"So tell me..."
This is how a lot of conversations start for me these days. It's followed by an array of questions which usually leads to lots of good conversations about how amazing our bodies are and how precious and special birth can be and occasionally some skepticism of my passions for something so seemingly "out of the norm", whatever that means. All these conversations have prompted to be proactive with a blog post and so...
Here are 10 of the most frequently asked questions I get asked about HypnoBirthing®.
1- "What is HypnoBirthing®?"
"HypnoBirthing is a tried and proven method that guides and prepares a woman in giving birth in a peaceful and extraordinarily beautiful manner. It is a program a that considers the psychological, as well as the physical, well-being of the mother, her birth partner, and the newborn, independent of context, whether that be in the quiet of a home, a hospital, or a birth center. The HypnoBirthing program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Most importantly it fosters an air of mutual respect for the birthing family, as well as the health-care provider in a traditional health-care system or an alternative setting."
So there it is, folks. It's one part the true understanding that birth is a normal, physiological, non-medical event; and one part how to relax and breathe and be a part of the process whilst enjoying it as nature intended. Need more? Read this!
2- "Why should I enroll in a HypnoBirthing® course?" aka "What's the point of Childbirth Education?"
A) Sometimes it's tricky for us to understand that while everyone who may be part of our birth process wants "to do a good job", we are really the only ones acting in our own best interest. See! My BA in Economics has not failed me yet! You are the person responsible for you and yet you are at a HUGE disadvantage! Unless you have intimate insider knowledge (aka been to medical school and work at the hospital) you need to do more to be prepared than just a friendly tour of the grounds.
So many women and families walk into birth or into the actual hospital feeling extremely unprepared and nervous. Hospital environments making people uncomfortable? WHAT? haha. Just ask Jim Gaffigan.
So what's a girl to do?
Take a childbirth class.
Take a good childbirth class. HypnoBirthing just might be that class for you, I'd love to chat about it, BUT it might not-- there are tons of really awesome childbirth education programs out there. I know Bradley instructors, Birth Boot Camp teachers, hypnobabies instructors, Dancing for birth teachers, Christian Childbirth educators, and so on! These are all mostly independently taught courses, independent from the hospital offered classes, with good reason.
"Contemporary women in our culture hold an unprecedented fear of giving birth, too often associating it with excruciating pain, thereby causing their bodies to become unable to perform what should be a normal physiological function. HypnoBirthing® is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education enhanced by self‑hypnosis and guided imagery techniques that allow women to use their natural abilities to bring about safer, easier, and more comfortable birthing.
HypnoBirthing® teaches a woman how to release all prior programming about birth to free herself of limiting thoughts and emotions that lead to pain-causing fear and resistant muscles. When giving birth with HypnoBirthing®, a mother is not in a trance or asleep but instead in a state of deep relaxation—awake, aware, and fully in control."
If this sounds right to you and sounds like how you would like to prepare for and experience birth, take HypnoBirthing!
B) If you're preparing for a home birth or birth center experience, the same concept applies! While you may not find grand opposition to (and most frequently you'll have LOTS of support for) your desires for a natural birth, YOU are still the one that will be laboring and birthing with your baby, YOU are still the one that needs to be prepared and needs the accurate knowledge of birth. And I'll add your companion aka "daddy" aka "mommy" needs to know and support that too. We don't do enough positive birth sharing and teaching in our own families and social circles anymore, reach out and educate yourself. You'll be glad you did!
3- "At what point in pregnancy is a good time to take HypnoBirthing®?
Most of the moms and families I have associated with enroll and take HypnoBirthing during their second trimester. Think 20ish weeks! That being said, you can never start too early. You'll just have more daily mind conditioning and relaxation opportunities and be more than adequately prepared for labor. ALSO moms who want to get started and are at 35+ weeks still have options. Several instructors will arrange a modified schedule for you and/or private instruction so that you can get the information and be calm and prepared prior to labor. I have worked with a mom just starting at 38 weeks before! You can still be successful even if you get a late start... however don't rush yourself though, it's counter-intuitive to stress about HypnoBirthing classes and preparing hastily for what you hope will be a calm birth.
4- "What's the difference between HypnoBirthing® and... _______?" (fill in blank with any other method childbirth education or hypnosis for birth method)
Ah *sigh*, this question. I love this question.
The truth? The truth is that I don't know! Ok, Ok, I'm being a tad trite to prove my point. However, I am a licensed HypnoBirthing practitioner. It wouldn't be fair of me to tell you all about what others are doing and start comparing when I'm not authorized to do so. I am very familiar with several of the other methods and yet I would rather you gather all the info for yourself, it's empowering to do so. I can't think of anything negative about any other method. We are not competition. It's about finding what resonates with you! Do I believe I'm working with the best? OF COURSE! All of us do or we wouldn't be doing it. There are lots of "best" out there. What's the best for you?
I can tell you that HypnoBirthing® IS the original method of self-hypnosis for childbirth. It was developed by a mom and grandmother that was seeking earnestly to share the joy of childbirth and the power of the mind with her family and all women. It's beautiful, it's not contrived. It's a restoration of what birth was always intended to be! It's not a distraction method or a way of dealing with the pain; it's a way of harnessing your own relaxation, your own intuition, your own power to birth. Did you know you were so powerful? Want to know more? Contact me!
5- "Can I just the read the book?"
Sure! You can. Lots of ladies do it that way. I can tell you though that you'll be missing out some of the most powerful aspects of HypnoBirthing if you "just read the book". It's also hard to know if you're doing it right if you can't check in with an expert. There is lots of time to check in with your HypnoBirthing® practitioner, practice the breathing, and positioning techniques, and participate in guided visualizations so that you can tune into what hypnotic relaxation really feels like for you.
Other things to consider: Taking the full course allows you to ask all your questions, access additional relaxation scripts, includes all 20+ professional handouts and extra audio relaxations. You can also get to know other couples, those that will be birthing around the same time as you and become your new "play date" friends.
Bottom line on this- Birth is personal AND communal. We all need a guide, your guide is your birth companion. Maybe that's baby's father, mother, grandmother, aunt, doula -- he or she is your partner, they are your guide. Allow what's shared in the course to empower that person to be the guide that you need them to be. Allow the course to enlighten and empower you to achieve the calm, joyful birth you want and deserve.
6- "Who should (can) come with me to class?"
Going right along with my last thought on the previous question- bring your guide: bring whomever you need! Most often moms want their spouse or partner there. Pick your #1 birth support person. Bring them! Patrick Houser says, "Mom is pregnant with the baby. But Father is pregnant with the whole family" (Fathers-To-Be, 2009)
I also strongly suggest bringing along anyone that you are going to have support you at the birth. This could be your sister, your best friend, your mom (I have more thoughts on this, call me up, rant warning). Or a doula! Doulas love to support your desires for birth! However, you can't assume that any of your chosen support people are familiar enough with HypnoBirthing® to already know what to do to support you. HypnoBirthing gives you lots of options to help inform those that will be supporting you! I only limit the number of people you can bring by how many comfy seats are available.
7- "Can you control me, like read my mind and make me do stuff?"
Are you getting sleepy? Are you? HA! Well it's probably only because you are still reading this insanely long post!
The short answer to this is NO! Absolutely not.
Many of us think of stage hypnotists and some funny experience where you barked like a dog or strutted on stage like a chicken. This is all a show. These people are highly skilled at reading you and your susceptibility to suggestion. Think Sherlock Holmes. They combine that with the highly energetic atmosphere and your wanting to have a good time. Truly only those most uninhibited are any fun at a stage hypnotist show.
It's not about what a real hypnotist or hypnotherapist can do to you, it's about what they can do for you. And actually it's really about what they can assist you to do for yourself!
All hypnosis is SELF-hypnosis. You cannot be made to do anything that you wouldn't otherwise be wiling to do. We all have natural, regulated patterns of brain waves and you go in and out of hypnosis thousands of times everyday. Want to know more on this? Contact me!
8- "I have ______ or I will have to have ____ while in labor, can I HypnoBirth?" (fill in the blanks with some special circumstance or condition)
YES! There is no condition in which preparing for labor and birth with HypnoBirthing is not applicable.
"Birth is unpredictable, and special circumstances can arise. Whether you have a special circumstance that requires intervention, or have a planned caesarean, HypnoBirthing® – The Mongan Method will prepare you for whatever turn your birthing takes.When medical interventions, such as caesareans are necessary, it can be a life saving wonder that saves mother and baby’s lives. When birthing mothers require a caesarean section [or other intervention], the HypnoBirthing® techniques are useful in helping mothers and birth companions to stay calm and relaxed."
No matter what may befall you or what you choose, HypnoBirthing is for you. Moms and frequently fathers and birth companions tell me that find the methods of relaxation and stress reduction super helpful at work and in their day-to-day life! HypnoBirthing® has even improved couples' communication and empathy for one another.
Want to chat about specific special circumstances? Contact me!
Check out this page for more on that- HypnoBirthing® Preparation for Caesarean Birth
9- "I want to HypnoBirth but my family thinks it's nutsy, what can I do?"
You have options! I have worked with a handful of mums that say their birth companion would never support their decision, won't come to classes OR that their own mom/dad doesn't approve.
This really boils down to a lack of understanding and empathy. I can almost guarantee that they are fearful. And they don't realize that their fear is hurting you. They don't know what you know about HypnoBirthing. You can educate them, you can share the "what" and the "why". Ask them to listen. These people are your dear ones. Can they open their minds and hearts to your desires? Do they have really tough questions and doubts? Ask that they read the book, come to class with you, or meet up with your HypnoBirthing practitioner.
In classes, some of most initially skeptical companions are those that become some the greatest advocates and most proficient at self-relaxation and the tools of HypnoBirthing. True story! Ask my husband. :)
In very rare instances, moms have had to forge onward alone. Moms who do understand that ONLY those who can support her are those that should be welcome at her labor and baby's birth. They (and you) cannot afford to have anyone in attendance that brings fear, baggage, stress, personal doubts or opinions. It becomes a "hijacking" of mom's and baby's experience and in severe cases completely derails mom of her natural path and beautiful birthing experience. Do not hesitate to do what's best for you and your baby!
10- "Does HypnoBirthing® really work? aka Can I have a pain free birth?"
YES, but maybe not.
YES it does work! But it depends on you. The factual, physiological effects are all true (call me up if you want to chat brain/body science!). It's there for the taking. You, however, cannot dismiss the value of daily practice and reprogramming your own mind and harnessing that power. Take all the tools you've gained and make them work for you in whatever situation that you need to! One cannot "try" HypnoBirthing. Your subconscious does not recognize "try" it must DO.
For the "pain free" bit-
"HypnoBirthing® does not offer pain free or painless birth; we subscribe to the belief that birth can be easier and more comfortable when mom is relaxed and supported by caregivers who respect what she and her birth companion are doing."
Your labor may be entirely enjoyable! Open your mind to the possibility! Lots of moms report that as part of their laboring outcomes. HypnoBirthing moms report that they were able to maintain energy, and comfort, which set them up for better bonding and breastfeeding postpartum. Often moms' labors are shorter in length and baby seems to just gently glide into the world. Moms also report happier postpartum emotions overall!
During labor and birth- they say they feel pressure, tightening, tingling, numbness, as if their body is working but they are still comfortable. Your body will be work WITH you and you with it, rather than against or at odds with each other. That fear, tension and stress is what creates undue pain in our physical bodies. Imagine if you eliminated the fear, tension and stress what your body and your baby could do! Trust your baby. Trust the process; trust birth!
References and Sources-
www.fatherstobe.org and the Fathers-To-Be Handbook by Patrick M. Houser
Utah State University, Hunstman School of Business, BA in Economics
Photo Courtesy of The HypnoBirthing® Institute