Your labour. Your choice.
Growing up we're fed the dream to fall in love, marry and have kids, cheers Disney! That's kind of what I had in mind, but there was one stumbling block.
As strong as it was, my desire for a family was rivalled with my fear of giving birth. I absolutely dreaded it. I don’t do pain. How the hell would I push a human being out of me?!
Five months into my first pregnancy I discovered “hypnobirthing”. It is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Although I’m 6ft tall, I didn’t realise I would have such a big baby (naive or what?).
Hypnobirthing enabled me to listen, relax and breathe my baby out. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt. It really hurt. But I went into it fearless. I had already achieved the impossible and was ready to take on the world.
Now I’m no earth mother; I don’t dance around trees or burn incense sticks. I am just a woman who is always up for a challenge and embraces anything, including hypnobirthing. I really threw myself into it. Let’s face it, reading a book and practising a couple of times at home doesn’t really cut it. You need to fully immerse into a course as a couple, take home what you’ve learnt, and integrate it into your everyday life.
Hypnobirthing starts with a scientific approach – when we fear something the human body goes into fight, flight or freeze mode. This means our blood rushes to the arms to punch and the legs to run. But if we are relaxed, our blood and muscles work as they should do. With your rational cap on, you realise that the female body is designed to give birth, the uterus muscles are designed to push the baby out. If we are relaxed, this process can happen naturally. Geddit?
Unfortunately though, our fretful society still has an alarming amount of unnatural births. Unnatural births cost the NHS millions each year. An epidural costs the NHS over £700 and a Caesarean section costs the NHS over £1,700 with mothers staying in hospital for days after. Trust me, when you’ve had the baby no matter how unwell you feel, all you want to do is get home.
It’s no surprise then, that I harp on to anyone and everyone about birth choices. Mothers have a choice, they can listen to the horror stories and dread their labour or they can embrace relaxation techniques and own it.
The only stumbling block I found is that many expecting parents can’t justify the cost of a hypnobirthing course (mine was £250). Especially when there’s so many other things to buy in preparation for the little one’s arrival.
What many people don't realise though, is that the skills learnt on your hypnobirthing course are transferable skills for life. It was only the other day my husband couldn't sleep after falling into a bush of stinging nettles (I know - let's not go there!) and asked if I could put on the hypnobirhting MP3. Ultimately, it's a relaxation dialogue to relax your body and relax your mind. Who wouldn't benefit from that?!
For expectant mothers, if we can increase the amount of positive births, either at home or through relaxation techniques, imagine what we can achieve. Women will make wise decisions, they will gain control and they will have a positive outlook on their birthing experience - no matter the outcome. Just imagine what that can do to society. Giving birth will no longer be feared. It will be something we enjoy, something we look forward to and something we can be thankful for. Thank god I am a woman! It’s a new age of empowered women – we’ve got this ladies!