Some people believe the philosophy of HypnoBirthing® teaches that birth should look or feel a certain way. Is this true? Is there a “perfect birthing” bar that is set way too high? I do not believe this to be so and the reason for this is the essential key word PRACTICE. As with any other practice we engage in like yoga, learning a another language, dance, or musical instrument the practice of HypnoBirthing® will look different for each woman and baby. I have been teaching HypnoBirthing® for 12 years and have witnessed countless women use their practice of this method to support birthing, each in her own way. I have read and reread Marie Mongan’s, HypnoBirthing® The Mongan Method, throughout my years of teaching. Her message is simple: this practice of relaxation, breathing, deepening and visualization can help in a direct and powerful way to create a “safer, easier, more comfortable birthing.”
In the five-class series, we delve deeply into the philosophy, demonstration and practice of the basic elements Marie Mongan see’s as key to a woman’s positive experience. In addition, the simple and important home practice and lifestyle choices include the following.
Take time each day to love your baby. Prenatal bonding, builds the relationship with our unborn child. What is prenatal bonding and how do we do this? In our fast, busy, modern life prenatal bonding can be as simple as taking mini love breaks throughout the day. These breaks might be 2-3 minutes and may involve mentally sending thoughts or images, talking, singing, or playing with our baby, taking some surge breaths, and practicing a simple relaxation exercise. Taking time for baby not only lets our baby know we love her, but we ourselves recognize baby is already in our lives. Approaching the birth with this strong, bonded connection enables us to birth with the help of our baby and our natural birthing instincts fully engaged.
Choose to create an empowered pregnancy and childbirth. This involves all aspects of pregnancy, nourishing our body, mind and spirit. Awaken as a parent from the moment you choose to become pregnant, or become aware of your pregnancy. Eat healthy, nourishing, organic food, including fresh vegetables and fruit, high quality protein, and adequate calories. Good food along with daily exercise and adequate rest are all very important to ensuring a healthy, strong mother and baby.
Clear the mind of any and all unnecessary thoughts. This involves taking time to review our fears of childbirth and/or parenting and releasing our fears. This is not psyching ourselves out of the fears, but reviewing them, receiving the helpful messages from what our fears may have to tell us, and then turning them 180º. From here we may take action and choose the beliefs that support our intention for a positive birth experience. This also involves releasing any trauma from the past, which may include painful birth experiences, our own birth, our previous childbirths, births we have attended as support people, or stories we have been told by friends, family, or strangers. Why is this important? Our mind can only hold one of any two opposing thoughts at a time. What we focus on is what we create.
Generate a new Birth Vision, which becomes the foundation for the birth experience you are intending. I use the word foundation because it supports our practice, but does not override the birth experience itself. When it is time to birth, we are in the present moment, with our baby, experiencing the birthing as it unfolds in our instinctual body with all of our amazing natural birthing hormones on board.
Create pathways in the mind body for calm and relaxation. Many people today have no sense of what relaxation feels like in their bodies, accustomed to approaching life with their mind alone. Beware of a “trickster” mind-set and mental-chatter! We all have these “coyotes” running and may believe that we can think ourselves through anything. The mind can be very convincing. It does not like to relinquish control under any circumstances. Typical tricks our mind can play include convincing ourselves that there is no need to follow a practice routine, (“I already know how to relax….”), or that practice is unnecessary because we believe in natural living, and therefore natural birthing will be easy for us.
We bring these new mental pathways into being by turning the active, conscious mind off on a daily basis. Marie Mongan makes it very simple: listen to the Rainbow Relaxation daily (a practice cd included with the class materials), and condition the mind to choose relaxation through a series of basic relaxation techniques practiced regularly. The five-class series, taught by certified HypnoBirthing® practitioners, offers additional practice, guided relaxations, and a supportive environment to deepen the practice.
HypnoBirthing® is meant to assist us, to whatever point we are able to take it in our birth experience, and whatever point that is, is perfect for each of us. Dr. Jeffrey Segil an Obstetrician and HypnoBirthing® practitioner in Dover, New Hampshire has said of the women in his practice,
“There is a variable from patient to patient, and we talk about that variable. For some women it may be thinking that they want an epidural even before they step off the elevator. These same women may be able to move to 7, 8, or 9 centimeters before they have an epidural and that is very much a success for them. For some women, it may be that they are concerned and worried about the 2nd stage of labor and HypnoBirthing® is able to help them get through that second stage with ease and comfort. Others already know that they are quite capable of getting through the second stage of labor, but they want something that will help them to remain comfortable and be more relaxed.”
Marie Mongan, originator of HypnoBirthing® The Mongan Method of childbirth education, states that,
“HypnoBirthing® provides a missing link that allows women to use their natural birthing instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birthing.”
This is expressed in each birthing in a unique way.
I believe that with HypnoBirthing® there is no bar. Childbirth is a journey where we meet ourselves in the place of our own creation, to do the work that we have prepared ourselves to do. This preparation is essential. While choosing natural birthing is our birthright, the predominant cultural belief that birth is dangerous is deeply embedded in each of us, making preparation all the more important. There is no right or wrong birth experience. There is no good or bad birthing. There is only our amazing birthing of our wonderful baby.