Myth Busting - HypnoBirthing Edition
Ciarra Morgan | May 25, 2022
First, a confession...I was the biggest skeptic of HypnoBirthing before I tried it myself. I knew about HypnoBirthing when I was pregnant with my first child in 2009, but I thought it was something my type A personality just couldn't accomplish. I also didn't really believe it worked for anyone and figured they were just embellishing their experience. Simply put, I was a bit of a hater. Looking back, I can see this came from a place of insecurity and intimidation. I was worried if I tried it, I would fail.
Myth #1: HypnoBirthing only works for certain personality types.
FALSE! HypnoBirthing works for anyone that is open minded to it. If you think it will work for you, you're right. If you think it won't, you're right. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
HypnoBirthing is a five-class series that dives deep into all things birth. This is a comprehensive childbirth class that also teaches how to achieve self-hypnosis to make labor and birth more comfortable. This is NOT just for people that are already meditating, practicing relaxation, and have more of a creative mind. This can absolutely be a class for the more Type A personalities (ME!), and everyone can benefit from these classes.
Myth #2: HypnoBirthing makes it so you don't feel any pain in childbirth. If you feel pain, you did it wrong.
FALSE! HypnoBirthing does not promise to give you a "Pain-Free" birth. It DOES help you with tools to have a more comfortable birth experience. HypnoBirthing also has the benefit of reducing the likelihood of receiving unnecessary interventions. Does birth sometimes need medical intervention? Yes, but not anywhere near as often as interventions are occurring. It does not make it so medical interventions will not be needed, but it makes it so non-medically necessary interventions won't needlessly be imposed. The education you receive helps you know the difference between these scenarios. Education empowers people, reduces fear/anxiety, and therefore reduces the fear-tension-pain cycle. All of these benefits reduce the need for medical pain management and prepare you for a comfortable, easy birth experience.
Myth #3: Taking HypnoBirthing classes is enough to help me have the birth I desire.
FALSE! Simply showing up to 5 classes is not all it takes. I can't possibly give you enough practice in 5-2.5-hour classes to help you master these techniques. The information you receive in class will be comprehensive, but you have to practice the techniques on your own time, outside of class. Practice conditions the body to achieve this deep level of relaxation so achieving this state in labor becomes second nature. Daily practice of the different breathing techniques helps prepare you for riding each wave you experience in labor. I give you the tools. It's your job to put them into practice outside of class to prepare for the calm birth you desire. Having a birth partner, doula, and OB/Midwife that support your birth goals is another integral part to having the birth you desire.
Myth # 4: Someone else can hypnotize you.
FALSE! ALL hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Your HypnoBirthing educator will teach you about hypnosis and guide you into it, but the only person that can hypnotize you is yourself. Some people are fearful of hypnosis because they think someone else will have control or power over them. No one has any control over you while you're in hypnosis. You have full control and will never do something you don't want to do while in hypnosis. You will also remember everything and will not be unconscious in any way. When the pandemic hit and we were forced to take classes online, I was nervous people wouldn't have the same experience as they did in person. I have been pleasantly surprised and proven wrong. One of the huge perks to online classes these days is that people aren't even in the same room as me when they're experiencing hypnosis. This is a huge convincer for people so they can see everything is happening within their own body without outside assistance.
I didn't have the birth I wanted with my first child. She was born healthy, and I was physically healthy, but so much more goes into it! The first misstep in my birth with her was rushing to the hospital when my waters released at 3:15am. If I had taken a childbirth education class that focused on instinctive, natural birth, it would have changed my trajectory from that first moment. Now, I'm a childbirth educator and doula that helps people know there is no reason to rush to their birthing place just because their waters released. By rushing to the hospital and not having the education as to what's normal and what's not, I invited intervention from the start. I basically ran to the hospital to be hooked up to Pitocin so my body would be rushed into having waves (translation: contractions). If I had waiting at home until my waves started on their own, my body would have had time to acclimated to being in labor and I would have tolerated them much more easily.
The beauty of HypnoBirthing is it teaches you what normal, physiological labor and birth look like. Most providers and birth settings do not base their practices on this type of labor and birth. So many OBGYNs treat every pregnant person like the 1%. If you're the 99%, why are you receiving care using the guidelines that are applicable to the 1%? Individualized care is hard to find these days. Choosing a provider that fits the experience you desire and the goals you have is INFINITELY IMPORTANT. Just because you have a midwife doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get the care you want. Have you ever heard the term "med-wife"? Some midwives are guided by instinctive and physiological birth, while others are more medicalized. Neither of those options are wrong, but you need to know which one you're getting because it needs to match the experience you're wanting to have. This should be the first thing you figure out when you find out you're pregnant, so you start off on the right foot. You can do your own research on providers in your area, but you can also find a birth doula that can help guide you and help you know which providers fit your specific needs.
I hope this breakdown helped you sort out some of the questions or misconceptions you had about HypnoBirthing. Reach out if you have any other questions and I'd be happy to help!
Ciarra Morgan, TLCD, HBCE, CSC
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