You are pregnant! Congratulations!
Your Google searches are no-doubt filled with the keywords ’baby’, ’birth,’ ’pregnancy,’ ’nursery ideas’ and ’how to give birth without pain!!’
Through your research, you hear recommendations (perhaps from your midwife or OBGYN) about childbirth education courses like HypnoBirthing.
Friends share the benefits of these types of classes; they help reduce labour length, help minimise pain, lower the types of interventions, and cesarean c-sections, and can help reduce fear and anxiety.
But... they can cost anywhere from $600 up! Yikes! ”There is no room in my budget for this,” you think and so you decide that it must not be that important or worth it, otherwise every hospital would be offering it! (*nb* there actually are a number of Australian hospitals offering this course!).
Don’t worry! I completely understand; I experienced this personally when I fell pregnant. My husband and I were living in Melbourne’s inner city. I had just taken out a car loan for $26,000 and suddenly quit my job to start my own business. Then surprise! You’re having a baby. We decided to make the practical move away from our fun-filled life to the suburbs so we could be closer to family and support. We relied on family for everything who helped in the purchase of all the essentials our baby would need - we couldn’t have done this without them. When my labour started, it was not what I expected. I had done some reading, some preparation but right in the throes of labour, I realised it was nowhere near enough!
My labour was long, tough, and quite painful. Our son needed medical assistance immediately when he was born and spent 5 nights in the Special Care Nursery. I was devastated that the 9-month wait to meet him didn’t start with the skin-to-skin contact I have envisioned. So I had planned and wanted a vaginal birth and I had a healthy baby, which seemed to be the most important thing (or so my care providers and everyone around me kept saying) but what took me by surprise was how this birth deeply affected me.
Looking back, I now understand and acknowledge it was birth trauma, so similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For the next 12 months, every night, without doubt, I relived that birth until eventually had the realisation that I needed to seek help to healing and move on.
When I became pregnant for the second time, I discovered HypnoBirthing and now armed with a passion and drive to rewrite my birthing story. I put into practice tall of the HypnoBirthing skills I had learnt. When I reached active labour my comfort zone was challenged, it wasn’t painful but it certainly wasn’t comfortable BUT I loved the experience. It healed us as a family, for myself and my husband.
As a mother and as a woman, I felt empowered, realising fully, the effects birth can have on you. It affects you, your baby, and your partner. This effect may be positive or it may be negative.
Think about how much time, energy, and money you spent on your wedding, on your 18th, your 21st, your 30th. Researching providers, venues, scrolling Pinterest for ideas, asking friends for their recommendations. Think about how much you are doing just on prams alone! You saw value in that research time, it was vitally important to you that you got it right, and you felt empowered by the fact you had choices.
Those choices were yours to make! And when you were ready to decide, you spent that money because you had all the information you needed to make a sound decision. After all, it was a momentous occasion - momentous occasions should be celebrated and remembered forever. You knew you would cherish that day and look back on it fondly so the planning and organising, researching, and shopped around were worth it.
So, it begs the question, does the birth of your child deserves the same thought, time, and effort? Birth is one of those extraordinary rites of passage; it is the birth of two beings, the Baby and the Mother.
Sure some parts may fade from your memory but you’ll never forget how you felt on the day, those emotions and feelings forever being imprinted into your heart, body & mind - not only for the mother but partner alike.
On a societal level, birth impacts communities too. We know on a chemical level, what a Mother feels (energetically and hormonally, through your nervous system) is directly transferred to the baby in her womb. If a mother is stimulating the flight or fight response (cortisol and adrenalin) too often the knock-on effects could interfere with breastfeeding, babies sleep, gut health, and can even impact the child in later life (where they are more susceptible to anxiety, fear-based thinking or stresses too easily - think the trouble with learning, anti-social behaviour, depression, etc.)
This is why birth professionals, like myself, are so passionate about educating families on the significant role the mind, education, and empowerment play in pregnancy and birth preparations. Birth is not an event that begins and ends in hospital rooms; its outcomes ripple out and affect the baby, the mother, their families, loved ones, and communities. All too often, we hear couples proudly say they have handed over their care to their birth professional because ”they know best” or ”because you can’t challenge or question the doctors' suggestions”.
But, did you know that most professionals will be quoting policy rather than evidenced-based evidence? AND, more importantly, you can say no. They won’t be there in the middle of the night as you try to console your crying baby or you for that matter! 30% of women are left traumatised by their birth. We have 15% of our mums with postnatal depression (PND) which, on average affects mothers 4-10 years post-birth, almost 1 in 10 with post-traumatic stress disorder, and the number one cause of perinatal mortality is SUICIDE.
HypnoBirthing is a powerful tool to prepare your body and baby which stacks the odds in your favour so that you won’t be part of that 30%. To birth, your baby with a sense of empowerment and control will leave you feeling incredibly powerful and you and your partner will be in awe of the absolute miracle that birth is! So for those who say HypnoBirthing education is too expensive, I say, it’s so worth it, you are worth it and your baby is worth it. Dig deep, ask for help if you can and maybe you don’t need all the pram accessories!
Written by: Michelle Clift, a Hypnobirthing Educator, VIC.