On the 2nd and 3rd of February, my husband (Mr.M) and I took part in a Natal Hypnotherapy course, run by Himalee Rupesinghe (http://www.allaboutbirth.co.uk/). I had come across the practice of Hypnobirthing (as it is usually referred to in the States) while reading about birth options and the small amount of information I found really struck a chord with me. So, having been recommended Maggie Howell’s book ‘Effective Birth Preparation’ which also comes with a ‘Birth Preparation CD,’ I bought it and got stuck-in! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Effective-Birth-Preparation-Hospital-Centre/dp/1905220502/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360672461&sr=1-1
Having read part of the book and listened to the CD a couple of times, I came across Himalee on Twitter (https://twitter.com/allaboutbirth) and enquired about the course that she ran. I felt that, although the book and CD were exceptionally helpful tools, we needed a bit more guidance into how this really could work for us and the birth of our baby. We went to a taster course run by the NCT at Earthlife in Richmond http://www.earth-life.co.uk/. After an hour, we were entirely convinced that this was for us and we wanted to learn and experience more. I got in touch with Himalee to see when her courses were running and she luckily had a space on the February course for us.
Now, if you’re thinking (as we were) that hypnosis is for poor victims of Paul McKenna, made to dance naked on tables and/or cluck like chickens at the mention of a particular word, I’d advise you to wipe that clean from your mind. Hypnosis has been given a poor reputation due to people using it as a form of entertainment, and true it can be used like this (as we all know). However, this isn’t the principle use for it. In this case, it is used to heal, help, soothe, relax and aid mentally switching-off. To be honest, I didn’t think I, or Mr.M in particular, would be able to do it. However, throughout the two days and the hypnosis sessions that we did with Himalee, we both were transported to a different place through visualisation and deep relaxation. I really knew I could do it when Himalee gave all the women from the five couples on the course a hard wrist-burn. None of us flinched and there was no stinging or red mark left afterwards. Once fully awake again, one of the women questioned if it would hurt more now that we weren’t in the relaxed state. Sure enough, Himalee gave her the same treatment which she found to be very painful and it was left sore, tingling, red and still hurt the following morning. This was the biggest turning point for me: to know that we were in control of our feelings and sensations once we had reached such a deep level of relaxation.
We dissected our fears, that we have in general as a westernised race, about birth, why they exist and the history of birth from the very beginning. After this part, we all left with a new view and understanding of why our ‘Fears Board’ was loaded the way it was. With this new understanding, it meant we could mentally reconfigure how we viewed and thought about birth. We also delved into how other cultures and other mammals birth which also brought a back-to-basics, naturalistic approach to the forefront of our minds.
The couple of days were also priceless for the birth partners, or ‘gatekeepers,’ who may have been feeling unsure of their role within the birth process. They were taught triggers that would aid relaxation for the mother and their fears were addressed as seriously and as concisely as those of their partners. I know that Mr.M certainly left with a new outlook on the birth which matched, if not exceeded, my newly found levels of excitement.
Natal Hypnotherapy does not promise a painless, perfect birth but it does make you feel like you have done all you can to prepare for that to potentially happen. It also sets you up with skills that can be used in many other situations throughout life.
You can find out more information at http://www.allaboutbirth.co.uk/ and http://www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk/87.html