Birth: It is always depicted as this excruciatingly painful and traumatizing experience. Every time women talk about childbirth it seems to always be a horrifying story of pain and distress and that is a mindset that has been embedded within us in these modern times. Never have I heard of anyone talk about having a positive birth experience. We have forgotten that it is a primal thing that our bodies were designed to do. And instead of embracing this beautiful phenomenon, we end up being engulfed with fear and focus so much on the pain that cripples us from truly experiencing this natural process.
Unfortunately, having a natural birth is not that common in the US as opposed to other countries. Natural birthing methods such as water birth, home birth and using gas and air for pain relief (which are cheaper) aren’t options. The only options (covered by insurance) are having an epidural, narcotics or NOTHING AT ALL. And so I tried to find a natural birthing method that would suit me best and I learned on my own. Sadly, I didn’t have enough positive natural birth stories floating around to encourage me with my choice. Almost everyone who finds out about my decision either told me I was crazy or doubted my capability to do it. So I ended up turning to friends abroad who actually gave birth naturally and I watched Youtube videos of positive natural birth experiences for encouragement and inspiration. I remember walking into the hospital on delivery day and everyone sounded so surprised that I opted for a natural childbirth. Even the midwife said “let’s see how you feel later”… not very encouraging. Whereas in other developed countries, this is deemed to be the norm. I guess this was the biggest challenge I had with having an unmedicated natural birth, having to advocate for myself to a room full of people who only know and accept childbirth as being done one way.
Natural childbirth takes a lot of planning and education. Having enough knowledge, a firm conviction and support to pursue the kind of birth that’s right for you is required. I learned so much from this experience and if I did get blessed with baby number 2, I’d gladly do it all over again.
Here are some reasons why I recommend hypnobirthing.
1. It helped me know my body
Hypnobirthing taught me to be in sync with my body and with the help of prenatal yoga and meditation I learned to bring myself to a peaceful and calm state which was very helpful during the labor process. I remember during “push time” (I didn’t push… I breathed my baby out) the nurses were amazed that I was smiling after every surge (contraction). In my head, I just kept focused on the fact that I’ll be meeting my little one soon and that gave me all the energy I needed!
2. I learned to trust my body
Knowledge is definitely power. The more you thoroughly understand the way your body prepares for your baby’s arrival, the less fearful you’ll be during labor. All I had to do the entire time was to breathe, relax and listen and respond to my body’s needs. I remember the nurses telling me not to push yet as I wasn’t fully dilated and I could feel my entire body working to push my baby out and so I advocated for myself and had them check me again. Sure enough, I was fully dilated!
3. I was in charge of my own birthing experience.
I love that I was in charge of my own childbirth experience. I knew what was going on in my body and I knew how to react to it. I was able to advocate for myself on many different things from using the birthing ball to ambulating (instead of just laying down for their monitoring convenience) to being on all fours during transition time to knowing when my body was ready to “push” and when I just needed to keep calm and relax. No, I don’t think I was a difficult patient as my supportive husband attended to my needs the entire time. All I’m trying to say is: I knew what was going on and I was educated enough to trust myself every step of the way.
4. Breathing and relaxation techniques
I never knew there were different kinds of breathing for every stage of labor. And I think this is one important thing that ALL mothers should learn to do before giving birth. I also learned so many things such as relaxation and imagery which are all very helpful in everyday life to reduce stress and anxiety.
5. Changing perspective
The main focus of hypnobirthing is to break the fear-tension-pain cycle which is very important to achieve a calm birthing process. Most of us already fail even before we begin because of the fear that has been instilled in us. I have learned to focus on breaking this cycle from pregnancy to labor and delivery in every way possible. Although things do happen that are outside of our control no matter how much we prepare, hypnobirthing has taught me to keep an open mind for such situations and to stay calm even when things don’t go the way as planned. It is all a matter of having the right perspective.
6. Life changing and rewarding experience
Going through childbirth the way we are all supposed to made me feel empowered and blessed to have gone through what all healthy women are meant to go through and I think this has changed my life forever.
My biggest recommendations are:
- Practice the breathing techniques, practice often and start as early as you can in your pregnancy.
- Only listen to positive birthing stories. Like myself, I turned to Youtube and friends who only had good things to say about their birthing experience. And I am also grateful to good friends who held off on their negative experiences until after I gave birth.
- Have a reliable and trustworthy birthing partner who will be with you through this entire journey. Be it your spouse, your best friend, a family member or a doula. Having someone you’re comfortable with and you can trust to support you in this whole process is the most important aspect to having a successful childbirth.
Childbirth is a beautiful experience that every woman is capable of doing. Looking back, I am extremely grateful to hypnobirthing for giving me a choice given the lack of options. Through a series of audio courses which I took over a period of 4 weeks prior to giving birth and together with pregnancy yoga, meditation and Youtube hypnobirthing videos, I was able to give birth in a relaxed and calm manner and have the positive birth experience that I wanted.
Curious about my resources? I used Hypnobirthing Hub for the audio classes. I also watched a lot of Nissa’s videos a.k.a. The Hypnobirthing Midwife on Youtube. For anyone living in the UK, she does have hypnobirthing classes and has a lot of free resources on her website. Has anyone else done HypnoBirthing? I am not an expert but if you have any questions, I would be happy to answer any inquiries you have.