Hypnobirthing course

Second child syndrome has already kicked in as am 30 weeks pregnant but no mention of her has been made in the blogosphere. I’m busier than I was when I was pregnant with Monty. For example, it is 7.07 in the morning and since being woken up abruptly by loud hollering from his Majesty’s bedroom, he’s had a kicking-legs-type strop when having his nappy changed, had a further nonsensical strop at choosing some trousers, willingly accepted juice and melon but firmly rejected Wall-E once we’d got through the trailers and settled on Peppa Pig instead to ease into the day.

Calm of sorts has descended now though and I can write through the background noise of snorting pigs and chuckles from Monts.

On Saturday, Toby and I attended a Hypnobirthing course with Louise Daniels, locally at her beautiful home which made a change from an antenatal course in a grubby hotel. There were two other couples attending and we happily drank coffee having parked Monty with my parents for the day. We started the day with an introduction into what hypnobirthing was all about and settling some of the preconceptions we might have around the idea. Louise also runs Positive Birth Movement meet ups so I was familiar with her style, Toby too as he’d recently been on a blokes only one. Louise is down to earth and refreshingly direct, while also being gentle and diplomatic. You kind of have to meet her to understand and I count myself very lucky to have done before we have this second baby. I’ve blogged previously about Monty’s birth and while it was fairly straightforward for a first time birth, Toby and I were both quite traumatised afterwards. We recovered quickly, with no lasting drama and started to enjoy Monty the minute he was born so we were very lucky in that respect.

One of the most helpful bits of Saturday was reflecting on Monty’s birth, guided by an experienced person (Louise) – I’m not sure that was in the course timetable but it ended up happening for us naturally as we related what we were discussing to what had occurred and realised junctures where we could have been stronger in our questioning of medical decisions (using the helpful acronym BRAIN – benefits, risks, advantages, instincts and doing nothing). I also have a renewed feeling of positivity around Monty’s birth, in the sense that at least half of it was a ‘success’ from the point of view of getting to the really tough bit without any pain relief beyond gas & air.

When we tried the hypnobirthing thing, Louise got us all to relax on her furniture – sofas, armchairs or the floor on roll up beds – which felt a bit strange at first in a room with other people. Although relaxed, I certainly didn’t let go completely in the first session, floating in and out of relaxation with an awareness that this felt a bit odd. As the day went on these sessions became easier, by the final session at least two of the partners were snoring and I think we all felt the benefits of zoning out of our ‘thinking brains’ and letting our subconscious hear Louise’s positive affirmations and calm thoughts on birthing our babies.

Apparently the key is really to practise. There is no ‘magic fairy dust’ that can be sprinkled on us by attending a course and expecting to behave differently when ‘the shit hits the fan’, only by practising will our subconscious be likely to push behaviour down the new desired track than sticking to previous anxieties or deep seated beliefs around fear, pain and birth.

The role for Toby is more defined now, we learnt about how to optimise the chances of a successful chain of events – with a calm, loving environment helping the production of oxytocin which will help me cope with the contractions as they intensify, feel like a winner, produce more contractions and work through them. Apparently massage is a plus as are different smells during labour. It will give us something ‘actual’ to focus on to practise massage that might help and find oils that might be a sensory anchor during the process.

I finish work in a few weeks so will have plenty more time to listen to the tracks during the day, at the moment it will be evenings once the Threenager is in bed, which may just mean I fall asleep.

It really was a great day and I haven’t even mentioned the quadruple chocolate cake, delicious lentil and chickpea soup or the LOLS we had as a group. It was actually fun, not heavy or boring, but stimulating, interesting and funny! I did go home feeling pretty ‘birthed out’ but by Sunday morning I was reading my handouts and working on my mind map for birth, our only bit of homework above and beyond practising.

I’m geniuinely looking forward to Maya’s birth, I am so determined to have a positive time – although birth isn’t predictable and we will have to roll with the punches, I feel as equipped as possible, ready for it and so so excited about expanding our little family.

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