Bianca, a hypnobirthing trained practitioner gives us the low down on this holistic approach to an antenatal course. She explains the fact that is isn’t about “achieving a candle-lit home, water-birth, this is about feeling you have accomplished the most amazing and life-affirming experience in the birth of your baby”. Sounds so good that we welcomed her guest blog for Sareta Fontaine.
Is that a real job? Yes! Do you just teach women who want an airy-fairy water birth? No! Isn’t that just for hippy mums? No! Do you teach women who have hospital births or just home births? Yes, hospital, home, natural, with epidurals, c-sections and everything in-between. That’s pretty much the list of questions I get asked when I tell people what I do, or from (usually) birth partners when I meet some of my couples for a cuppa before my course.
Hypnobirthing took over my life just over a year ago. I knew that after boy number one I wanted something different from the medicalised hospital birth I’d experienced last time. It wasn’t awful, traumatic or the worst experience of my life, I just knew I wanted something different. So off I went with the hubby in tow to take a hypnobirthing class at 26 weeks. By his own admission he didn’t think I’d be able to let myself go enough to really get the benefits out of it but like a woman possessed, I was determined to do it. And I did, I got the birth I’d wanted. I know 100% that I achieved this with the hypnobirthing tools I was given and had practised during my pregnancy.
As a society, we are conditioned with the expectation from our own birth that childbirth will be the most pain that a woman will experience in her life. We are told in the bible that Eve’s punishment was painful childbirth (catholic school will never leave me!). When we watch the TV and see a woman writhing and screaming in agony while giving birth isn’t that just reaffirming what we already know? When we’re told to watch One Born Every Minute to prepare ourselves aren’t we just compounding the knowledge we already have? So when we prepare for our own baby’s birth aren’t we just following that expectation of pain and agony? And when we go through this experience, don’t we just love to share it with anyone who’ll listen?! A big part of my course is encouraging women to avoid the negatives that surround birth and focus on the positives. Watching positive birth videos, following amazing networks like The Positive Birth Movement and asking people to refrain from telling you their horror stories and being forceful with your response when they carry on talking! These positive births are out there for women to see, they’re just not TV worthy because they’re not dramatic.
Do antenatal classes really give us the information that is actually going to help us during labour? Well, there are a lot of different versions out there now and it’s amazing that there’s so much choice. However, traditionally they give us the sanitised facts; these are the available drugs, these are the positions you might want to use, this is what a ventouse looks like, this is how you put a nappy on – but are they really all the tools we need to take us on the journey of childbirth? So many mums that I talk to say that they felt totally prepared for childbirth. They’d been to the antenatal classes, they’d read all the books, they’d spoken to lots of other mums about their births but they still didn’t achieve the birth they hoped for. So what is the element that so many mums feel was missing? The first thing I like to point out to my couples is that Hypnobirthing is actually a very logical way of looking at birth, grounded in science. If we know and understand what our body is doing during birth it allows us to eliminate any associated fear that we have lingering around from the years horror stories we’ve heard. If we don’t come to a place of relaxation and confidence in ourselves, our baby and our caregivers, our brains will automatically fall back on those tales of pain, agony and fear that we’ve lived with for so many years when we go into the unknown experience of childbirth. If we are anxious and scared, our neocortex will be in charge and we will be in a state of fight or flight. Nobody ever felt relaxed when they were running for their lives!
So, as a hypnobirthing teacher what I teach are relaxation methods that can enable women to detach the modern-woman brain so they can let their primal-woman brain take over. Childbirth is a basic, primal experience and every birthing woman should feel hugely empowered by it.
I provide the tools to overcome any fears and lingering negativities about birth. By flooding our brains with facts and positivity we CAN overcome them.
And it’s not all about the mums, I provide birth partners a clear role in the process. This allows them an amazing way of bonding and also gives them a responsibility in the birthing process. It can also keep them busy and help to stop them from pacing the halls!
I just want all of my couple to have an amazing, empowering and life-affirming birth and I will always shed a tear when I see the first pictures of the newest hypnobaby.
*All thoughts and opinions remain the authors own and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments of Sareta Fontaine.