Although I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology, I never expected that my love of the mind would lead me to become a childbirth educator. Toward the end of my first pregnancy, I began to get very nervous about labor. As quickly as excitement had surpassed my nerves as I entered the second trimester, the third trimester brought an entirely new type of concern to mind- LABOR! I feared the pain. I feared an epidural. I feared the unknown. When I tried to discuss my concerns with my provider in an effort to gain support and information, I was met with a matter-of-fact statement that “birth is painful and [I] would be given an epidural early on, and [I] would have a ‘text-book delivery.’” Well, I guess that addressed my fear of the unknown since he clearly knew exactly what MY birth would be like, but what about the rest? I knew enough to know that I couldn’t get an epidural at the first twinge of pain. I knew I wanted to stay home as long as possible, so I wouldn’t get sent home by triage at the hospital. I knew that epidurals had side-effects and sometimes did not work (thanks to the shared experience of some good friends). Most of all, I knew that I did not like the answer I received. My doctor had dismissed my fears and my preferences as though I was a bug that he could squash. Didn’t he realize that this was going to be the biggest, most life changing experience of my life and something that I would never forget?!
I began doing my own research for childbirth pain relief methods, and after much investigation, I chose to take a Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis course. All I can say is that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I learned the benefits and risks of tests and procedures that were commonly performed during pregnancy and birthing, and I learned that I had options. Most importantly, I learned that I was in charge of my body, my baby, and my birth, and it was my right to make decisions about these things. Of course, even with all that I learned, I did not have any medical knowledge or birthing experience, so I knew I needed a medical care provider on my team that I could trust. Hypnobabies gave me the confidence I needed to switch providers in my third trimester, and I was able to find an amazing team of midwives that supported my preferences, took time to listen to me, and answered my questions.
In addition to the invaluable information about childbirth and the empowering knowledge about my rights as a consumer, Hypnobabies taught me how to use medical grade hypnosis to remain calm and comfortable throughout my birthing time. I studied the mind for many years, but I never realized its power until I used hypnosis for childbirth. Before taking Hypnobabies, I had doubts about whether hypnosis would actually help me to have a comfortable, un-medicated birth. I signed up for the class with the idea that it couldn’t hurt and would probably at least help me stay comfortable for as long as possible before I would need medication for pain. Once I began the class, I committed to it. I believed it would work. I heard amazing accounts of wonderful births and saw videos of serene births. I decided that was what I wanted, and I put all of my mental focus into visualizing a comfortable and peaceful birthing time. I read my class materials, I went to my classes and absorbed the information like a sponge. I did my home-play, and I really enjoyed listening to my tracks and practicing my hypnosis every night. I began to look forward to my birth. I told my husband I felt like an athlete training for a big sporting event. After completing Hypnobabies, I felt prepared, and I was ready and excited to “nail my birth.” And I DID! I had a peaceful, comfortable, EMPOWERING birth. Then two and a half years later, I did it again!
The way I felt about myself after I advocated for myself and my babies during my pregnancies and birthing times, as well as the way I felt about my body after experiencing my births are the reasons I love Hypnobabies. I became a Hypnobabies Certified Hypnosis Instructor because I want to share this program with others. It is my goal to help other women realize their powers: the power of their minds to create positive outcomes in pregnancy, in birth, and in their lives, the power of their bodies to grow, birth, and nourish life, and the power of knowledge and confidence to advocate for themselves and their babies.
MA, HCHI, HCHD
Photo credit: Little Nest Portraits (Montclaire, NJ)