A little over two months ago I had my second baby, a beautiful and healthy boy (read his birth story here). Before his birth I had decided that I wanted to deliver him without any type of drugs. Call me crazy but I wanted to see if I could do it. If I, like millions of other women all over the world, could have my baby naturally. For my first baby we took the hospital’s birthing class, which was basically a Lamaze class. I ended up having an epidural, which was wonderful. However I was frustrated with my slow recovery and not being able to get up and walk for such a long time.
This time, at the urging of my wonderful midwife, I signed up for a Hypnobirthing class. Now, don’t be freaked out by the name. I think this class would be better titled, Using Your Body and Mind Together to Have a Baby, because that’s really what I learned.
Hypnosis has been exploited by the media and entertainers. In true hypnosis the patient is in complete control, they cannot be made to cluck like a chicken or eat an onion like an apple unless they decide that they want to do that. Hypnosis is really just a relaxed state of concentration; when your mind is so focused on one thing you don’t notice other things. For example when my husband is fully absorbed in a task and I talk to him, he will answer with nods and “uh-huhs” but he really doesn’t hear anything I’m saying. Or have you ever been so absorbed in a really good book that you don’t notice the commotion your children are causing until they’ve hauled water out of the toilet into the bathtub and are now bathing their dollys? (Yes that did really happen!) These are examples of hypnosis. Really it’s that simple!
Through the hypnobirthing class I learned just how amazingly powerful and complex our brains are. Though our body is equiped with sensors to communicate messages to our brain (pain, discomfort, hunger, craving, etc) our brain has the option of choosing how to interpret and respond to those messages. In hypnobirthing I learned how to translate contractions and labor not as painful and something to simply endure, but as helpful, meaningful, and something to embrace and work with. Some women claim that they don’t feel any pain during their hypnobirth delivery. I can’t said that I was pain-free, but my contractions and delivery were drastically less uncomfortable (and drug-free!) than my first delivery.
I could share lots more about my experience and what I learned through hypnobirthing. Instead let me just say I felt that it was well worth the time and money for the class and that you get from this technique what you are willing to put into it. If you are willing to try something a little different and even a little bit hokey sounding (I had friends tease me about my birthing option) and if you are willing to practice before your delivery you’ll fare well. If you are eager to deliver your next child naturally and in a calm and relaxed environment, I would encourage you to consider hypnobirthing.