Words by Sophie, beautiful image from Hannah Bullivant
Ok so I wanted to address a myth that hypnobirthing has been guilty of spreading. This is that birth is easy. That every single women, if SHE practices calmness, relaxation and breathing and fully focusses on having a calm, easy birth will have just that. The method of Hypnobirthing I followed when I first trained even says that a birthing woman can choose how long her labour will be.
This is setting up so many women to fail when they are actually doing a brilliant job!
I was lucky, I had a fantastic Hypnobirthing teacher who shared the story of her long positive labour which showed me that how long your labour takes is not an issue to be worried over and positive birth takes many different forms. I am also a bit more of a realist- I believed it would give me confidence in my body. And it did. I loved that I understood exactly what was happening.
I knew that my experience of birth first time around could have been so different with the information I was armed with during my second pregnancy BUT I didn’t expect myself to be silent and calm in the quiet sense. I even said this to my partner when we discussed it. I had the benefit of this being my second experience and so I had my eyes open to what I could be like during birth but this can still be the same if it is your first experience.
For this exact reason it is so SO important to choose your teacher wisely- whether this is a course or a book- you have to be aligned with what they are teaching and a comment as seemingly small and positive as ‘birth is easy’ is so damaging to those who find that it is not so.
My second birth was SO positive, amazing and empowering but it was not easy. It took strength and power. It took me to the very brink of what I thought I was capable of and WOW what was I capable of. I am in awe of what I did. I am so proud of myself, I am so proud of what I achieved and what my body can do.
I can shout from the rooftops that I LOVE being a woman. I am so thankful that I get to experience this.
So back to this myth that birth is easy. Totally for some women, you can read their stories all over the internet and I have taught some of them but it is important to remember that there are many for whom birth was not so easy. They had to change their plans, sometimes ending up with births that go so far from where they thought they would go but this is ok. This is not something to be afraid of. As a woman you are capable of so much, you have so many things (amazing things I might add) that just work to grow, birth and nurture your baby (or babies).
Saying that birth is easy belittles women and their power. It undermines what I did to bring Esther and Felix into this world. And yes you have to practice calming, relaxing techniques, you have to listen to your MP3’s and focus on your dream birth (aim for the gold medal!). All of these things help our bodies and minds to be ok, comfortable and accepting of what we do during birth.
They change fear to confidence, worry to calm and negativity to positivity. And THIS is what has the power to change how you FEEL when you experience birth not focusing on choosing how long your birth is (I am sorry we have no control over that) or that it is easy.
For some of you it might be, it might be short, it might be long, you might not realise you are in labour, you might have a sense that you are days before. You might want to be in the pool, you might not. You might want to use aromatherapy, you might want to have a playlist of music or listen to your MP3’s. You might want silence. You might be quiet or you might roar like a lioness.
Its ALL ok, there is no failing at birth. All birth is birth. We are all totally unique, as are our babies and so it is right that birth is the same. What we can do is focus on reducing the fear we are conditioned to have about our bodies and birth. We can learn an amazing hypnobirthing toolkit. We can become connected with what we are going to be doing and learn ways we can help our body to function as nature intends. But it is important to remember that some women do need, or want extra help or intervention and THAT IS OK. This is still birth and why we have this medical help- the key thing is to gain information and ways of ensuring that things only happen if they are necessary or you want them. This is why we teach the course to you AND your birth partner so you can also be supported by them and be on the same page!
This is why I teach The Calm Birth Method because using this method and my own experiences and information encourages you to take your power back into your hands so that you can learn to trust yourselves, your bodies and the process of birth. Feeling confident, seeing that birth is a natural, normal event and yes unpredictable but that by controlling what you can and understanding what you actually NEED to birth your babies you can be empowered. Ensuring that you feel supported before, during and after so no matter what happens you feel prepared, positive and like you totally have this!
If you wanted to talk to us more about this, or find out more about our classes come look at our website here or drop us an email here! For more positive birth vibes from us come join our facebook group Calm Birth Kent; Birth, Breastfeeding and Beyond!