I hope all is well. How are you coping with the chilly weather? I must say I do prefer summer. I’m looking into booking a week or two in Queensland or Bali during July or August. I think it’s so sensible to migrate north for the winter even if it’s only briefly.
This week has been pretty huge for me. A month ago I committed to writing a chapter for a book called Women United: The Return of the Divine Feminine. The deadline was yesterday so the pressure was on. Although I write regularly, as you know, writing for book was a bit scarier. It’s done now but it took me much more time than I anticipated. I’ll let you know when its published.
I chose to focus on birth and although I have a broad interest in all aspects of health and happiness I realized that the way babies are born has been an ongoing concern of mine for many, many years. I had my three babies naturally after reading a book called Birth Without Violence by Frederick Leboyer and I’ve taught hundreds of mums how to prepare for a gentle, empowering birth. Learning to relax deeply with hypnosis, breathing techniques, visualisation and trust in their bodies gives themselves them the best chance of having an intervention free birth.
Of course not all the couples I’ve taught end up having 100% natural births but my main aim is to help mums have no regrets about their experience. Now before you stop reading because you’re not pregnant today I want to talk to you about how important birth is. You may not be about to give birth or have given birth in the past but you were born.
On Saturday I flew to the Gold Coast for the day to attend a workshop for Midwives and Doulas.(I told you I had a big week) It was to teach them how to support mothers who have done the Hypnobirthing Course that we teach. I came back feeling very inspired. The information in the workshop, meeting with the midwives and other birth professionals, combined with the research I needed to do for my book chapter, has left me with mixed feelings however.
On one hand I’m inspired and really keen to spread the word about how amazing birth can be and on the other hand I feel so upset and sad about the direction birth has taken in developed countries and the stories of births that didn’t go well. The births that were treated purely as a medical event and where the emotional and spiritual aspect of birth was ignored. The births where mums felt frightened and out of control. Where decisions were made for them against their will.
My definition of the birth that doesn’t go well is not necessarily a painful birth or birth that needs intervention but a birth where the mum has regrets afterwards. When she says “I wish I’d known ….. beforehand,” “I wish I been better prepared”, “I wish I’d understood what was happening to my body,” “I wish I had asked more questions,” “I wish I’d made different decisions,” etc. etc.
One of the things that we talked about on Saturday was the fact that couples will spend a year planning their wedding. They make dozens of decisions on all the big things and little details about the wedding. They talk endlessly about it and spend thousands of dollars on that special day. They do so because they know they’ll remember it forever and because it’s a big commitment. It’s a really significant day.
That’s why I find it quite amazing that when it comes to birth many couples do very little planning and preparation for the day their child will be born. Sure they’ll prepare the nursery and buy all the goodies you need for a baby but they can be quite unaware of the importance of being really well informed and well prepared for the process of birth itself. I find many mums don’t even want to think about the birth. They assume it will be painful and that they’ll need drugs or an epidural. They will attend a hospital ante-natal class but these classes simply don’t teach them how to manage the experience on the day. In fact they often create more fear by talking about how painful it will be, what drugs you can ask for and what forceps look like. Ergh.
I actually believe that the day a woman gives birth is an even more important and memorable day than their wedding day. It can in fact be the most joyful, empowering and transformative event of their lives. It can also be a really traumatic day that they just want to forget. I know it’s not good science to do a research project with one subject but I have to tell you that you only need to speak with one mother who has had a positive and empowering birth experience to be convinced that its worth investing time, energy and money in learning all you can about giving birth.
One of the first mums I worked with told me that if she’d known how beneficial HypnoBirthing would be she would have paid thousands for it. She came to me because she was very frightened of the pain of childbirth. On the day her baby girl was born she was fully in control through the whole birth and said she was so deeply relaxed she experience no pain at all. Her baby was fully alert, aware and wide eyed at birth and they bonded beautifully. Her story was actually published in The Age. You can read it HERE
One of the reasons I’m passionate about helping women have good births is because I’ve worked with many women who were traumatised by the experience of childbirth. Often they felt helpless, frightened and even violated. When you get a group of mothers together talking about birth you will hear mostly horror stories. Starting with an induction each intervention tends lead to the next and each intervention increases a mothers anxiety and puts her baby more at risk. Induction increases the chance of needing pain relief, that increases the chances of an epidural, that increases the chances of forceps delivery or a C-Section, that increases the chances of baby’s breathing being compromised. It goes on and on. In my experience most cases of post natal depression are the result of a traumatic birth. When we do the work to heal that trauma the symptoms of depression often clear.
The other reason I’m an advocate of good birth preparation is that babies remember birth. Although we don’t consciously remember it our birth leaves an imprint that can last a lifetime. Its an inherent memory. At birth we learn to bond with another human being. We learn to love. We learn whether we are welcome and wanted and safe. We learn whether we can trust our mother to take care of us. These lessons will influence who we are as adults. I’ve done lots of work with clients to uncover and heal the experience of their own birth. This always has profound results.
When birth goes well, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually it prepares a woman for being a mother. It unlocks a power and wisdom she didn’t know she had. According to midwife Aleksandra Evenguelidi when you completely show up for birth “You find a power within you that you never knew you had and you take that power with you out into all aspects of your life”. That’s what I called being empowered.
And if you experienced a traumatic birth give us a call on 9842 7033 to find out how you can heal it.
That’s all for now. Take a look at the Right Hand column for our upcoming classes and events. As always we have some awesome events coming up. >>>>
Have a great week,
Health and Happiness Guru