What is Hypnobirthing and How Is It Changing my Mindset?

{Photo credit: Alex Hockett, unsplash.com}

In the shortest way possible, hypnobirthing is a method of pain management that can be used during birth and labor. It aims to make the experience as natural and enjoyable as it can be for the birthing mother.

I was initially introduced to this term through my midwife and to be honest, I had zero idea of what it was about. She mentioned we should consider taking some prep courses with Barış, before our baby’s due date and suggested a 5-week hypnobirthing program that was also held at the same location. It sounded convenient and we really had no preparation at all other than the books we are reading (1 each!) so I figured I should take action on this.

First hypnobirthing class

The first session of the 5-week program was on the week we would be away for our babymoon, so I asked Liliana if we could do a make-up class before we left. We met with her on February 12 for our first session and that was truly the first time we understood what the whole program and method was about. We knew it would help us prepare in a way, but at the same time didn’t know how. It ended up being exactly what I felt I needed.

Since Barış and I are new to the Canadian health system and feel anxious about what to expect on the day of birth, I felt that I needed to calm down, let go and trust that I can do this here. Back home, birth is handled much differently: everyone gives birth at hospitals, with doctors (sometimes multiple) and it’s very common to use medications or go for c-section option. Since starting to see my midwife and reading about birth in North America, I’ve realized it’s much different here and the preference is to go with natural birth unless there’s a complication or special circumstance. No matter how much I like this idea, I needed to change my mindset and shift how I think about birth to bring some peace to my mind.

What is hypnobirthing and how is it changing my perception of birth?

What hypnobirthing classes have done for me so far is exactly that shift of mindset and I’m really grateful about this. One of the first things we talked about was our vision and perception of birth, as well as the first words that came to our mind when we thought of birth. This was a very interesting exercise, because we noticed (all 4 participants) that we instantly think of a woman screaming in pain and these were the words that it brought to mind: contraction, pain, panic, chaos. Everything we see in the movies. 🙂

Do you notice that none of these words are pleasant? Nor do they reflect the joy and beauty of birth?

After this exercise, we discussed the physical reactions these words create in our bodies – tension in our jaw, shoulders, tightened abs, etc. We agreed to use our awareness about these reactions to release any preconceived ideas we had about birth. When we replace these words with a totally different terminology, it also helps our mind to think of them in a different and positive way. Does it make you feel any different when you replace the word ‘contraction’ with ‘wave’? For me it totally does!

The words we use are so powerful…

I’d also like to share some of the memorable things I took note of during our first two sessions:

Understanding hypnobirthing as a philosophy

  • With birth, we’re not asking the body to do something that it’s not fit for.
  • We aim to be present and do what the moment calls for.
  • Hypnobirthing guides you to tap into the innate ability that is within you so you can go through birth in a positive journey.
  • You’re not on the side watching things happen TO YOU – it is happening WITH YOU.
  • Mind has another way but our bodies have another route. We’ll aim to focus and manage our minds.
  • You need to trust and accept your birth journey and accept any detours.
  • We tend to separate our birthing muscles from any other muscles in our body. Yet our birthing muscles know what to do just like all the other muscles in our body.

After the first session, we continued to talk about different aspects of birth, as well as learning and practicing different breathing techniques that will support us during labor.

We still have a few more classes to go and much practice is needed! But I am really happy about the way this technique (or maybe philosophy in a sense) is helping me to change my perception about birth. I find myself becoming more confident in myself, my body and baby’s capabilities and that we can make this a less fearful and more pleasant experience for the both of us.

If you’re interested in learning more about hypnobirthing and how it can help, let me know in the comments and we can perhaps do a video with Liliana to share more about the topic and how you can find hypnobirthing classes where you live!

If you’re expecting, you might also find my Top 6 Pregnancy Essentials post to be helpful!

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