Ever since my first pregnancy, I’ve been passionate about natural childbirth. But before my childbearing years began, I was afraid of birth. Discovering natural birth, homebirth, and midwifery was the turning point for me, where I found that birth was something I could see myself doing without fear. Then, I discovered Hypnobabies, and birth became something I was actually excited about.
The reason I am passionate about childbirth hypnosis is that it is a completely natural tool which allows women to birth in comfort. A simple way to avoid pain during birth, without the use of any drugs or interventions? Yes, please! (I have to be clear here, that not all moms using childbirth hypnosis will experience a completely pain-free birth. But, with proper practice and use of hypnosis tools, moms are able to have much more comfortable and easier births.)
Because of what I’ve learned, I believe that birth is a beautiful and sacred part of life, something to be excited about rather than be feared or avoided. I know from my own experience that birth can be much more comfortable than what we typically see on TV and hear from our friends and family. But I’ve still struggled with using the word “easy” in relation to pregnancy and birth. The reality for me is that pregnancy has not been easy or very comfortable, and birth, while not painful, is still not easy.
What I’ve learned is that while births using hypnosis can be easy and comfortable, not all of them are. This can happen for a few different reasons.
My first birth was challenging, in that it was long, there was a lot of progression and regression, and there were points at which I would truthfully have to admit I had some pain. (I describe my first birthing as 90% pain-free). Ultimately, my planned homebirth turned into a hospital birth, which to me signifies that it was definitely not the “easy” birth I had in mind.
My second birth was a home birth, as planned, and it was easier than my first but I still wouldn’t describe it as “easy.” It was intense and challenging at times, and I did have some significant pain particularly in my lower back. My baby had trouble engaging, which led to me not feeling any pushing urges even hours after being fully dilated. Then, she had shoulder dystocia (which we were able to resolve safely), and finally I ended the event with a postpartum hemorrhage. Easy, it was not!
My third birth was also a planned home birth, and it was the least challenging of all three births. Nevertheless, it was still NOT easy! I had a significantly shorter birthing time, and a very smooth birth process overall, but my pressure waves were incredibly intense (as they must be to get the job done!), and my pushing stage was once again the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Getting a tiny human out of your body is a physically miraculous feat! It was the most incredible and amazing experience of my life, and each time it required extreme effort.
What I have learned from my birth experiences so far is that birth truly is a unique and variable process, no matter how we prepare. Ultimately, we can’t control the birth process any more than we can control other aspects of life. The key is in surrender.
I also believe that a big factor in a woman’s birth experience is simply biology. Some women naturally have easier births than others. This is out of our control, and not necessarily predictable, even based on the experiences of our biological relatives. Even our previous birth experiences don’t completely tell us what we can expect for future births. Every birth is different.
Yet there are some things that we can do to increase the ease and comfort that we will experience during birth.
#1. For most women, hypnosis will be effective only if they practice and use their hypnosis techniques properly. Hypnosis works through repetition, so practicing a lot before one’s birthing time is vital. It’s also important to really get in the zone for birth, especially when using hypnosis. Waiting until things get more intense is not advised; at that point, some women might struggle to get deeply enough into hypnosis for it to be as effective. Starting early allows moms to flow deeper and deeper as birthing progresses.
#2. The choices a woman makes in pregnancy and birth can drastically affect the birth process. It’s important to make informed choices rather than allowing medical care providers to make those choices for you. Not only that, but being intentional about avoiding unnecessary interventions goes a long way when it comes to enjoying an easier natural birth. Interventions don’t usually make birth easier, since they disrupt the natural birth process, and they usually lead to further interventions.
#3. Mom’s emotional state during birthing is not a minor detail. She needs to feel safe, supported, and calm for birth to progress as smoothly as possible. Over-excitement, performance anxiety, fear, and distractions are all capable of derailing a birth. Staying home for as long as possible can be very beneficial, since most moms feel most comfortable and at ease in their own home environment. Releasing fears and anxiety through prayer, meditation, and/or hypnosis is also important so that mom can focus on positive thoughts and feelings about birth.
#4. Getting extra support from a birth doula is tremendously beneficial. Even the most amazing birth partner doesn’t provide the dedicated, experienced, and focused support of a doula. A doula doesn’t take the place of your birth partner, but complements them wonderfully and acts as a helper for your birth partner. This is something I highly recommend for all birthing women.
You can learn more about these factors, as well as other ways to prepare for your best birth experience with Better Birthing online courses.
So, can birth be easy? Yes. But it isn’t always. All we can do is our best to prepare and keep positive expectations. The rest is about surrendering to the process.
I now know that planning and hoping for an “easy” birth doesn’t mean that birth should be approached casually, or that it will always go exactly as planned. In fact, it usually doesn’t! But that doesn’t mean that birth still can’t be wonderful and amazing and magical.
Perhaps what matters is not whether a birth is easy or challenging. Perhaps what matters is that birthing moms and their partners and their precious babies experience the magic of birth, surrounded by love, joy, and peace– no matter what path their birthing takes.
Do you want to be informed, confident, and empowered as you prepare for birthing?
Better Birthing courses give you the information you need to make empowered choices, so that you can look forward to your baby’s birth with confidence.