HypnoBirthing is actually really simple. At its most basic level, HypnoBirthing teaches mums to trust in their body and their baby. Obviously, birthing has been done since the beginning of time by most women, it is a deeply primitive experience, part of our shared experience as mothers. We don’t need to be taught how to birth, yet because we are modern women, living in our modern world, with most of us having been separated from birthing women and babies and subjected to the negative views of birthing that are propagated by the media and even other women around us, we do need to learn how to let go of that negativity and embrace the positivity of birth. This is where ‘Hypno’ comes in, I believe the course works to actually dehypnotize mums & dads from all the negativity surrounding birth.
Women’s bodies are capable of giving birth all by themselves. Women in comas are easily able to give birth all by themselves. No knowledge is needed for this innate ability. But we do need to turn off from all the negative birth stories around, we also need to be able to trust our bodies and we need to listen to our intuition and to be able to frame what is happening in a positive way. Everyone’s birth experience is an experience, it is their own personal experience which is shaped by that person’s thinking, their history, their needs and the environment around them. You can hear many negative birth stories, full of pain and even trauma, but you need to remember that it was their experience, not yours.
Every individual’s perception is different and it follows that everyone’s experience is different. We create our experience through our perception and through our beliefs. As the famous quote by Henry Ford says, ‘Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right’. This is the power of the mind. For every thought we have, there is a corresponding physiological response in our body, what the mind chooses to believe (or what we allow ourselves to believe) is what the body responds to. When we fear birth (or anything for that matter) we tense up. When we tense our bodies, we feel pain. As a result of the fear that is in our mind, adrenalin is released as a part of the primitive fight or flight syndrome. Adrenalin is released to make the major muscles in our body (the legs and the arms) work so that we can run away from that thing that we are afraid of. But we are in the modern world, there is no tiger, we are in the birth room, and the release of adrenalin restricts the release of feel good hormones (endorphins and oxytocin) which are what make normal birth in a non-fearful context tolerable, comfortable and even pleasurable for some women. This is called the fear-tension-pain syndrome. This is the thing that can make birth uncomfortable and painful.
The secret to a comfortable birth is being able to relax into the birth by breathing, visualizing, the use of affirmations and ultimately letting go: letting go of fear surrounding the birth, fears about your baby, how your relationship may change with the arrival of the baby, your finances and everything else that you may think is going to be affected by this baby. The key is to let go of those fears as well, which is what the self-hypnosis is for during our classes.
As well as self-hypnosis being a fundamental part of HypnoBirthing classes, simple breathing and relaxation techniques to bring you to a calm and more centred place, affirmations and visualisations are also fundamental. The classes are normally held once a week with your partner in attendance (or a friend who will be there for your birth). The reason for this is to be able to make time in the week between to integrate the practice of the techniques so as to make them innate, second nature, so that you don’t have to think about them and you just do them normally. The weekly intervals also work to increase your confidence in your body’s ability to birth and also your partner’s confidence in his/her ability to be a good supportive birth partner.
You might be curious as to ‘whether HypnoBirthing works’. There have been many research outcomes that show that HypnoBirthing mums are happier and more contented, have less interventions during birth, shorter labours, more alert babies and less need for pain-relief. The great thing is that there have been no reports of HypnoBirthing mums suffering from postnatal depression. Additionally, whatever turn your birthing takes, HypnoBirthing can still serve you as it helps you to be calm, relaxed and less anxious. You may not end up having every element of that most perfect birth that you have visualized, but what HypnoBirthing will give you is the confidence to accept what happens in the birthing room, knowing that you have prepared in the best way that you can and that is what makes you feel empowered and feeling disempowered is one of the main reasons why women experience postnatal depression and feel that they have had traumatic births. Do everything that you can to prepare for your calm birth and then let go, trusting the process of birth, your body and your baby.
There will be a free information session in at 4pm-5.30pm 7th October, 2018 at MAMA, 38 Gatehouse drive, Kensington, VIC, 3031. The next series of classes will begin on 20th October. Book here for the information session and book here for the classes. Attendees of the free information session will receive a voucher for $50 of the October/November course.
Jo Harris has been teaching HypnoBirthing for 9 years (she became an instructor after the sucessful HypnoBirth of her daughter) and she has been so inspired and influenced by the positivity and affirmations that underlie the philosophy that it now underpins the branding of her Aromazen Naturals and Momma Zen brands. Each product has its own affirmation.