Recently we celebrated pregnancy and motherhood at our big Love Your Belly event in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. I invited my Hypnobirthing Instructor, Caryn Bird, of Win With Hypnosis to join us. To my delight she accepted my invitation and had a booth at our event to help spread awareness. It was so great to see her after so many years!
Let me tell you about how I stumbled across hypnobirthing in the first place.
Just after marrying my husband we felt the urge to be adventurous so we moved to California. About a year after our move I decided to pursue a career in academia, teaching at the college level. I needed further education to make this goal a reality so I applied to Graduate School at UCLA and started my Master’s Program that next fall. During this time I was taking a lot of linguistics classes. One of the them required me to work with a partner on a project exploring alternative language. The girl I paired up with was a native Californian who suggested we choose hypnobirthing for our topic.
I had never even heard of it and honestly thought she was pretty “out there” and a typical “Californian.”
However, after she took some time to explain it to me I have to admit I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I learned that it’s a practice using meditation, breathing, and visualization that allows you to relax deeply during child birth. This way of preparing for welcoming your child into the world breaks the fear-pain cycle that is so common with modern pregnancy and childbirth and in return reduces the pain you feel in the process.
In a nutshell, fear brings about a primal fight or flight response causing our bodies to release stress hormones, which depletes blood flow to the uterus causing pain.
By replacing fear with relaxation oxytocin, endorphines, and labor hormones called prostaglandins combine to relax the muscles progressing labor quicker and with significantly less pain.
A big part of hypnobirthing is keeping a positive mindset and simply not allowing yourself to fear giving birth. Nobody prepares you for it but everyone wants to tell you their horror childbirth stories as soon as you start showing that you’re pregnant. This is where alternative language (and our project) came in.
When practicing hypnobirthing you are to replace words such as “contraction” and “pain” with “surge” and “sensation.” You are also instructed to politely ask people to refrain from telling negative birth stories in your presence (when they inevitably start).
After graduating with my master’s degree and moving back to Wisconsin I got pregnant with our first child. I knew I wanted a natural birth and decided to try hypnobirthing first-hand as a means to my goal. That’s when I reached out to Caryn. She taught us the skills I needed to succeed and I’m forever grateful for the birth experience I had. I won’t go so far as to say I had a pain-free birth but I know the discomfort I did feel was greatly reduced because of hypnobirthing. Hunter was born four days after my due date, a healthy 10 lb. 2 oz. baby.
Though I prefer a natural birth I am so thankful that we do have interventions when needed. My twins would not be here today if we didn’t. So if your interests lie in natural child birth I highly recommend hypnobirthing!
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