As a Hypnobabies instructor I have had to learn how to walk a very fine line. A basic premise of the class and of hypnosis is that our minds are very powerful and will work to create that which we dwell upon. So OF COURSE we want to feed the mind ONLY positive messages about childbirth. Hypnobabies does this really well - through affirmations, hypnosis tracks and scripts, and videos of beautiful, empowered births. Every mom also creates a special safe place for herself and her baby and a Bubble of Peace for times when there is negativity in their environment. This tool helps them to keep positive messages around them while keeping the negative away.
The tricky part is also embracing the fact that birth is inherently unpredictable and that every mother and baby's experience will be unique. Some birthing times (labors) are long and some are short. Some mother's stay very quiet while birthing and others ROAR their babies out. Some mama's can switch "off" (a Hypnobabies self-hypnosis tool) laying down and relaxing very deeply while experiencing pressure waves (contractions), while others prefer to be in "center" so they can stand or sit up and rock during waves. Ok, so you get the idea - each birth is DIFFERENT.
A criticism that often comes up of Hypnobabies is that by encouraging this positive mindset for women's births - that birth can in fact be peaceful, comfortable, and joyful - that we are setting women up for disappointment.
I believe that this statement underestimates women and I know that this mentality undermines both women using and NOT using Hypnobabies for childbirth.
First of all, I know that birth CAN BE all of the things listed above - because I experienced at least 2 of the 3 and I know many women who have experienced it all - some even having what they consider PAIN FREE births. So the question is, how is it helpful for us to prepare a woman by being "realistic" - which usually implies that birth has to be painful or difficult?
I did not have what I consider to be pain-free births either time. Yet they were both empowering, beautiful, enjoyable and life-changing experiences. My birthing time with Marisol lasted almost 48 hours and was very intense at the end, yet because it was such a powerful experience when I was pregnant with Gerry I looked forward to his birth with excitement. That's right - I couldn't wait to give birth again!
Gerry's birth was much faster that Marisol's. The end was very intense. Did I feel like Hypnobabies failed me because of this? No way! It was (again) one of the peak experiences of my life and I know that using the home-study course and listening to the tracks faithfully helped me have the best birth for me and Gerry that I could. (To clarify, Hypnobabies does not ever promise anyone a "pain free" birth. We do help women work towards the most comfortable birth possible for each individual and baby. Also, I only used Hypnobabies for my second birth.)
It is realistic to expect that birth can be safe and enjoyable. Most of the time birth will happen the way it is meant to for mom and baby if they are left alone. What isn't realistic is the current culture of fear that surrounds birth.
There is a line in our Hypnobabies scripts that reads, "You are comfortable with any path your birthing takes, knowing it is the best one for you and your baby". All suggestions are repeated many times so that these messages can really be absorbed by expecting mama's on a conscious and subconscious level. I love this one because it highlights that each birth is a journey for mom and baby and that in the end we have to let go and enjoy the ride.
I am proud to be a Hypnobabies instructor. I'm learning to teach my students to the best of my ability and then let go of all outcomes. I'm learning to trust that my students are getting what they need to from Hypnobabies. We cannot control birth just like we can't control life. But we can prepare ourselves and our minds, and I believe Hypnobabies is a powerful way for pregnant women to do just that.
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.