A Midwife's Experience with Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis
Stephanie Soderblom LM CPM
Nurturing Hearts Birth Services
Despite the fact that I have been attending births for fourteen years, my first experience with Hypnobabies happened only a year ago…and I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to it.
Because I’d had previous experiences with “hypno”-classes and the subsequent births were often MORE challenging as the parents were not only underprepared for what they were about to experience, they were set up for disappointments with unrealistic expectations of a “pain free” birth if they just did their hypnosis “right”. It was not unusual for my client to feel labor becoming active (generally 3-4 cm dilated) and panic, thinking she was not doing things ‘right’ because of how it felt, losing all confidence in her ability and desire to complete the job at hand…the exact opposite of what you want in labor.
The upcoming birth was a first time mother and, as most people know, first babies tend to be the most challenging. I was skeptical and nervous about it as I knew this was a “Hypnobabies” mother. I braced myself for the false alarms I often saw, emotional breakdowns, the pep talks I was used to giving about how she was NOT failing or doing it wrong, that her body COULD do this, that nothing was wrong. During our prenatal visits I would ask her if she had any questions this week about nutrition, signs of labor, questions about the birth – and I was always pleasantly surprised at the depth of her knowledge and she would always assure me that they’d just gone over that information in her Hypnobabies class! My curiosity was peaked, but I did remain skeptical.
I got the first call early in the morning that the mother thought her water had broken, but they assured me that she was doing just fine and would keep in touch with me and let me know if anything changed or she needed me. She planned to do what she’d learned in her Hypnobabies class…to eat well and rest until labor commanded her attention. Plan for the day was to take naps and watch a DVD! Alright…now I was impressed! I didn’t have to tell a first time mom to take it easy in early labor, or calm a panicking family because her water had broken! How refreshing!
We kept in contact throughout the day until I headed to their house late that evening. Contractions were coming very regularly, but she was still calm and handling things very well. I figured I’d be there for quite a long time as it still sounded like it wasn’t far into her labor. I got to their home and she was listening to her CD’s, calm and happy – uh oh, more confirmation that I’d probably be there a long time. Imagine my delight when their son slipped out into the world while his mom sat on a birth stool in her peaceful bedroom! Tucked into bed, mom smiled and looked at me and said, “That wasn’t nearly as bad as so many people told me it would be! That was AWESOME!”
I was thrilled beyond words – but figured that the chances were great that it was the parents that succeeded IN SPITE of the method, not because of the method. Glad that they had such a positive experience, Hypnobabies hadn’t quite won me over yet – I would need more experience with it before making a final judgment.
Thankfully I wouldn’t have to wait long. Another first time mother (who had attended the same class as the previous mother!) called me early in the morning with early labor. Similar story as her classmate; she labored all day, finally calling me out late in the evening. A smiling and happy first time mom greeted me from her rented Jacuzzi hot tub in her family room. I commented to my assistant that we were probably in for a LONG night and after our initial assessment we laid down to rest. One hour later, when I went to check on the baby, she was out of the water and going to the bathroom. Still smiling and happy, we all agreed that an internal exam might be a good idea. I prayed that she would be at least 3cm but braced myself for much less. To say that I was shocked is an understatement: I found her to be 8cm dilated and her water broken around my hand. Her response to finding out she was 8cm was a smile and a calm, “yay”! She got back into her water and soon after she delivered her 10 pound baby girl in her bedroom. Her response to the birth was that it was “beautiful”.
I could feel myself converting to being a Hypnobabies fan. Not for myself, mind you, but for my clients who time and time again had similar experiences. Calm labors, centered mamas, working hard and never complaining because they EXPECTED and PREPARED to work hard!! Babies born beautifully by empowered mothers who soon-after say how wonderful their births were. I found myself referring people eagerly to the Hypnobabies classes, and my reaction to finding out someone was a Hypnobabies family was, “AWESOME!” It has totally shattered all of my previous misgivings that I had developed, as it became obvious how different the Hypnobabies series was from all other hypno- classes. The main difference that I saw was the amount (and quality) of childbirth information given. Family were given information on how to keep themselves healthy through the pregnancy, stages of labor, physiological changes and ways to help facilitate the birth through positional changes and movement – and also given information on ways to use hypnosis to assist them through the birth. The parents were given realistic expectations so that they could prepare for what they were likely to experience, not false hope of escaping the experience.
As a midwife, my Hypnobabies births are easy on me as I am dealing with healthy and informed families ready for the challenges ahead – and they are a blessing to the families as the tools and information given to them through their classes help them have the best outcomes possible!!
Yes, Hypnobabies….you turned this skeptic into a fan!