Hypnobirthing worked for me…. and it might for you!
SO – once you have overcome the shock / excitement / extreme panic or all of the above that you are pregnant, it won’t take long for you to start pondering the fact that you are, at some point in the near future, going to have to get this new little life into the outside world…. as your partner reclines with masculine pride (his task is done!) and probably throws in the odd joke about grapefruits squeezing through small holes, it can become, well, a little overwhelming!
I was one of the lucky ones, I didn’t suffer from morning sickness and I kept fairly fit and healthy throughout my pregnancy. I developed an unhealthy addiction to sweet pastry goods but apart from that took each day pretty much in my ever widening stride.
I have always had a slight interest in the ‘alternative’ therapies and thus started to explore ways I could make my ever growing bump feel happy in its place, keep my rising blood pressure down and oh yes… occasionally pondered just what it would be like when it came to actually having the baby.
First I started pregnancy yoga – and I can’t recommend this enough. It really kept my growing body moving and the classes provided an amazing place to talk to other pregnant mums and I am still friends with some of these girls 4 years on! I am particularly lucky as my sister teaches this class so for me, it was a bit like being teachers pet – I got all the extra info I could possibly need and also got to be guinea pig for all the nice massage techniques she taught us! All was going well, but then came the week she threw in the first of many classes about labour and active birthing positions…
They seemed easy to me, swaying my hips with my oh so small bump just appearing over my tracksuit bottoms, but as I glanced around the room to the other expectant mums and noticed the extra attention the ‘big’ bumped ladies coming to the end of their pregnancies were paying to my sisters words. I realised that they had a more pressing (in more places than I realised then!) need to know just how it might be remotely possible and more comfortable to ‘birth your baby’ using these positions and techniques…….hmmm my brain suddenly paid more attention!
That same rainy weekend I also started reading “what to expect when you are expecting”. Its a great book don’t get me wrong but, to be honest, I made a fatal error and I read ahead of my current stage of gestation – BIG MISTAKE!
I overloaded with words and diagrams that just didnt seem right, I could virtually feel my ankles swelling by the second as a reaction to the panic rising within! Something had to be done…. as usual, one of my first people to call in a panic is my sister and this time I was of course calling a bit of an expert – and it was she who first told me about Hypnobirthing.
I immediately had visions of my husband becoming a Paul McKenna type hypnotist, luring me into a state of calm and simply clicking his fingers when its all over. It really shouldn’t be called HypnoBirthing but i can’t think of a better name for it either… it simply wouldn’t make a good website if it was called calm-yorself-down-and-remember-to-breathe-and-give-your-husband-a-task-and-maybe-get-through-this-birth-in-one-piece.com would it?
In a nutshell, if you are a little scared of giving birth, if your husband/birthing partner isn’t sure what kind of use they are going to be and you, like i was, are a little worried they might annoy the hell out of you during your labour AND I shouldn’t forget the best bit, if you would like to have a go at having your baby naturally then I would say HypnoBirthing is for you.
Here in Jersey, we aren’t blessed (or weren’t 4 or 2 years ago!) with the best level of ante natal education so the fact that the two HypnoBirthing coaches are also midwives swung it for me. The AMAZING June Poole and Jan Auffret are fabulous teachers and committed to trying to help you to have a natural birth – but also happy to give a realistic opinion when its needed which I found a perfect mix.
The classes (which we had with Jan at home) were informative, eye opening (and sometimes eye watering!) and well, relaxing too. As we worked together as a couple to overcome our fears and the giggles at reading aloud to one another we started to realise that we could, just maybe, pull this off and help our baby out by breathing, letting my body do its job and trying to go with the flow.
I loved the relaxation CD which in later stages really helped me to drift off to sleep no matter how uncomfortable I was! Even my hugely sceptical husband slowly came round to the idea that he too would be able to help me not just watch helplessly. Did we practice enough? No probably not, did I change my language and call contractions surges instead? no! Did it make a difference to my birth experiences – absolutely!
As a first time mum I clung to the music playing and to my husbands words as though life depended on them throughout my labour, even in the final rather panicked moments of my eventual forceps delivery of Bea, I was calm, clear headed and totally aware of what was going on – which I put down to my hypnobirthing practice.
My second experience giving birth to Freya was much more to ‘the book’ and I managed to have a totally natural birth using the hypo birthing breathing techniques and active birthing yoga positions I learnt. I have to say, I totally ‘got it’ and realised the second time round just how to ride the ‘waves’ of labour. It was remarkable – and I am not writing this to boast, I just want to let you know, if you are an expectant mum, that it can be like this for you too – even if just a bit of your labour is like this, its worth a try!
As I sit now, with my births behind me (probably forever which is a whole other blog post to write!) I watch One Born Every Minute with addiction. I feel so sad for the mums who arrive in a complete panic and scream and worry their way through their labours or simply plug in an epidural ASAP. Don’t get me wrong, I also believe there is a time and a place for the clever drugs available and have many friends who have had emergency and elective ceserean sections too – of course the only thing that matters is that we all have happy healthy babies at the end of it all but, well…. wouldn’t it be worth a go? If you are able to, just do something you do every moment of your life and BREATHE and give a new idea which uses very old logical lessons a go….
Lots of love
Mum on the Rock
PS if you are interested in doing pregnancy yoga classes obviously I highly recommend my sisters classes but she is currently on maternity leave herself so has handed over her classes to Jennifer Moore who is also qualified to teach this fantastic class.