The first week of the home study has a nice introduction of what hypnosis is (and isn’t!).
In the intro, we are cautioned to avoid other childbirth prep courses — especially those offered by hospitals. The hospital-type classes seem to be, “Now WHEN you get your epidural, here’s what will happen.” Not the most pro-natural birthin’ sorta class.
It also states that you don’t need to take a Bradley course concurrently, as some of the messages aren’t compatible with HypnoBabies. I’ll do a closer examination of the differences later, but my course workbook suggests that the Hypnobabies philosophy is that childbirth can be a normal, powerful event that doesn’t have to be painful (page 7).
It suggests that the “other” class teaches “pain-management’ techniques which “can very easily program you that there will be pain, and that ‘you’ll need to accept that,’ ‘make it your friend,’ ‘think of it as positive pain,’ ‘pain with a purpose,” … (p. 7).
But really, who has time to take TWO childbirth classes for the same pregnancy? Not many, I’m guessing. I think the most reasonable thing is to research all your options and choose the class that sounds like the best fit for you.
Anyway. Back to the first week’s class:
– Course packet readings, including topics explaining hypnosis, the power of words, a brief anatomy lesson, importance of affirmations, how fear affects pregnancy and birth, and info on the fear-tension-pain cycle.
– A vocab lesson, which replaces common words with more positive words. For example, labor is now “birthing time,” contractions are now “pressure waves” or “birthing waves,” the due date is now “guess date” or “guess month,” etc.
Sounds simple, but if we’re programmed to believe contractions = pain, then let’s forget that association and create a better one. Language is powerful!
– A script to have our birth partner read to us, for us to establish our “Bubble of Peace” or BOP, which is a tool to help us keep other people’s negativity from affecting us.
We also have some CD tracks to listen to:
– Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations (this is supposed to be listened to daily)
– Special Place
– Easy, Comfortable Childbirth
The Special Place and Easy Childbirth tracks alternate days this week. Both are about 30 mins long and start with an extensive portion of the track to simply relax you, physically and mentally. It’s deep relaxation and it feels great!
Then later, in the Special Place track, you are asked to mentally create a place where you can go while you are having pressure waves or when you want to relax and feel safe. There’s a lot of guidance for this, and yet it’s really open-ended for the type of place you create.
You also “meet” your baby there and talk to her and tell her how much you love her and stuff, and it’s really moving.
Having been through a birthing once before, I do feel like I will really benefit from having a rehearsed place to go in my mind. I didn’t have that before. I knew I needed to relax, but I had nowhere for my mind to actually focus on during the 90-120 second+ waves. Since I’ll practice using my special place, I think it will be that much easier to “go there” when I need to.
As my birth partner, Shane will know the details about my special place so he can guide me there if I need some help.
The place I chose is on board the cruise ship when we went to Alaska for our honeymoon. The first time I listened to the track, I set up my place on the deck right as we were coming into port in Juneau on our first night. But the second night (and I think I’ll use this from here on out) I’m at the spa on the ship.
I remember being the only one in the spa room, and I was sitting in a large mineral bath tub. There were large windows where I could watch the stunningly beautiful Alaskan shore pass by. So heck yes, that’s my special place! I’ve added Shane and Johnny to it. They are sitting on heated chairs nearby.
I also think that during this session where you are talking with your baby and imagining holding her in your arms, that it’s really powerful. There were moments during Jonathan’s birthing that I completely forgot why I was doing what I was doing: Oh, there’s a baby at the end of all this? THAT’S why I’m at the hospital? Gotcha. So remembering our overall goal — birthing a human — is a good thing!
Easy, Comfortable Childbirth
This track also starts with deep relaxation suggestions before getting to the content. It’s designed to change your mindset, so that your mind believes that childbirth can be a joyful, comfortable, beautiful experience. I can’t really remember a ton of what happens in this track because I am so deeply relaxed that I zonk out and go into “hypnotic amnesia.”
The messages are still reaching my unconscious mind (which is what I want!) so it’s still effective.
Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations
These are really nice! I started listening to them way before I began my course, off and on. This is the only track you can listen to while driving, so I have that CD in my car and try to listen to it whenever I’m going about town.
It has about 150 affirmations (some repeating) pertaining to pregnancy, health, and birth. They really do improve your mindset and make you feel better! There’s a few that are Hypnobabies-specific, but I think if you just wanted an affirmations track and weren’t planning on purchasing the home study, you could still benefit from that CD.
I’m really enjoying this course. I’ve never been able to deeply relax on my own before, but now I can quickly relax my mind and body and it feels really nice. After listening to each track, I feel more confident and alert and just…better!
I’m onto week 2 now, and this is when we’re really learning specific self-hypnosis tools and it is some seriously cool stuff.
I’ll leave you with a link to a post about hypno-anesthesiology. I wish I could remember how I found that link! Anyway, go read it.