Updated: Sep 28, 2020
5th Nov 2019
Pregnancy: that wonderful time when people can’t wait to tell you how awful giving birth will be. Your head is filled with stories of unimaginable pain, and you wonder what on earth you’ve gotten yourself in to. ‘I’m scared!’, ‘give me ALL the drugs’, and ‘this baby will be coming out via osmosis’ were thoughts I was having on a daily basis. But then I heard the term hypnobirthing. I had no idea what it was, so I did what any other millennial first time mother does and asked Siri. After reading the words ‘calm’, ‘relaxed’ and ‘evidence based’ on the Hypnobirthing Australia website, my mind was made up. I loved the course. The student in me found the body-mind connection intriguing. If my mind freaked out my body would tense up, and my big ol’ uterus (which I learnt is also a muscle) would work harder, tire out and eventually say a big fat nope to all of it. It just made sense.
How do I stay calm?
It starts by retraining the way you think about birth. Birth is instinctual. Just like we don’t have to tell our heart how to beat, we don’t have to tell our bodies how to birth. Our brains are wired to give birth but when we overthink things too much the wiring shorts out. So you need a circuit breaker, and that’s where hypnobirthing comes in. Hypnobirthing teaches you strategies to help you remain calm and in control, particularly when things don’t go to plan. You practice them throughout your pregnancy so that when the big day comes your toolbox of skills is ready to go. Breathing techniques help you stay grounded. Changing the way you talk about things like painful contractions pressure surges helps you remain positive. The light touch massage releases your natural pain relievers (and helps your partner feel useful). And most importantly, listening to the self-hypnosis tracks allows your mind and body to instantly fall into a deeply relaxed state.
What about the hypnosis part?
You won’t be munching on an onion thinking it’s an apple, and you’re definitely not ‘under’ anyone’s power but your own. You’re still aware of what is going on around you and you have the ability to awaken yourself at any moment.
Do I have to have a natural, drug free birth?
Nope! Our bodies are perfectly capable of birthing babies vaginally, but there are times when intervention is needed for you and your baby’s safety. The hypnobirthing philosophy doesn’t care what way you give birth or how many drugs you use. All that matters is that you are prepared with your toolkit of techniques to help you have a calm, positive, and empowering birth experience.
Is it worth it?
I have to admit, I looked at the cost and realised my baby budget would need to be adjusted. I knew hypnobirthing was something I needed to do, so I bought a second hand pram and used the left over money to pay for the course. Honestly, it was the best decision I made. After giving birth I realised that the Hypnobirthing Australia course wasn’t a debt in my baby budget. It was an investment in my health and mental wellbeing, and a skill that I would carry into many other stressful and painful (read: broken ankle) future situations.