2 years ago, one of my close friends told me she was pregnant. I was thrilled and excited for her, but something didn't seem quite right. She was very quiet about it and although she was obviously pleased about her pregnancy, she didn't really want to talk about it much.
I offered a couple of times throughout her pregnancy to do a free hypnobirthing course for her and her husband but she always said she'd think about it but didn't think it was for her.
She had been really quiet about all things relating to the birth and whenever we talked about it as a group of friends, she would just shut down and said she couldn't bear to think about it.
She clearly had a lot of fear that I knew would impact her massively if she didn't deal with it so I had a quiet work with her a few weeks before her due date. Once more, she said she couldn't bear to think or talk about birth and politely declined my offer.
I was really worried for her and also really sad that she didn't want my help. I knew how beneficial it would have been for her to really arm herself with the knowledge and skills that I could have given her. But I respected her wishes and didn't mention birth again.
A couple of weeks later she announced the birth of her beautiful baby and I was thrilled for her. She was going to make a great mum and I couldn't wait to meet her little girl. But as the congratulations and questions started popping up on our whatsapp group, it became apparent that the birth had not been a positive experience for her.
She still hasn't told us all the details but she ended up with a lot of intervention, and with an emergency caesarean birth. She really felt like her birth was out of her control, she had a long stay in hospital and a long recovery time. This impacted hugely on her life as a new mum, and my heart really hurt for her. It still does. No woman should have to suffer a traumatic birth experience.
Sadly, I know that she probably feels vindicated in not preparing for her birth. She feels like there was no point because it went exactly the way she had feared it would.
But what she doesn't realise, is how much the fear that she was holding onto impacted her birth.
The fear manifested itself as tension in her body, meaning the muscles of her uterus and cervix weren't able to work effectively. The tension meant that she felt each contraction so much more acutely. The fear caused lots of adrenaline to be produced, which in turn meant she produced less of the other important birthing hormones, the ones that would have helped her stay calm, in control and feel less pain.
All the fears she was holding onto meant her birth became a self-fulfilling prophecy. That it turned out exactly how she'd imagined. She had buried her head in the sand and now felt vindicated.....there was obviously no point in preparing for birth because birth is awful and there was nothing she could have done to change it.
But what she still doesn't realise is that there were so many things she could have done to change the course of her birth.
She could have understood the impact all that fear could have on her body's physiological birth process, and ways to deal with it.
She could have learnt what was going to happen to her at each stage of labour and some coping mechanisms to deal with it all.
She could have been told about the importance of helping baby get into a good position for birth, increasing the chances of a smoother birth with less intervention.
She could have practiced some simple relaxation techniques to use throughout pregnancy and labour to allow her to work with her body, allow the physiological processes to happen automatically instead of tensing up and fighting her body every step of the way.
We will probably never discuss all of this and she may never know what a difference my course could have made to her experience. I'm not saying that if you do my course you won't need any intervention, and I'm not promising you a straightforward, easy or pain free birth. But what I can promise is that you will have all the skills and knowledge you need to stack all the odds in your favour for a shorter, smoother birth, one where you are in control and one that you look back on with pride and amazement. Now, doesn't that sound good?
If you have been burying your head in the sand, trying not to think about birth, hoping for the best but also dreading the worst then please, please contact me. We can have a free chat about how I can help you and you will immediately feel lighter and more in control. We can come up with a plan for how you will deal with labour and who knows, you may even start to look forward to it ;)
To arrange your free chat with me, please click here.
My next group one day hypnobirthing courses are Saturday 7th October and Saturday 4th November, 9.30am-5pm all held in Cardiff and are the perfect way to prepare for your positive birth experience.