If the people who know me well were surprised I was going for a home birth, it was nothing compared to the shock they hid (with varying degrees of success) when I told them I was also going to do hypnobirthing. I was met with many slightly cocked heads, covered in polite smiles and quizzical eyes. You see, I guess they don’t see me as the ‘hypnobirthing type’. I can’t blame them…if you don’t know anything about hypnobirthing you could be forgiven for assuming it’s a bit vagina-whispery and a lot of bollocks.
I mean, if I’m honest, I thought that at first. I thought it was going to be some OM-coloured mumbo-jumbo about auras and third eyes. It isn’t anything like that. Not even a little bit. I can’t stress this enough…I was so wrong, I might as well have renamed myself Wrong McWrongface. to be clear, I have nothing against OMs or third eyes but I wasn’t sure that was what I needed to have an ‘amazing’ birth.
Because that’s what hypnobirthing does. It gives you all the tools to have an amazing birth. One that you actually (don’t die of shock) enjoy. Yup. Enjoy…like to the point of being excited to do it again. Crazy huh?
Far from mumbo-jumob, it’s all pretty scientific. In a nutshell, labour is all about muscles in the uterus contracting and relaxing. In order for those muscles to do that effectively and efficiently, they need a shedload of blood loaded with oxygen. The more oxygen-loaded blood the muscles in your uterus get, the better they work meaning the less contractions you need and the less painful they are. Things can get a bit sticky though if you’re not relaxed. If labour throws you into a panic you start producing adrenaline and when that happens, your body assumes it’s under attack and may need to fight or fly at any given moment. Switching to survival mode, it starts to send all the blood and oxygen to your limbs and major organs – heart, brain etc. While this is awesome if you need to outrun a zombie it’s not great when you’re giving birth. Suddenly, your uterus is denied the full whack of oxygenated blood and therefore has to work harder for longer and more painfully to achieve what it needs.
With that in mind, hypnobirthing is all about providing you with the tools to remain as cool as a cucumber while your bundle of joy travels down your love tunnel. With really straightforward techniques, hypnobirthing relies on practising getting yourself into deep states of relaxation so that when the time comes you are fully equipped to stay calm meaning more oxytocin (good) and less adrenaline (bad).
Once I’d decided to give hypnobirthing a shot, there was only one person I needed to call. I quickly sent an email to Hollie de Cruz, founder of London Hypnobirthing and creator of the Yes Mum Cards. Not only is she rapidly becoming the guru of hypnobirthing, she’s also a mate and an all round amazing #mumboss. I booked myself and my husband on to the course and then broke the news to my other half. He stoically agreed and I almost didn’t even see the cynicism in his eyes as he did a sterling job at trying to hide his true feelings about my latest obsession. If his eyes did roll, I didn’t see it.
HOllie de cruz, founder of london hypnobirthing
Anyway, three months later, here we are on the other side of our hypnobirthing journey and we couldn’t be more inspired. I know that this isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to giving birth and considering my first time experience it’s shocking at how excited I am now about giving birth. I feel so in control of the whole process – not in a control freak kind of way; more in an empowered kind of way. I feel like I’m armed appropriately, knowledgeable and able to cope with all the craziness that birth can bring because here’s the key thing: even if you don’t get the birth you want or hope for, hypnobirthing keeps you calm throughout. It’s almost more useful when the unexpected happens…that’s when it’s really crucial to keep calm.
YES MUM CARDS, CREATED BY HOLLIE DE CRUZ
I can’t thank Hollie enough and of course, our amazing teacher Gemma Cox. What an amazing addition to the London Hypnobirthing team Gemma is…and, I may have missed it, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a whisper directed to my vagina once.
GEMMA COX, HYPNOBIRTHING TEACHER AT LONDON HYPNOBIRTHING
for more information regarding london hypnobirthing go to www.londonhypnobirthing.co.uk or follow them on instagram.