In an earlier post that I published at the end of my pregnancy, I told about my experiences with hypnobirthing class and what I hoped to achieve with it. Of course, it was not just for fun that I practiced it.. The goal was a smooth labour. Did it help? Was there a difference between labour with hypnobirthing techniques and without them? Today I’ll share my personal conclusions…
I won’t get into the details of my birth story here. But one important thing to share is that it, as probably always with such things, didn’t go as expected or planned. When I thought of my upcoming labour, I liked to picture myself baking cookies, playing with my son, going for a walk while I’d by the way breath through the contractions. Basically being active and relaxed until the midwife would come by, state that – oh glory – I an almost fully dialated and we’d go to the birthing centre to have the most magical water birth. Well, the little lady in my belly thought otherwise, and I had to go to the hospital before I even had one contraction. I felt so bummed at first, but it all turned out really good in the end. Hospitals are more and more equipped to support the birth you want here. So I had my water birth after all and couldn’t be happier with how it all went.
Giving birth is still the most intense and out of this earth experience to me. And I’m glad and thankful I got through it smoothly and naturally for the second time in my life, with the most precious baby as a result. But to get to the part where I used hypnobirthing techniques, here’s my personal experience:
During the first part of labour, I used the breathing techniques a lot to get through the contractions. You learn them with pregnancy yoga as well, so this isn’t something exclusive to hypnobirthing. But whatever you choose to prepare, breathing techniques are always essential. They help you keep your body relaxed end prevent it from getting all tense in reaction to the contractions. Open, relaxed and smooth were the keywords of the affirmations I used. Towards the end, when things got tougher, visualizations and affirmations were my support. It really helped to zoom myself out and to visualize an afternoon at the park. Henrik running around, and holding a baby in my arms. I had often practiced this, so the image of the park and my son running behind a ball was stuck in my mind and offered a place to focus on and find some peace and relxation.
Once I had almost reached the pushing fase, visualizing got more and more difficult. The only thing on my mind was Aaaaaaaaauuuuuttttttchhhhhhh haha. At this point, the counterproductive thoughts started to creep in again: “I can’t do this”, “I need pain medication now!”, “it will never get out”… Only this time, I knew I could do it. And that negative thoughts would potentially only extend what had to happen. And here’s where affirmations helped to get away from the negative thoughts. Thinking I am smooth, open, strong.. And within no time, the mom of another little baby. It’s amazing how the mind controles the body, even in such an extreme situation. And if you practice, you get better at controling your mind and thoughts, which is why I think that hypnobirthing definitely helped me a lot this time. Don’t get me wrong: giving birth is still the toughest thing I’ve ever done. But also the most beautiful and empowering experience. If I can do this, I can do anything. A thought I try to repeat whenever in doubt.
So, my conclusion is that hypnobirthing has definitely helped me throughout labour. The painfree magical labour that the hypnobirthing gurus often preach is still a fairy tale to me to be honest. But using the power of the mind is a tool that I think is most certainly useful and can contribute to a positive birth experience.