I’ve mentioned in my first post how breathing was such a huge part of my first labour survival and coping mechanism. I knew that getting myself into a meditative zone and not allowing myself to lose control were aspects that I wanted to carry through into my next labour and even more than that, I was determined to ENJOY it. Yes, you heard me right. One of my good friends once exclaimed to me on discussion of our first similar labours ‘I loved both of my labours!’ and I have to admit I didn’t understand it but very much wanted to. I thought to myself- ‘I’ll just get a book on Hypnobirthing and have a read through’ (like who has time to do that with a 3 year old in tow?!) and then I saw that Fearne Cotton had mentioned her ‘euphoric birth’ thanks to The Calm Birth School. With a little bit of research I saw they did a home study course and voila, I enrolled immediately.
With the weekly modules and mp3s they send you, you can literally lie in bed of an evening and do your Hypnobirthing course thanks to the lovely founder Suzy Ashworth. Luckily for me, Gigi is somewhat of a middle class hippy and is totally on board with anything meditation and breathing and also lucky for me that TCBS market themselves as ‘No lotus flowers, No joss sticks, No vagina whispering’ so it was a great happy medium for us both. In fact looking back at those last 10 weeks where we embarked on the journey together I have a great sense of nostalgia; it was a total self indulgent bonding experience and made us both totally driven to have a positive birth. Que negative responses from loved ones:
“Oh I had a friend that did Hypnobirthing. Then she had to have a cesarean so it was pointless”
“You did it fine before, just do your breathing whichever way it takes to get the baby out”
Like the home birth route, which didn’t come till a little later, we weren’t doing this to ‘prove a point’, or be different. We were doing this because it was something WE believed in and though I stayed completely open minded in pregnancy to how my labour would go, I believed it could be positive no matter what.
The hypnobirthing course educated us on how the body works. Not how the baby comes out but what hormones are involved, why we need them, which ones we don’t need and how to ensure we get the ones we do! There’s no debating over this, it’s not a case of whether you believe in it or not. These are scientific facts! It taught us to be brave enough to question things that are presented to you which we normally would not- do I need this blood test? do I have to have a sweep or induction? is a sweep necessarily a good thing? do I have to give birth in a hospital? At a recent home birth group we all enthusiastically agreed how this alone is completely empowering as a pregnant woman, or even expecting father!
It also taught us breathing techniques and relaxation- the physical ‘working’ part crucial to a calm labour after you have the foundation of how everything works. Focusing entirely on your breath means you can be rational about whats happening to you and if like me you’d rather do that than be pumped full of drugs it can be used as a valid method of pain relief. Believe me- Gigi is convinced I was as high as a kite this time round just from breathing in and out. I’m also a firm believer in mind over matter. The human mind is so powerful and yet can be tricked into thinking its already experienced pain in its full horror glory just from listening to other peoples war stories. So, less of that and more of the positive affirmations that Hypnobirthing provides.
The result of all this was ultimately our dream, positive and (in Fearnes words) ‘euphoric’ birth of Huxley. I was lucky enough to have a straightforward birth but the beauty is this: Hypnobirthing isn’t just for straightforward natural births. In our TBCS online community each birth story shared was completely different; hospital births with drugs, hospital births without, emergency c-sections and the odd home birth which didn’t go to plan. But each of these amazing women used the knowledge and techniques learned through hypnobirthing to stay calm, focused and in control in order to get their own positive experience, even if it was just to use through contractions or keep them calm in theatre.
So to hell with those patronising words and doubting looks. Feeling empowered. Feeling strong. Being able to believe in the incredible power of your body and your baby. THAT, at the end of the day, is the ultimate objective and is why I would recommend hypnobirthing to a mother to be every time!
Head over this way to get yourself onto a Gigi + Pickle Hypnobirthing course…