Words by Sophie
Hi my name is Sophie and I am a hypnobirthing teacher. If you are considering whether hypnobirthing is for you then I ask that you read this. My story and my own journey to my positive, empowering birth experience. This journey that I have taken has ensured that I believe utterly and completely in the strength of a woman’s body, your ability to own what ever birth you have and the power of your amazing mind.
I see women enter my classes anxious, nervous, or scared and leave feeling POWERFUL, capable, and excited. This is awesome for me, THIS is why I do what I do and it feels incredible.
I wholeheartedly think everyone should have access to hypnobirthing but lots of women (and men) are unsure about it. Unsure what it is, how it would help them or why they NEED extra help if women all over the world birth every day. Let me tell you why we do and how much it helped me (and can do the same for you).
We need things like hypnobirthing to counter act the cycle of fear mongering and negativity that is rife in our society, the media and our brains when it comes to women’s bodies, their abilities, their roles and birth. The lack of trust in women's bodies before they have even begun and (even more damaging) our own mistrust in ourselves.
I wasn’t always so sure of my strength. I WAS that unsure woman I speak of (I did not know hypnobirthing existed first time around – I wish with all my heart I had!)
I want you to use my story as a cautionary tale. I teach hypnobirthing because I want NO woman to feel the way I did. I have learned so much and I want to pass all this and more along to you.
My story could have been so different and this is what makes it so hard to take. Even after my positive and empowering birth second time around I still feel the hurt, guilt, confusion, loss of control and total lack of faith when I think about the events around the birth of my beautiful son.
And he IS beautiful, he is not damaged by what happened like I am. He is blissfully unaware of how he came into this world. I feel guilty even writing things like this. will he read this one day and see my comparison between his birth and the birth of his sister? One lonely (even though I had the same birth partners I had second time), tense, frightening, unnecessarily medical. One strong, instinctive, empowering, supported and totally led by me.
I want to clarify and ease my guilt a little by saying that I birthed my son into the world and he is literally the best thing that happened to me. He made me a mother, he made me grow up from the aimless 20 year old I was and set me on the path that has enabled me to find my way here. How he was born in no way lessens the love I have for him, in some ways it made it fiercer, but it did lessen the love I had for myself. Writing this today is bringing all the feeling back up and once I am done I will have to go lie next to him and hug him tight.
This is what makes birth trauma so awful and confusing and lonely. You have a baby, you have this wonderful, incredible little being who you have grown inside your womb. This little being who has been on this journey with you and has now come earthside. This little being who has changed you.
There is an amazing quote which I always cry a little when I read.
‘ Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ‘
― Elizabeth Stone
You have joy, celebration and wonder but you also have this pain, shock and growing mistrust in your body mixed in that dulls everything and make the down days very very dark.
It was such a confusing time. I did not fully realise exactly how much of what I was feeling was as a result of what had happened.
I hated myself, which is harsh but true. I literally felt ashamed of what I was and how my body had changed. I avoided going out in case anyone would see me and I had huge social anxiety.
Was everyone judging me?
I looked at photos of myself holding my beautiful son and all I could see was me. I felt disgusted at myself, my confidence was rock bottom and I bounced between wanting to starve myself thin to eating a whole bag of cookies in a depressed binge.
Time passed and all those who were caring, talking, and supporting me went back to their own lives, another life event happens and attention is directed elsewhere. All the while behind closed doors my mask slipped and I was not coping.
Anxiety reared its head. One episode I spent two weeks of nights entwining myself round my sons arm while he slept next to me in case a sink hole opened up under the house and he would fall in alone. This was the up and down cycle I was in.
It contributed to damaging my relationship (luckily not beyond repair) and after a fair bit of time had passed nature took over, a wish for another child. Could I test my body again?
I looked around at all these women everywhere birthing positively and resolved that it would be me. I had heard of hypnobirthing now and I knew I wanted to do it. I felt that anxiety and fear rearing its head again whenever I thought about what I would need to do to get my baby and needed to quash this.
I started my course and something amazing happened. I felt calmer, I felt free. Talking with my partner about what had happened and how I, and he, felt about our first birth had taken a huge weight off my shoulders. I saw that what had happened with Felix hadn’t been my fault at all! It had been getting caught in a system I had no idea how to navigate (or even that I would have to navigate). And this was like oxygen to me, I needed to know this as I still saw it all as my fault.
Finding out every piece of information, putting together the puzzle and understanding how I could help stack the odds in my favour was invaluable to me. And the tools and techniques were utterly life changing.
I felt, for the first time, like I could totally do it and this feeling grew and grew the more I learned and the more I practiced. The closer I got the more calm and focused I felt and I felt so amazing and in tune with my body before I had even birthed Esther.
It was truly the best thing I have ever done. Hypnobirthing changed my life in so many different ways and motivated me to try to be the best version of myself.
Yes I still feel anxious sometimes, I feel fear, I feel down ,I have insecurities. I am human. But I feel awe and wonder when I think about what I am capable of and I know how well designed I am. I can do anything I set my mind to.
I now run Kent Hypnobirthing and hold classes full of women just like me, I love what I do and the powerful journey women travel upon to birth their babies. We are myself, Christy and Katy and if you would like to find out about what we do and the classes we teach head here. For more positive birth vibes, empowerment and information come and join our facebook group Calm Birth Kent; Birth, Breastfeeding and Beyond!