Even if you’ve been around here for a while, be honest- you read ‘hypnobirthing’ and you picture… what? For most people, dimly lit, fairly quiet, home water birth. And sometimes, YES- it’s exactly that. But you know what strikes me when I hear from clients who have births like this- especially if they are first time mums? I think to myself, ‘it’s fricking fantastic- they didn’t need to fully utilise hypnobirthing.’
SAY WHAT? Of course they did, right? I mean it’s still hard work, and they had what was probably, mostly, their dream birth. So how is it that they didn’t fully use hypnobirthing, to get a classic hypnobirth?
(How many times can I reasonably type hypnobirth before seriously doubting the spelling??)
Here’s the thing… One HUGE element of the way we educate women and their partners is to prepare them to make satisfying, sometimes difficult choices.
We were talking about choice at Pregnancy Relaxation Group the other night, and there were women who were completely familiar with the experience of being railroaded- of being led to believe they had no choices in their circumstances. This is true of most women who come to see us for a second baby- they repeat, in devastating chorus, “I wish I’d known, if only I’d realised…”
BUT one of the beauts who is back for her second round of doing it like a mother said she’d never had any of her options restricted. (“But then, I’ve been low risk both times.”, she said.)
Now again, this is BRILLIANT. I wish it could be this way for EVERY WOMAN. But it ain’t.
As soon as any single indicator catapults you from low, to high, you may well find yourself in a sea of stipulations, policies, restrictions. And you know what? You don’t have to accept any of it. I repeat- you don’t have to. You COULD. Maybe you even SHOULD. Some of it makes absolute sense. But when we consider that Trust Guidelines can vary from one to the next, that some of them don’t match up with NICE guidelines, and that only 9-12% of the Green Top Guidelines are based on Grade A evidence, we can quickly realise that maternity care is not the clear cut world we are sold.
You’re not a better or worse mother for accepting or declining an epidural, monitoring, induction, C-section, whatever. You’re in your own specific set of circumstances, with your own life experiences and natural levels of risk aversion guiding you.
BUT HOW can you possibly have the confidence to demand the information you need in helpful terms? To be afforded an appropriate amount of time to make a decision? To advocate for yourselves and avoid bowing to pressure against your wishes? To make rational decisions in the most emotional of moments?
HYPNOBIRTHING. Yep. The way we do it. It’s not all breathing and chilling and lavender oil (although all that stuff ROCKS). It opens your mind to a variety of possibilities, in an honest, yet sensitive way. We know you don’t wanna think about anything but the birth you want. We DEFINITELY don’t want you getting hooked on One Born Every Minute or other people’s awful birth stories. So what’s the difference between that and planning for the birth you don’t really want, as we encourage you to?
When you absorb OBEM or the social nonsense, you do not know the full picture. Your rational mind kinda gets this, but the subconcious is lapping up the fear and growing it by the second. When you make plans for scenarios B and C, you are protecting yourself, and squashing your fear by retaining some control. You get, ‘EVEN IF’.
Even if I end up in hospital, when I wanted home, this is how I can affect the environment. Even if I agree to continuous monitoring, this is how I can remain upright and mobile. Even if I opt for a C-section at any point, these are the ways I can ensure it’s as similar as possible to a vaginal birth.
Why does any of this even matter? Because it’s well known that women experience birth trauma largely as a result of how they feel about the way they were treated, rather than what specifically happened. Autonomous vs coerced. Respected vs patronised. Human vs vessel. Recognising that EVERY crossroads presents a choice, and that IT IS yours to make, and then salvaging what you can from the things that matter to you, is key to a healthy emotional state beyond the birth.
If you’re low risk, and remain so, you probably don’t have to worry about this stuff.
So is hypnobirthing ok for High Risk Pregnancies? YES. Absolutely yes. These are the women who need it the most.
If you fancy joining me for one of my Group Antenatal Hypnobirthing Courses, I have space on February 17/18, 10-4 each day, or the first 4 Thursday evenings in March. All details can be found by clicking here.