Ok, time for some hard hitting truths:

I am fed up!  I am fed up with how many negative stories I hear about birth.  I am fed up with how many horror stories I hear about how awful an experience birth was.  I am fed up with how many women (and their partners in some cases) are having to seek help, both physically and mentally to help them process and heal from traumatic births.  All the babies were absolutely fine by the way which, I am obviously glad about, but those poor women are going to have to live with the emotional, mental and psychological fall-out from the birth for the rest of their lives and it makes me want to scream and cry and……well……smash something!

Don’t get me wrong.  I. LOVE. BIRTH! I am a self-confessed birth geek.  I live and breathe birth.  In fact, I love birth so much, I have made it my profession to support others through their births either from an educational point of view or by being at their side, holding their hands and mopping their brows.  I have received countless messages about baby boys and girls being born and have had the privilege to be there as some of those babies have taken in their first views of life outside of the womb.  And still, there are times when I ask myself ‘What is the point?’  ‘What is the point of loving birth and whole-heartedly and passionately believing in it when the majority of the time it turns out to be an unmitigated f*@king disaster?!’

Birth is supposed to be magical and beautiful and calm.  Yes there is pain but it is the pain of our bodies doing something intensely physical and powerful and strong.  Yes there is blood but it is life-giving.  Yes there is noise but they are empowering warrior chants. Yes there is the eventual birth of a healthy baby but so too has there been the birth of an empowered and strong mother………. Well that’s what it should be like, I tell myself, but that is NOT what is happening to far too many new mums that I hear from………and I want to smash something all over again!

Hypnobirthing classes bushey hertfordshire mill hill finchley borehamwood
Hypnobirthing course thank you notes

Then my OH will remind me patiently about all the people whose births have been so positive due to the time they spent with me in my birth preparation classes.  I look at the thank you cards and WhatsApp messages on my phone and I know that it is important that I and others like me who do similar things, continue to do what we do because, as you may have gathered, it’s a bit of a battle out there.

One of the most dangerous things clients can say is they are just going to “go with the flow” for their birth and that they just want the baby to be born healthy.  Let me categorically state that of course, wanting a healthy baby is a given, it’s a no-brainer, nobody would go into this process wanting the unthinkable alternative but YOU MATTER TOO!!!!!

The birth is not the end of something, it is the start of your parenting journey and you therefore NEED to be in the best possible place emotionally and physically and mentally to deal with the ups and downs that a new baby brings.  ‘Going with the flow’ usually results in the situation I have described above. So please, stop this!  Completely abandon that idea of going with the flow – you absolutely can take responsibility for the birth of your baby.

Let me explain.  This does not mean that if something goes wrong, it is your fault.  It is absolutely, categorically, certainly never your fault.  It is down to the fact that the current (well not that current – it’s been around for centuries!) maternity system fundamentally does not support the physiology of birth.  Here are just a few reasons why…

  • Birth is a physiological process just like sex, digesting food, breathing, going to the toilet – in other words necessary for survival – we don’t actually have to think how to do it, our bodies just know. Imagine how difficult it would be to have sex, go to the toilet, digest our food, breathe etc. if we were constantly poked, prodded, instructed and criticised whilst we did those things?……Now think about what often happens in birth?
  • Most of our physiological behaviours (sex, digesting food, breathing, going to the toilet) happens in private, intimate or dimly lit environments – the stress of having to perform usually makes these things far more complicated than they need to be……..Now think about what often happens in birth?
  • Our physiological processes happen in their own time (still talking about sex, digesting food, breathing, going to the toilet!)…no pressure is put on anybody about how long these things should take, they just happen when they happen. Imagine how unpleasant those experiences would be if there was somebody standing over you timing and measuring?……..Now think about what often happens in birth?

This is why it is beyond important that you educate and inform yourself about birth physiology and the conditions that are more likely to encourage your birth hormones and what is likely to hinder them.  (The hormones you produce in birth are not just about the birth, btw, they help get you started on your parenthood journey too – you need them.)

Hypnobirthing education

This is particularly valid when it comes to intervention.

Often intervention is presented as a ‘fait accompli’, as in ‘We suggest *induction/a sweep/breaking your waters/continuous monitoring. (*delete as necessary) ok?’  Yes, they are asking for your consent but that is NOT informed consent.  This often results in, what is known as the cascade of intervention, which often leads to births so far removed from the plan that parents are left traumatised by the whole experience.

This does NOT mean that intervention is always a bad thing – sometimes it is very necessary but in order for you to be able to determine whether this is the case with your situation or you are simply falling victim to ‘the system’ you have to ask questions.

If there is no emergency – and believe me, you would know if there was – you have time to talk.  You have to find out the pros and cons of having the intervention as opposed to not having it.  You have to find out if there are alternatives.  You have to find out if you can leave it for now and see if the situation changes.  It is perfectly ok to consent to an intervention if you feel the pros outweigh the cons but because you have asked the questions, if your baby’s birth ends up being about as far removed from what you had hoped then you ever thought possible, you are far more likely to easily adapt to those changes and still feel extremely positive about the whole experience.

Even if you know from the outset that your birth is going to be more medical, whether from necessity or from choice, by educating and informing yourself on how your body works and what you can do to support it in any circumstance, you are far more likely to have a positive birth experience.

Positive birth experience hypnobirthing

Even if you know from the outset that your birth is going to be more medical, whether from necessity or from choice, by educating and informing yourself on how your body works and what you can do to support it in any circumstance, you are far more likely to have a positive birth experience.

Note, I am not saying ‘vaginal birth’ or ‘water birth’ or even ‘a birth with every drug going’ because it is not about the specific way in which your baby is born it is about how you feel when you look back at your baby’s birthday.

Birth should not be a period of time that has to be ‘got through’.  Birth should not be about ‘hanging your dignity up on the way in and collecting it (or not) on the way out’.  Birth should not be ‘a favourite pub burning down’.

Birth should absolutely, fundamentally, categorically not be traumatic. Just like having sex, digesting food, breathing, going to the toilet shouldn’t be either!

Yes, there should be a healthy baby at the end of it but YOU MATTER TOO!!!!!!!

If you would like to find out more about how I can help educate and inform you then please click here.