As promised, here’s an update on my experience using HypnoBabies for Olivia’s birth.
I can’t say it helped in the way most people imagine, the way I’d hoped it would. But I don’t regret the time and effort I put into it.
HypnoBabies is a sort of relaxation practice meant to be helpful for women preparing for natural childbirth, to have a more comfortable experience (note I didn’t say “pain-free”).
I began the course materials a couple of months before my due date and was almost immediately glad I’d made the investment.
Without a thorough understanding of hypnosis in general, what struck me was the program’s goal of replacing expectations of fear and pain with those of relaxation and joy. Sounds cheesy. Sure. But I’m well aware, being a seasoned worrier, how powerful our mind is to elicit different emotions.
Having been entrenched in a pattern of fear having chosen to try for natural delivery instead of a planned repeat C-section (see my previous post on the matter here), the hypnosis lessons did their job reminding me to shift my thought patterns.
It’s often easier to map out all possible bad scenarios. Sometimes it’s even prudent to plan for the negative outcomes. But acknowledging something and worrying about it are very different things, the latter taking a heavy toll on your emotions.
Positive scenarios are just as likely, if not more so. So if you’re going to take up brain power imagining the future (that you can’t predict), why not put some positive pictures up there.
This reminder, day after day, brought me out from under the doom cloud fairly quickly.
After that is the practice of, not necessarily removing pain, but learning how to relax through it. Pain brings tension and tension heightens the experience of pain. Hypnosis can remind you how, in uncomfortable situations, to find your “happy place.” Seriously.
I didn’t get to put these lessons into practice during labor, I never went into labor a day and a half after my water broke, thus another C-section. But I did practice what I’d learned during the countless pokes and prods of my surgery and recovery. In fact, one of the lessons focused on accepting outcomes for which we haven’t planned.
It’s hard to say whether my “happy place” shielded me from pain or whether I wouldn’t have felt it to begin with, but that’s not really the point. At least not for me. I had some trying experiences and with this extra bit of knowledge I felt more at ease.
In the end, that’s why I’d embarked on the HypnoBabies path in the first place.