While researching to find a new healthcare provider to support my plan for a natural, unmedicated VBAC (read more about my journey here), I stumbled upon birth stories on the HypnoBirthing website about women who were having amazing and calm birthing experiences…unmedicated! After I read the first few I laughed to myself and thought, “Yeah, ok….I don’t buy it.” I was definitely skeptical but also intrigued, so I continued reading and I also watched videos of actual HypnoBirths and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I called my husband in to watch and his exact words were., “That can’t be real. People make more noise going to the bathroom than she just did giving birth to her baby!”
I still wasn’t completely sold but I decided to buy the book, HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method. I also reached out to Marie-Alana, the local HypnoBirthing instructor in my area. After speaking with her I was sold and we decided to take the class. Currently we are half way through the course and it has been awesome so far.
So, what exactly is HypnoBirthing? HypnoBirthing is a simple, straightforward program, thoughtfully developed over the years to remind mothers of the simplicity of birth itself. Just as the majority of birthing women do not need interventions and procedures for safe and healthy birth, they do not need a complex set of exercises and scripts to prepare themselves for a peaceful, calm and comfortable birthing. HypnoBirthing is based on how the power of our minds can get in the way of our body’s ability to give birth, and also how our culture has instilled so much fear around giving birth, and teaches how we can regain control of our minds through deep relaxation, visualization, positive thinking, and breathing and physical preparation.
Marie Mongan’s (founder of HypnoBirthing) theory behind her method is based on how fear creates tension in our bodies which increases the pain felt during labor. Think about it…when you feel fear you jaw tightens, your fists clench and your heart races due to the message that your brain sends to your body to go into the “fight or flight mode” as a defense mechanism. An example the book uses to support this theory is to think about how you feel when you are driving and think you are being pulled over by a police officer. I personally start to freak out. My heart starts to race as I tightly grip the steering wheel and start to sweat. However, as soon as they zoom past my car, I immediately relax, and that’s all from the possibility that I might get a speeding ticket! Imagine what your mind will do when its time to face labor, especially when its the first time and you don’t know what to expect?
When it comes to giving birth most women associate it with fear because of the horror stories they hear from others. I approached going into labor the first time thinking that it was going to the most awful and painful experience of my life, and I was terrified! So, when it’s go time your mind takes over and gets in the way of what your body is trying to do. This paired with unnecessary medical intervention can cause a downward spiral, that in my case, resulted in an operative birth. Instead of having joyful memories of holding my son for the first time and bonding with him, I remember them showing me my baby and then taking him away as I laid there scared and alone while they finished my surgery for the next hour. While in recovery I was able to hold Philip, but the first moments of my son’s life are foggy at best because of all of the pain meds I was on. Thinking back on this breaks my heart because I missed out on the first precious moments of my son’s life.
This time I visualize a completely different experience. By utilizing the tools learned from my HypnoBirthing class paired with my new support team, I feel confident I can achieve my goal of having a natural, unmedicated birth, and most importantly be able to cherish the moment of meeting my new baby for the first time and bonding with him or her. I strongly recommend all first time moms or other women in a similar situation to me to look into HypnoBirthing, even if you are skeptical like I was at first.
Here’s a great story to get you started!