Hypnobirthing: A Dad's perspective.

I'm so, so happy to be sharing these stories from two of the (many) wonderful Dads I have worked with. So many of the Dads we work with arrive to our classes a little unsure of what they're in for. Many of them are very open to doing whatever their partner's feel will be helpful for them but few realise how much they will get out of the classes themselves. Both as birth partners, fathers and beyond. I always joke that I see their body language change within the first hour of the first class. It's one of my favourite bits. 

Will's Story

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"The best thing...that it made Sarah and I closer. We now talk and touch more than we used to. Which is really helpful to Sarah and makes me feel like a better Husband, which is really empowering."

Hypnobirthing is a mixture of pregnancy and labour education, self-hypnosis, relaxation techniques and empowerment. This is what Sarah and I chose as the course to do. We went with Kent Hypnobirthing which is run by an awesome mother called Ray.

A quick disclaimer, hypnosis is not the bullshit you see on television where someone waves a watch in front of your face or makes you fall asleep. It is about taking relaxation and breathing to a new level, relaxing to the point where the mind becomes susceptible to suggestion, which is why it is so good at helping reduce pain in labour. Its also why you as the Husband or partner are so important as your voice will be something that help ground your Wife or partner during intense moments in labour.

After the first scan, we went to ‘The Yard’ in Faversham for lunch (which is flipping fantastic by the way). Just before we left, Sarah went to the loo and picked up a card for hypnobirthing from the wall. I can’t remember of it was for Kent Hypnobirthing or not but Sarah had heard of hypnobirthing before and she start doing her research. {Edit from Ray - it was one of our flyers]

We found out that Kent Hypnobirthing was putting on a taster session at Macknade Fine Foods near Faversham (It’s a farm shop and a dream come true for anyone that likes fruit and veg). So we booked up. We met three other couples and it lasted roughly three to four hours. In that time I learnt more about pregnancy and labour than I ever thought possible. It was brilliant. We signed up to the full two day course then and there without hesitation.

In the full course (which was approximately 16 hours) we looked at Labour in other mammals and why as humans we have taken something natural and wonderful and turned it into something cold and alien. We looked at the history of home birthing. Some basic science behind labour. We learnt relaxation techniques, self-hypnosis, breathing techniques, building birth plans, and instilled positivist at every turn. We also had a laugh as well.

I could not recommend Hypnobirthing more highly to any couple. Even if you are having your baby in a hospital. Hypnobirthing helps you learn that even if your birth does not follow your birth plan, it is still the outcome that is important and reaching that outcome is the goal no matter what hoops you end up jumping through to get there. If there is a hypnobirthing course near you and you can afford to do it. Don’t hesitate, you won’t be disappointed. And at the very least, get in contact with the person who runs the course as they may be able to at the very least give you some advice.

The best thing about the course was that it made Sarah and I closer. We now talk and touch more than we used to. Which is really helpful to Sarah and makes me feel like a better Husband which is really empowering.

{taken from a full blog post of Will's on his Foward Thinking Fatherhood Blog - check the rest here}

Jon's Story

 

"As I relaxed I began to ask questions. I began to feel empowered. I began to feel empathy with my wife. Most importantly I began to feel in control"

Initially when the idea of hypnobirthing was proposed by my wife it was just one of many ‘alternative’ suggestions that we were discussing prior to the birth. I must admit that I agreed to attend the sessions without really having much idea as to what they entailed. I reckoned that if my wife thought she needed them then we would have to do them and as a supportive partner I would go to the sessions and nod in the appropriate places and make the right noises when required.

My preconceptions were that this ‘hypnobirthing’ was some ‘new-age’ gimmick that could never really replace the service we had previously be given through the ‘good old’ NHS, which I had used for the birth of my first two children. Looking back now it is abundantly clear how different both methods are and how unaware we were as a couple of how much control and say in the birth we actually had. The continuing mantra and theme for me was ‘question everything’, even information and advice coming from the most eminent medical professional. More of this later.

The sessions were relaxed and informal and I was quickly put at ease. As a ‘typical’ male I had previously tended to purposely avoid any of the more detailed medical procedures and shied away from graphic footage of childbirth, keeping my questions to myself, happy in blissful ignorance – knowing that some professional would be on hand to take the pressure off me and all I would have to do was squeeze the wife’s hand and say the right things.

As I relaxed I began to ask questions. I began to feel empowered. I began to feel empathy with my wife. Most importantly I began to feel in control. I had based all my prior experience of childbirth on ‘those’ TV programmes, the fly on the wall documentaries and the inevitable gritty dramas. My own previous experiences reflected these ‘grim’ media images in some perverse self-fulfilling prophecy.

I found however that after just one session, I was being given the tools to tear down these misconceptions and that I actually had an important and proactive role to play in the birthing process. I realised just how negative the previous ante-natal classes had been – focusing on pain relief (and overusing the word ‘pain’), risk assessments (in a very risk averse way) and often side-lining the role of the partner as just a friendly face for mum to be in the room and nothing more.

With hypnobirthing I would became a proactive and questioning advocate for my wife, acting as a conduit between her and medical staff. We wrote a birthing plan and gave it to the midwives when the birthing process began. We stuck to the plan – even when challenged by staff. It worked!!! We were in control. I wanted to learn what was going on because I wanted to take an active part in the birth of my child. I did not want to be just a helpless punch bag or a hand to squeeze again – like my experiences before. `

We wanted to enjoy the birth. It’s a natural thing. It’s not a medical emergency, the body is designed to do this. So get involved. Learn. Be positive. Create a calming atmosphere. Have fun writing your birth plan together. Don’t assume that the midwives always know best. Question their advice, refer their comments to your partner but remember Mum knows best. She knows what she needs. Be guided by her and the rhythm of her body and your baby. If there is medical emergency the right people are there to help. She will tell you if this happens.

Forget about what you think you know about childbirth. Clear your mind and start again. Forget pain and negativity and embrace calmness and positivity.

The birth? It was fantastic. I actually had that ‘life changing experience’ that I had missed on the two previous occasions. I was able to live and absorb that moment and welcome my son onto the planet with all my senses and faculties intact.

Thank you

 

If you or your partner are unsure about what hypnobirthing is all about and what classes with us entail then you can find out more at our monthly Introduction to Hypnobirthing Workshops or why not just go ahead and book a full course with us. It will be one of the best investments you will ever make, not just in your birth but in yourselves too.