Updated: Dec 31, 2020
Have you ever noticed how everyone has a birthing story? And how none of them sing to tune of it being a good experience? Even people who don’t have kids know someone who’s vagina apparently exploded, insides fell out, needed a billion stitches to be put together and was ‘never quite the same again’.
I know, as humans, we all like a little bit of drama and it’s easy to find it funny that your mate who’s not long given birth is currently sporting a new John Wayne-style walk. But it always confuses me as to why people think telling pregnant women horrific birth stories, knowing full well that it’s coming their way soon, is a good idea? Every woman is different for a start and every woman will have a different experience in labour, but seriously, if what is clearly regarded as a bit of a shit storm is headed their way, do people really need to be so honest about it?
I know that most of the time people think they’re being kind and that being honest is in some way preparing you for the impending horror but, for the record, you’re not and it doesn’t.
Throughout this pregnancy, I’ve been inundated with horror birth and pregnancy stories, and they’ve all just reaffirmed everything I ever come to believe about childbirth, which is that hurts like fuck and is going to hideous.
A drug-free birth? Fuck. Off.
After the worry-filled first 12-weeks passed, I started to let myself think – and obsess – about labour and how I was going to deal with it. My initial thoughts were as many fucking drugs as possible. In short, knock me out and wake me up when the baby is out, kinda thing. But I also knew that this was highly unlikely, and that I was going to need to find a way to cope with the anxiety that I feel about labour. The more I talked to people about childbirth, the more the subject of hypnobirthing came up. And everyone I spoke to who had done a course swore by it.
Very open to this idea of labour being less of a shit-your-pants scary experience, I did some research into exactly what hypnobirthing was and how it might help. The short answer was it’s a form of hypnotherapy that aids drug-free natural childbirth. I wasn’t sold. Who in the hell would want to give birth drug-free? Sceptical as hell, I got in touch with a lady running a course in Bath and signed up, obviously?! My thought process was that, sceptical as I might be, if there was even the slightest chance that this course might ease my anxieties around labour, it would be totally worth it.
So today, Eamo and I attended the first of four hypnobirthing sessions. We went in thinking we would probably be like the naughty kids at school, trying hard not to laugh as the course leader sat in front of us with her eyes closed, humming and making us listen to what I refer to as ‘floaty’ music. But I’ve never been happier to admit I was completely wrong. The first to arrive, we were welcomed by Kat, our course leader, who’s lovely, and then met the three other couples also attending the course. After introductions all round, Kat explained how hypnobirthing came about, the ideas behind it and how it can be used to make your baby’s entry into the world a positive and happy one.
The rest of the session was spent addressing our conscious minds, with Kat explaining the science behind childbirth, and how a woman’s body is perfectly designed for it. Now, as much as this may surprise you, I’m not a moron, I know women have all the necessary equipment to have babies, but I never knew exactly how it does so.
Sounds stupid but just hearing that my body is not only equipped with all the necessary tools it needs to give birth but knows exactly what to do instinctively was massively reassuring. Honestly, learning how the specific muscles in a woman’s uterus and how they work during labour blew my tiny mind. It was at that point I realised that, unless *fingers crossed it doesn’t* something goes horribly wrong, the only thing that is really going to make labour an awful experience is me and my mind stopping or getting in the way of my body from doing what it absolutely knows to do all by itself.
I’m not going to sit here now banging on about the powers of the mind because I have no idea if, in a few weeks, I can change years of believing that labour is a negative, scary experience and mindset enough to make giving birth to this baby a positive one. I honestly wanted to wait until after I’d finished the course to make a judgement on hypnobirthing. But I’m happy to report I’m already sold. My logical mind tells me that the positive reinforcement this teaches just makes total sense and I’m looking forward to trying to get my mind up to speed with my body, which is, apparently, *crosses legs as types* ready to boss the fuck out of giving birth.