I have always had a deep anxiety centred around anything remotely medical in nature. Doctors visits as a child were a nightmare- or should I say, I was a nightmare at the Doctors. I would cry all the way there, the entire time spent in the waiting room, and the get hysterical as soon as we walked into the consultation room. It became a running joke with our GP, and any travel vaccines, booster injections etc. had to be done after surgery closing hours, as a special late appointment to avoid me freaking out the other patients-yes it really was THAT bad!
Obviously, things improved slightly as I got older, but the general anxiety around being at surgeries and hospitals remained, with my needle phobia worsening over time.
When I found out I was pregnant, any possibility of being happy about the news was overshadowed by my fear of this impending medical scenario I would have to go though, after all it all looks very dramatic on TV. I mean, the thought of a natural labour was terrifying enough, but the chance that I might end up needing a C-section was worse. What about all the check ups that would come before that? The needles, the ultrasounds, the prodding and poking. Pregnancy care had me so worked up, I just couldn’t even begin to get excited.
I vaguely remembered reading an article online, in which a celebrity (who shall remain nameless), had talked about her calm ‘zen’ childbirth, with no drugs. I began to do some more research into this and discovered she had been referring to Hypnobirthing. The more I read about Hypnobirthing, the more I liked the sound of it. It seemed like just what I needed to make my experience of having a baby less traumatic than I kept imagining it to be.
I found a local practitioner and contacted her. She came out to conduct the sessions with couples or individuals in their own home. My husband and I took the course as a couple. There were about five sessions, lasting a couple of hours each (so it took commitment), but the course covers everything that other ante-natal courses do, so there was no need to book anything else. The hypnobirthing technique is a combination of positive affirmations, visualisation, anchoring, meditation, self-hypnosis and relaxation.
For those of you thinking it sounds a bit ‘alternative’- believe me, I was the biggest skeptic and I approached this more out of desperation than an open mind. I am so glad, however, that I took that step.
When the day finally arrived I got through it with no panic- honestly none at all- well not until the floods of tears that came when I held Leya for the first time. But yes, no crying, no anxiety and most importantly NO FEAR.
I had a 48 hour labour with Leya, but only 12 of those took place at the hospital. I did most of the hard work at home. If I can get through childbirth in such a calm, relaxing way, anyone can. My mum and husband who were both present for the entire birth, said they still cant believe how I seemed to take it in my stride. Leya didn’t scream upon arrivals, she just had a quiet little cry to let us know her lungs were working fine, and she was the happiest, calmest baby imaginable.
Hypnobirthing babies are generally good sleepers and calmer, and hypnobirthing mums tend to have a natural labour (unless an unforeseen emergency arises). Go and do some research if the through of giving birth is giving you sleepless nights.
p.s No one can predict the other factors that may determine how your pregnancy and labour go, and I’m not saying Hypnobirthing is the only way forward and that it will definitely work for you, but it did WONDERS for me, and I think the more you read about other peoples experiences, you’ll find yourself intrigued about what it could do for you.