What is hypnosis?
Ask everyone about hypnosis and you’ll get mostly this answer: losing control. People may think immediately of stage hypnosis, dancing like Elvis or cluck like a chicken. And that’s no surprise, thanks to Hollywood.
In reality, hypnosis it is a state of focused concentration where the body and mind relax altogether. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, you are always in control of your mind and your body. You choose to enter hypnosis, stay in hypnosis, accept the suggestions, and emerge from hypnosis at all times.
We are all in states of hypnosis many times a day automatically ( daydreaming, falling in sleep, the minutes before we wake up, watching TV, working on the computer), so hypnosis is a very normal state of being that along with it’s ability to provide emotional and physical healing, has been widely and successfully used within the medical community for pain relief and hypno-anesthesia.
That is why, hypnosis for childbirth makes so much sense. In addition to pain relief and shortening labors, the hypnosis practice helps mothers to feel self confident about birth and to see it in retrospect as a gratifying experience. I am one of those moms.
Pain in childbirth? Is this a MUST?
Do you know that there are cultures all over the world where women naturally have easy, quick and comfortable births? Are their bodies any different than ours? The main difference how these women give birth is due to their preparation and expectation of childbirth. They may never have heard horror stories about childbirth in their communities.
In the western world, it is commonly accepted that birth is a terrifying, painful and the most dangerous event in a woman's life. No wonder that women are fearful and expecting to feel pain during birth! Every story that a woman reads, sees on TV or in the movies, listens from other people, helps her create her belief system about the process of birth.
In the 50s, Dr.Grantly Dick-Read described for the first time the circle Fear/Tension/Pain in his book ''Childbirth without fear''. He recognised how easy the simple women from villages gave birth in comparison with women who have had their babies in hospitals. These women who had easier births were fearless! Fear produces adrenaline, which causes tension and tension creates pain! So simple as that. We create our experience through our beliefs and expectation of how birth can be. Ever heard of the Pygmalion Effect? What our mind dwells the most, it becomes our reality.
How hypnosis works in childbirth?
Expectant mothers who decide to take hypnosis childbirth education courses train their inner mind for an easy and comfortable birth. They will use hypnotic suggestions to release old fears and re-program their inner mind that contractions will be felt only as pressure, tightening, pushing, pulling and normal baby movement sensations. Negative words will be re-phrased with new ones, like ''pressure sensations'', ''waves'', ''surges'', words that have a positive connotation. There’s is nothing positive about the word ‚pain‘‘. Nevertheless, the ultimate goal of all hypnosis childbirth education classes is not necessarily a pain-free birth, but a confident, informed pregnancy and a happy anticipation of birth. By default, because prepared moms are not fearful, their powerful endorphins and oxytocin will lessen the strong physical sensations. Some women will indeed experience a pain-free birth, even an ecstatic one and that is wonderful, but let’s do not forget that we all are build differently and it depends also on the grade of commitment and time we assign to our practice of hypnosis and relaxation. Another very important success-factor is the choices we make in childbirth, for example: choosing a birthing facility that supports/or not our preferences, accepting medical interventions and medication during birthing time or having a doula/partner that advocates for the '‘hypno-mother‘‘.
I would also add that it is very important that the classes contain, not only hypnosis preparation, but also comprehensive information on anatomy and physiology of birth, nutrition, exercise, choices in childbirth, breastfeeding and many more, for the couples don’t have to take another class for that. Most of the ‚‘normal‘‘ childbirth education classes teach ‚‘pain-coping‘ techniques, which is in total conflict with the philosophy of hypnobirthing programs. Embracing one belief system is very important for a positive experience.
My own childbirth experiences
My third child was my ''hypno-baby‘‘, but before that I experienced a premature birth (at 27 weeks of pregnancy my son was 700 grams) and a planned c-section with my daughter almost 6 years ago, of which I wasn’t happy at all afterwards. When I first knew I am pregnant again for the third time, I knew it will be different and I started to eat healthy, inform myself, changed my mindset about childbirth and found to the end of the pregnancy Hypnobabies, as a Home Study Course only available in that time in Germany. I was listening all the time to my hypnosis tracks, used the cue words and hypnotic techniques during birth and most importantly, I had around me an amazing support team 100% on board with what I was doing. My last pregnancy and birth were indeed very gratifying and I am one of the women who experienced pressure instead of pain during the most part of my birthing time. To the end, I’ve kind of lost my concentration as my iPod has got drowned in the bathtub where I was at that time, but I was all the time in control, in tune with my body and baby, I knew exactly which position to choose and I was anticipating every pressure wave with joy and excitement, knowing that each and everyone bring my baby closer. As my baby boy was born in my arms, the first words that came out were: ''I did it, I can’t believe it, it was so easy!'' How many women can say that after just giving birth? Just three months after I was starting my Doula Ausbildung with Melanie Schöne and the next month I was flying together with 4 months son to USA to take the Hypnobabies Instructor Training. That’s how transformative and inspiring a birth can be!
In the end of the day, no matter of the level of discomfort we may have felt or not, it is important that at our births we felt respected, treated with dignity and empathy, that we felt souverain and in control at all times. We have to change the paradigm of preparation for childbirth and that is: anticipating birth with joy, as being the most important event in our lives – and of course, it is! - and not concentrating on: ''avoiding pain'', ''to get over'', ''I don’t want a c-section'', ''I don’t want a trauma again''. Like I've said: what we dwell upon the most, it grows! Think about what a huge impact this new paradigm could have on our unborn children...They would know already in the womb that this world is a safe place, filled with love and joy. Let’s make decisions from the place of LOVE and not FEAR. It can change everything, it can change the world!
Did you use hypnosis for your birth? Let me know how was your experience in the comments below.
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Want to know more about my classes and need support at birth? My next Hypnobabies Class comes on the 4th of September in Hamburg. Contact me for more information and to reserve your spot in class, places are limited!
With much LOVE,