Important things you I need to Know about Hypnobirthing!
When was the last time you actually heard a woman tell stories about her peaceful, calm birth?
It is rare to hear positive birth stories, isn’t it? That’s because most pregnant mums are bombarded with horror stories about birth, from well intentioned friends and family. There is something about seeing a pregnant woman that seems to give permission to strangers to assume that she needs to hear just how awful birth is going to be.
A first time mum, not knowing what to expect, is very susceptible to these comments from others.
Even though the well wishers don’t realise it, they are helping to perpetuate the myth that birth MUST be a painful, scary experience. TV shows and movies show birth as high drama, but rarely as the beautiful, miraculous event that birth can be.
What if birth isn’t supposed to be like that?
What if a woman’s body was actually created in a way that almost guarantees that she will have a gentle, comfortable birth? What if she would just trust her body to know instinctively how to give birth? What if we trusted that nature was wise, and then drew on that wisdom to give birth in a natural, comfortable way? Could it be that “the idea” that birth must be filled with pain is the “myth”?
The Pain of Childbirth
Ever so simply, the pain of childbirth comes mostly from fear (based on the horror stories), that causes the body to react physiologically, working counter intuitively to a woman’s natural instincts to give birth.
Fear is a basic survival instinct, which can be boiled down to the “Flight, Fight or Freeze” reaction that we’ve had since the dawn of mankind. It’s a basic survival instinct – when a person perceives a threat, real or imagined, their body pumps out adrenaline, so that they can stand and fight, run away to safety, or freeze where they are.
In fear, blood is sent away from the extremities and organs that are non-essential for survival. Nature is wonderful; when we were running from a saber-toothed tiger, we couldn’t stop to give birth, so the uterus shuts down until the threat passes.
What the doctors call “Failure To Progress” can be the result of the same freeze that might have set in when the saber-toothed tiger was lurking – just as animals shut down their labours when they fear for their safety, so do present-day moms who are terrified of birthing.
It’s amazing, but in our modern times, our body still responds in the same way to fear. The really interesting thing is that our bodies respond to an imagined threat and a real threat equally.
Try this: Imagine you are rushing to the Emergency Room, with your injured child in your arms. Take a moment now, to think about how your body is reacting; your pulse rose, your pupils dilated, your breath became shallower, you may even have gotten a little sick at your stomach. All these reactions were to an imaginary emergency, perhaps a memory of a past experience, or a recollection of someone else’s story of their experience. Your body is reacting to a perceived threat, not something that is actually happening to you, as you read this article.
Now, try this: Imagine that you are sitting in your favorite place, doing something wonderful. Maybe seeing a beautiful sunset at the beach, with a warm breeze drifting through; maybe sitting high above the world, looking out over lush green hills and valleys, feeling the sun on your face. Close your eyes, and feel everything about this wonderful place, your wonderful place. (Come back when you’re ready, I’ll wait for you!) What is going on with your body now? You probably feel calm, relaxed, and peaceful. You’re reacting to a perceived joy, the same way your body reacted to a perceived threat.
Relaxation is the Key
Understanding what your body can do, given half a chance, is the first step in having the natural process occur. Endorphins – the body’s natural pain reliever – are available to birthing women as they let go of their fears. Just as fear and tension breed more fear and tension, calm and relaxation breed more of the same. Relaxation is the key to a peaceful, calm birth.
Natural births aren’t sensation-free births. When a runner finishes a marathon, they cross the finish line, perhaps in pain, tired and sweating, but feeling an endorphin rush, knowing that they have accomplished a great feat. It took training and preparation, but it was worth the result.
During a natural birth, there may be feelings of pressure, tightening or burning – but the body isn’t doing something to you; it is doing something for you. By allowing the body to follow in the path that was set from the beginning of time, babies are born more alert; mothers are more empowered, and recover much quicker. Again, it took training and preparation, but was well worth the result.
Take a moment now to imagine your perfect birth – whatever you imagine that to be. What does it look like to you? Just by taking that moment to imagine what you want is to take a giant step toward achieving that goal.
If you are able to imagine your perfect birth and everything in this article just seems like common sense, HypnoBirthing is the childbirth education method for you. In a series of classes, it teaches, among other things, breathing and relaxation, to allow the body to take advantage of nature’s own analgesic.
Training the mind and therefore, the body, to relax during the months before birthing will enable the mother to automatically go into a deeply relaxed state, allowing the body to do what it wants to do, what it has known how to do since the beginning of time. Another part of the classes teach self hypnosis techniques and fear release techniques, to address fears or concerns that either parent may hold, and help them to release those fears that aren’t based in reality.
At the most basic level, HypnoBirthing gives you the knowledge that you need about the physiology of birthing, and the ability to trust yourself to get out of your body’s way and give birth in the way nature intended.