In every movie with a birthing scene, we always watch the distressed mother sweating, maybe even crying, while doing Lamaze breathing frantically. The husband, partner, friend, or sometimes your friendly taxi driver is also breathing, unsure of how else to help.
Does labor have to be this awful?
For anyone having children in the last decade, the term “Lamaze” has become outdated and archaic, and the options for pre-birth preparations, in general, are pretty limited.
Like most first-timers, part of the nesting phase is finding any and all sources of information, so we are prepared for “the big day.” However, when I started to research birthing education, I quickly realized that most of these classes were to help new parents handle a newborn, such as how to hold the baby safely or how to change its diaper.
Well, not to be vain here, but what about me? Yes, learning how to take care of my baby is important, but who tells me how to give birth? I was not prepared to wing it.
This left me to scour pregnancy groups on Facebook, where I harassed experienced mothers and contemplated going broke to hire a doula. Then, something magical happened- I was introduced to HypnoBirthing.
According to the official HypnoBirthing Institute, 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 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.”
How amazingly inclusive is that? One quick google search for the nearest practitioner and I was hooked.
Here are five reasons why HypnoBirthing should be an essential part of your birth plan:
- It Made Giving Birth Empowering, Not Scary
If Romcoms taught me anything, it’s that birth is terrifying. However, it’s not actually true – it just makes good tv. When I started class with my significant other, I was immediately supported not only by the practitioner but also by the other couples in the course. We had an instant bond – and that was that we were ready to take control of our birthing experience. Most of the context in HypnoBirthing, Fourth Edition: The breakthrough natural approach to safer, easier, more comfortable birthing – The Mongan Method is focused on eliminating the deep-rooted fears we hold about giving birth and how groundbreakingly freeing it is to experience birth in confidence.
“When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change.”
- It Gave Me Tools to Self-Regulate
For the mamas who have given birth already, you know that birth is very much an internal experience. Besides the obvious physical pain, it’s a mental game too. Having different ways to help myself navigate my thoughts and emotions were game-changers once I was in the thick of labor. Things like proper breathing (not exactly like the movies), setting the ambiance in your birthing space, and having a soundtrack of soothing music and positive affirmations are some of the ways I was able to stay balanced throughout my labor.
- It Gave My Partner Ways to Assist Me
One of the most incredible benefits of this method is that the partner can be an active participant in labor and feel good in providing support.
Long gone are the days where dads waited in the waiting room for the doctor to announce their child was born – it takes two to make a baby, and it takes a village to birth one!
One of the pain-relieving exercises we were taught was used throughout my entire labor – where he was able to squeeze my hips during the peak of a contraction to relieve pain in my back. It is safe to say that I would have probably opted for the epidural had he not supported me this way.
Whether you choose to medicate or not during childbirth, the connection and bond created through these techniques made us more prepared as a couple, and I felt incredibly supported while I endured such a strenuous physical journey.
- It Allowed Me to Be more present in the moment
When I was almost six meters dilated in labor, I took a nap. Yes, you read that right – I took a snooze, unmedicated, halfway to the finish line!
It was possible for me because I was able to master a meditative state that I learned in HypnoBirthing. In class, you will learn to deepen your breaths and make them last longer, allowing your body to relax enough to welcome a meditative state. With visualizations, you are then, while still very conscious, reach a level of hypnosis. In this pocket is where you are in power, where you can connect with your body and your baby and have complete faith that you are built to go through this experience.
These meditations can also be done with your partner, which can be helpful when you have the hustle and bustle of nurses in and out of the labor room.
- It Gave me confidence I could do anything
If you can give birth, you can do anything.
Sometimes when we experience trauma during birth, we don’t believe that. Of course, emergencies happen, and delivery usually doesn’t go according to plan, but working through some internal resistance is an upper hand in any situation. In my personal experience, I had my heart set on delivering in a birthing center in a giant bathtub. When my water broke at home, I was made aware that it was no longer an option for me, as there was not enough staff to support me when in labor. My training with hypnobirthing kicked when I got this news – I immediately released the fear and the doubts that were starting to rise in my mind and reassured myself that no matter where I gave birth – I was ready. I was going to have a peaceful experience. In the end, I made it through 16-hour labor without any medication or even an IV, and I gave birth standing up.
Hypnobirthing not only gave me the birthing experience I wanted it to have, but it also made me into a total badass.