Really I’m not sure how much I had thought about the birth yet, let alone worry about it, but I always seem to write titles analogous to Dr. Strangelove. Some might say I can’t fight in here because this is the war room but hey, you know.
I digress. What I really wanted to talk about is the day my wife and I had yesterday. We were in a Hypnobirthing class ran by Mindful Mamas. It was a really good day, providing useful information, tools and support as we look towards the birth of our baby and how to make it as great an experience as possible, rather than the horrible one we’re conditioned to expect by British society.
As a man I’ve spent my life knowing very little about the actuality of birth. What I do know is what I’ve gleaned from very British people talking about it (oooh it’s so painful, and lasts ages and the only reason you have another is because you forget what it was like) and TV or film. It seems that whilst all of this can happen, it doesn’t need to happen. Birth can be swift, pleasent, amazing and anywhere in-between. The key is to help yourselves get it as far as possible to the good side of the spectrum. We can’t predict what will happen but we can prepare to achieve what we want.
That’s where hypnobirthing comes in. It’s not sciencey mumbo jumbo. It’s not all about being hypnotised. It’s just a mindset, some tools and help and support to get you through the big day and beyond. It is based on actual science though.
Birth can be split into four stages:
- Opening / Transition
- Pushing / Crowning
The first part if the long and slow part, and the part where all the contractions are felt. The transition is the point at which most Mums seek out that epidural, or decide they’re off. It’s all to do with hormones unsurprisingly. But, before that, part 1 is all about Oxytocin versus Adrenaline. You want the former and not the latter. The former will make you feel happier, physically better and so on. How do we drive the production of that and hinder adrenaline? By focusing and relaxing. It’s not easy, but that’s where the tools come in.
Really they are just ways of relaxing – perhaps by deep breathing, or by conditioning certain items, sounds and so on to remind you of good times. I won’t go into detail but one or more of the techniques will work for your partner and therein lies the path to success.
This all feels like a self-help blog post doesn’t it? Pah. The point is hypnobirthing is easy to do. It will help. It might not solve everything but it will definitely lead to a better birth. From my point of view I can see how I can help my wife here and also a little more knowledge is now present about the day itself, and what I can do. I encourage everyone to go on a course, or read the book here. My wife and I are much more relaxed about birth now, and at the very least – if we had taken nothing else away from yesterday – it was great to hear stories about good births and how it doesn’t have to be horrible.