I had quite a few conversations with this particular mother before her daughter was born, and I was struck by the way in which she really took on board the information she had learned in the class and made it into her own support system for birth.She was quietly and inherently confident in her abilities to birth, practiced regularly, and translated what she had learned in the class into pictures and images that would remind her of her purpose during the birth. In other words, she put the work in.
The midwives commented on how good her birth plan was, and she built a lovely, supportive relationship with the midwifery team in the hospital.
I always say everyone is different and every birth is different. In our class we teach some fundamental principles about how your thoughts can affect your physical response during birth, and some very simple but effective hypnosis techniques, but we don’t prescribe how your birth should be. It doesn’t matter whether you chose to have a hospital or a home birth, whether you chose to have the baby rubbed down first or put straight onto your chest, whether you chose to have a lotus birth or not. It all comes down to feeling secure and safe, having all the information and being able to make a choice. If you baulk at the idea of a lotus birth, then don’t have one, other people may baulk at the idea of not having one. There is a huge spectrum in terms of what a normal birth could be regarded as; in fact One World Birth only yesterday published a video that questioned what ‘normal’ birth was.Denis Walsh, Professor of Midwifery in Nottingham, called it an optimal birth experience, and a physiological birth, which is absolutely the same philosophy that I would agree with.
What is normal for you is right for you.Taking on board a different belief system for birth, that you don’t really feel comfortable with, would defeat the purpose of what hypnobirthing is.For me hypnobirthing isn’t a dogma, its a way of looking at birth differently, teaching you what your body and your hormones are capable of, that you can do things differently, what you could do differently and importantly that you are in control of how you choose to experience your birth. Whatever you choose should be based on your wishes for your birth and your baby. Most of all it gives the confidence to trust your instincts and to bring your baby into the world your way.
Classes like Mindful Mamma, give you the space to pause, to think, to explore and consider how birth could be different and why it may matter to you, how you can work with partner and your midwife, and what alternatives there are to managing your experience comfortably – with techniques, and in a way that is right for you. It’s a springboard, and you can choose to get off, just tentatively jump up and down, or dive in!
I always say to people who have bought the mp3s, great, it’s a start, but doing a class makes an enormous difference and to those who have done the class, fantastic, but now the work begins!
Practice is enormously important; hypnosis is all about conditioning your response to birth and conditioning happens through repetition.Through practice you will also uncover different, and better ways of doing things for you.You may find that it feels better to tweak the suggestions and say them in a different way, you may want to change the breathing slightly, or you may wish to have different images.
One client changed her breathing with a little mantra that went “3,2,1 release release, release’ during each of her contractions, another printed off a picture of a baby on a little surfboard, surfing the wave to look at each time she had a surge.Another had what she called her oxytocin photos laid out on a table.
The message that the mother at the beginning for all other mums was that you have to make it your own and she was absolutely right.This is your baby, your birth, have the confidence and the self-belief to do it your way and practise, practise, practise