Congratulations, you're expecting! And now you're diving headfirst into researching the best things you can do to prepare for the arrival of your little one(s).
Hypnobirthing is increasing in popularity, and will no doubt have crept into your Google searches. But what is it?
A lot of people (myself included) are immediately put off by the 'Hypno' part. "Am I going to be hypnotised?", "That sounds too 'airy fairy' for me..", "I don't want a home birth" and "I'm having twins so I can't do Hypnobirthing" are all things I've heard. Let me start by saying I personally think it is rather poorly-named - Hypnobirthing is so much based in science, that its name rather misrepresents what it's all about.
Essentially, Hypnobirthing is about re-writing our preconceived (mostly negative) ideas about birth. Due to the medicalisation of birth, the fact we no longer see and experience our mums and friends and sisters giving birth at home, and due to the portrayal of birth we do see tending to be highly dramatised in TV documentaries or films, most of us enter pregnancy thinking that birth is going to be something rather traumatic and painful that we just have to get through in order to meet our babies.
But this is not the case! Our bodies are made to birth our babies, but we have lost trust in ourselves and our abilities, as we no longer know what to expect. Through Hypnobirthing & antenatal education, we learn how our bodies work in pregnancy, birth and beyond. We learn the incredibly clever things our bodies do to facilitate growing a new life and bringing it into the world. We learn techniques to stay calm and in control, and we learn our practical options when it comes to where and how to birth our babies.
The "Hypno" in Hypnobirthing does relate to hypnosis, but to self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis is essentially deep relaxation - a state in which we are much more likely to take on new ideas. So by relaxing our minds before learning these fantastically positive things about birth, we are far more likely to truly believe them in the long term. And if we really believe we can have a positive birth, we are so much more likely to have one!
Now, let me also say here that 'positive birth' does not mean a home birth in your front room. If that's what you want, then brilliant! But any kind of birth can be positive. The key is feeling in control of your situation - knowing what to expect, making decisions for yourselves, and feeling that each twist and turn your birth may take are scenarios that you've considered and accepted.
This just skims the surface of what Hypnobirthing is all about, but hopefully you can see it is not a load of 'mumbo jumbo'. It is about learning to trust that our bodies know what to do, and empowering ourselves to make decisions along the way that are right for us and our families.
If you'd like to know about Hypnobirthing, or are interested in a comprehensive antenatal course that includes Hypnobirthing, I am currently running private & group courses for expectant parents. This can be done online from anywhere in the world, or if you happen to be in Sheffield then we can do the course in person! Please see my website www.barebirthing.com for more details, or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best on the most exciting journey of your life!