I was always drawn to positive thinking and believed that the mind could control the body. In 2011 I took a training course in hypnobirthing and was blown away. I had no idea that visualisation and imagery would be able to direct a mother’s birth towards something empowering and calm. I mean, have you ever seen a woman on screen calmly giving birth? Birth is scary, painful and difficult, right? Wrong.
I learnt that birth could, for the most part, be how you perceive it to be. So if you see it as painful and difficult then it probably would be. Your muscles, heart rate and physical body, stiffen up when you feel scared. But if you direct your thoughts of birth by working through your fears and anxiety, and by building on thinking positively, focusing on your breath and consciously creating an ideal in your mind then you are more likely to have a birth more beautiful than you’ve ever witnessed on TV. When you are able to eliminate the fears, your body doesn’t respond in a fight or flight reaction, therefore your heart rate is calm and your muscles are at ease, allowing an easier passage of birth.
Let me tell you my story.
My third baby was a homebirth (in South Africa). I focused on positive stories, meditation and breathing throughout my pregnancy and felt that birth was something to look forward to; a sacred and special time that was up to me to plan and create. Just like we have plans for our weddings, gatherings and birthday parties, we plan it to perfection to ensure it will be joyous and memorable and then it happens similarly. I planned for having my doula, midwife and family present. I planned what I’d use as comfort measures and I discussed this with my caregivers. I did moan and groan as I gave birth. I also felt the ring of fire and there was a time I felt I couldn’t go on, but I was already giving birth, feeling fully supported and aware of the process, using my breath to bring me back to my ideal. And before I could think more about pain and discomfort I had already delivered my baby boy and was holding him against my chest.
My birth using hypnotherapy was my best birth. It was the birth all my friends thought I was crazy to have before it happened. And yet four years later I still look back on it as one of the most incredible days of my life. It fills me with awe, it lifts me up on days I feel down and on days I question my abilities. My birth has boosted my confidence as a woman and a mother. It has influenced all spheres of my life in ways that I will always be grateful for. It set a foundation for me to confidently parent and live my life by applying the same concepts to other aspects of my life.
Being a teacher of hypnobirthing and a doula, I believe in being real while being positive. That means we need to be aware of the realities of birth, all kinds, and the possibility of unforeseen circumstances. The utopia of birth would be an image of a woman in physical bliss while birthing or almost looking dreamy and sleepy as she delivers her baby. But this utopia may be far out of reach and therefore seem too improbable. So when people ask me about hypnobirthing and whether it helps to feel no pain or, on the contrary, pleasure, I’d say that hypnobirthing is a self-development journey. It teaches you to think positively and be able to accept whatever is out of your control. It empowers you to take charge of one of your most memorable times in your entire life by creating beautiful imagery and therefore becoming conscious of making your ideals your reality. Each person’s ideal and the reality they want will be different, and that’s the beauty. We all create what’s best for us. It need not resemble anyone else’s experience.< Back