by: Cathy

This is my first pregnancy and on the day of our 12wk booking appointment, my husband Mike & I weren’t sure what to expect. We were really excited about the scan and didn’t really think about much else. We had a first meeting with the midwife and she was really thorough in letting us know about all the forthcoming classes that were available to us. One of which was Hypnobirthing. The title of the Hypnobirthing classes leaflet read ‘For a calm birthing experience’, so even though I didn’t know anything about it, I thought “why not”. I’m 35 and have heard lots of labour horror stories over the years, so I think a desire to rid myself of subconscious fears was drawing me to it!

The classes ran over 4 weeks, every Tuesday evening, and both Mike and I attended with a few other couples. It was run by a midwife who had been specially trained in hypnobirthing. I was really pleased when one of the first things she said was that hypnobirthing was not about making people feel bad about using pain control or having an epidural or a c-section. From what I’d heard from friends with children, labour was no picnic and they’d all mentioned epidurals, c-sections, gas, etc. So I was somewhat sceptical about anything that seemed to be about a purely natural method of delivery.

I soon learned the facts. Hypnobirthing is about the practice of breathing and relaxation techniques, which enhance our natural ability to give birth and remain in control. It’s built on the philosophy that birth is a natural physiological process. When we’re relaxed, when we trust in our ability to give birth and when fear is not dominating our thoughts, labour can be safe, quicker and very manageable.

Over the course of the 4 weeks our eyes were opened and we learned so much, not only about the practice of hypnobirthing, but of the whole birthing experience itself. As I mentioned we were definitely sceptical and a little anxious at the beginning as this was the first pregnancy-type class either of us had ever been to. I think sometimes these things can be even more daunting for men and Mike was certainly nervous initially! But by the last class, our scepticism was gone. We’d seen many video examples of successful hypnobirths, understood the science behind it and I’d felt the effects of the relaxation tools & techniques we’d learned.

We both feel a lot more confident now about the upcoming birth. Of course it’s still the unknown and a bit daunting, but the fear isn’t half what it was. I’m listening to the hypnobirthing CD most nights and we’re practicing the other relaxation techniques every now and then. Ultimately we just want to ensure the safe delivery of our baby, so we’ll do whatever the hospital recommends at the time. But hypnobirthing has given us the confidence to hopefully make informed decisions, to feel more positive about it and to trust my body to do the job it’s built to do. Whatever happens, I’ve no doubt that hypnobirthing will help us all through the birthing experience.

Some useful resources to find out more: http://www.hypnobirthingleinster.ie/   http://holisticbirthprep.com/birth-stories