I’m not pregnant. I haven’t had a baby. Yet hypnobirthing has changed my life.
As part of my application to university, I needed to gain some work experience in midwifery – mostly to give my application a boost, but also to see if midwifery was really something I was passionate about. Short answer – yes it definitely is!
I was fortunate enough to observe and take part in a full hypnobirthing course with the Positive Hypnobirthing Company. First of all I would like to say a massive thank you to Jacque, Becca and Jo for inviting me in, and to all the mums and dads who allowed me to be part of their classes and ask them lots of questions!
I’ve always been interested in the ethos behind the hypnobirthing movement – that the “event” of pregnancy and birth is still too medicalised and should return to being a normal, natural physiological process; and that women don’t feel they are being supported or ‘allowed’ to labour and birth in a way that works for them – the doctor says do this so you do it.
While of course I have no actual training yet, and I haven’t been pregnant or given birth myself, I get the impression from mothers and in many things I have read that there are too many unnecessary inductions and interventions, and too much reliance on charts and measurements – big baby/small baby, x cm dilation in x hours and the like.
And all of this drives The Fear. The fear of pain, the fear baby is “too big”, the fear of tearing, the fear of something going wrong, the fear of being a bad parent.
The fear of not being able to do it.
It’s this last one that applies to me. I’ve always been an anxious person, an overthinker who dreams of every eventuality, and then overanalayses the outcome to the point where I don’t do things at all for fear of failure. I think that’s why I waited so long to do midwifery – I was afraid of failing or not being good enough, when I hadn’t even tried.
And this is why hypnobirthing has changed my life. The course taught me how to manage my fear and anxiety, using mechanisms to ground myself and also to believe in myself. It’s given me the belief that I can be a midwife, that I can take on whatever challenges are thrown at me and I will make my way through them.
Mostly, the course has cemented in my mind what kind of midwife I want to be.
I want to be a midwife that advocates for women, gives them options, respects their choices and supports them through their journey so that they can have the best experience possible.
I want to be a midwife that empowers women to believe they can give birth, and take away these elements of fear.
I want to be a midwife that women want to come back to, time after time.
I want to be a midwife that is not afraid to challenge current practice, to improve women’s experiences. I want to transform the culture of pregnancy and birth from one of fear to one of love.
You have to be the change you want to make.
I don’t care if you give birth with no pain relief, with all the pain relief, in a pool, in a hospital, by elective cesarean or in the woods surrounded by woodland creatures from Snow White – as long as you had options, they were respected and you were supported.
To anyone who is thinking about hypnobirthing, go for it. Hypnobirthing will give you and your birthing partner the tools to use your natural abilities to bring about safer, easier, and more comfortable birthing experience. For those studying midwifery, I encourage you all to attend a course as part of your training or your own pregnancy – it may just help you in other aspects of life too.
Kat Skeates is a (soon to be) student midwife, studying at Canterbury Christ Church University