will make us tense up. It will send all the wrong signals to the wrong places and instantly make the process more stressful. And this is a scientific fact.
We go into labour feeling scared, so the production of adrenaline diverts blood and oxygen to our defence systems and away from the reproductive system. That means all our birthing muscles are deprived, our baby is forgotten about and it makes the process so much harder because we are so tired.
That’s why I am telling myself that I have the ability to take control of this experience and it will be a calm experience. I’m telling myself this everyday.
Our hypnobirthing took place over a weekend. It was intense as it’s normally spread over about 5 weeks, but it was pretty incredible. I went away feeling tired, emotional but already felt more in control and an attitude of ‘I can do this‘.
If you are thinking of hypnobirthing and still aren’t sure, here are the top things I have learnt and love that will hopefully help you make a decision either way as to whether it is right for you :
1. It’s like training for a marathon. You can’t just attend a few sessions and expect to then go into labour knowing how to use the breathing techniques and relaxation methods. This is a process that you need to practice. To embed it in your mind and body. However, this isn’t hard work. In fact, it’s the perfect reason to take the time to relax, to have that time for yourself, your baby and birth companion. To put on your scripts and calming music and sit back and prepare the mind. You can do it just before bed, or try it when you need to switch off properly and let the breathing and scripts send you into a deep relaxation.
2. The use of Positive language. I love how the language doesn’t use words that make it sound negative or frightening. For example, instead of contractions they are called surges or waves, instead of pushing it’s called birth breathing, and instead of braxton hicks it’s pre labour warm ups. I find this similar to the law of attraction in how using positive, more calming language can take away some of those anxieties.
3. Understanding self hypnosis and that it happens more than you think. It isn’t about being hypnotised as you may see on tv or being under some kind of ‘spell’… it’s about getting yourself into a deep relaxation mode that to someone not aware may think you have been medicated to get yourself in this relaxed state! When we become so involved with our work or end up in a day dream or so immersed into a film, that is a form of self hypnosis. During the birth you are still aware of everything, conversations, the surges (contractions) etc, however, you choose to go deep into your birthing body so that you can work through the birth with your baby. You will learn through hypnobirthing to focus on the calm and comfort. I’ve even read since that some couples still use these techniques in every day life!
4. Deeper understanding of birth. It is an education. Both about the physiology and psychology of birth. You learn how muscles are designed to work, how your hormonal responses affect them and as I’ve mentioned already, how to put yourself in control of them. You deal with your fears and use your subconscious to throw them out of your mind. It’s a true journey from discovering more about the body to how to empower it to give you the best birthing experience.
So, hypnobirthing doesn’t promise a perfect birth, and even if labour does feel like the death of me, what I will be able to say is that I gave myself the option to give my baby and I the best experience for us at that moment.
I would highly recommend Lindsey Meanley at www.gentlebirthexperince.co.uk She put us at ease, was so knowledgeable, caring and gave us an incredible experience.