Childbirth is scary, painful and tends to brings out the trucker mouth in women.
That’s the reality for a lot of moms and certainly how it looks on TV.
Some women, however, have found ways to move away from fear, work with the intensity of birth to lessen the pain and even –gasp– smile in the delivery room.
One of those techniques is a childbirth course called Hypnobabies.
I’d heard of this six-week program when I was pregnant with Sophie but didn’t look into it. Hypnosis seemed a little too out there for me.
After the stress of Sophie’s birth, however, I feel more motivated than ever to do anything I can to have a healthy, peaceful labor.
The thing that impressed me the most as I looked through reviews of the program and birth stories of women who’d studied self hypnosis was its applications not just in the practically unheard of world of drug-free births. Some have used it to have a completely relaxed natural birth from start to finish. Others used it to help them get to the point where they knew they wanted pain meds, like epidural anesthesia. And still others found their new skills vital when the “plan” went out the window and they could use hypnosis to cope in very stressful situations, including c-sections and recovery.
The more I read, the more I felt the program could help me ease my fears. See my previous post about deciding on whether or not to have an elective surgical childbirth or attempt a vaginal delivery.
So far I have enjoyed what I’ve read and practiced. (Since I’m in Switzerland and without access to live classes, I opted for a home study guide. It includes several CDs with hypnosis instructions for daily practice and positive messages about having babies.)
My first impression was skeptical — I laughed when I read through the program’s efforts to replace words that may have negative connotations — contractions are called pressure waves. Labor is called birthing time. But I have to say, getting into Hypnobabies is like going to the movies. The willing suspension of disbelief allows you to hang up your inner critic, your reality checker, and choose to accept the story as it unfolds.
Hypnosis, as I’m understanding it, is choosing to accept suggestions. Right now these suggestions are telling me that I can view childbirth in other ways besides painful and scary. It can be peaceful. It can be easy. And since I truly believe thoughts control our emotions, I am letting go of the skeptic to see where this takes me.
I’m feeling more confident every day that I can have an easier birth, although it remains to be seen how hypnosis will work for me on the big day.
One thing I know for certain: The fear I felt on an almost daily basis as I faced the decision to have a natural birth has toned down dramatically. The reinforcement of positive thoughts is starting to outrank the negativity that was swirling in my brain. That in itself is worth the effort.
This post, by the way, is not an advertisement of any sort. Just sharing what I’m doing.