Sep 25 2010

Hypnobabies week 1

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.

Overall…

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.


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Sep 19 2010

Getting started with Hypnobabies

I recently began my Hypnobabies home study course, and as promised, I’m going to blog my way through it. I’m in the middle of week 1 and I’m already loving it. I’ll do a full write-up of the first week after I complete it, but I thought I’d back up and give a more general introduction to the course.

What in the world is Hypnobabies?

It’s a childbirth preparation course designed based on the philosophy that childbirth is a normal, natural event. It does NOT have to be agonizing. Rather, we associate pain with childbirth because we’re surrounded by a culture that insists childbirth is a scary, painful time that requires being rescued by epidurals and modern medicine just to survive it.

It doesn’t have to be that way! Pregnant moms shouldn’t be afraid of their baby’s birth days. This course helps de-program the mother from all those negative connotations associated with birthing. It teaches the mother how to allow herself to deeply relax, both physically and mentally.

It also gives the mother specific tools in hypnotic anesthesia for childbearing. It’s the same sorta technique that hypnotherapists use for clients who are allergic or who otherwise cannot tolerate pain medications, but require a surgical procedure. For instance, there’s this guy who used hypnosis during his wisdom tooth extraction.

Ever get a wisdom tooth taken out? I’ve had two removed, as they were the only two wisdom teeth to develop in my tiny mouth. Anyway, I had plenty of drugs — the gas, a topical numbing agent, some sort of drink to make me not give a darn about it all, and lots and lots of Novocain.

And yet, I think about the guy who didn’t have any of those drugs. He only had his hypnosis.

So if these sorts of techniques can be used for dental work, imagine what can happen if you use a similar method for childbirth!

Now, the method used in that dental procedure is not quite the same as what I will learn in Hypnobabies.

Since childbirth is a natural event (and getting a tooth yanked out isn’t), the body is already making preparations for birth to happen.

The course was developed by a woman who was a Bradley Method instructor for a decade, and then also an instructor in the HypnoBirthing method (different from Hypnobabies!). She saw that the two methods were somewhat lacking, and set out to create a course that gave moms more tools for birthing. You might recall that I did Bradley with my preparation for Jonathan, so it’ll be interesting to do a little comparison later on.

Hypnosis for childbirth

As explained in the HB course materials, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You don’t do anything against your will. You are in complete control of what happens, and whether you accept or reject suggestions given to you while under hypnosis.

Visit the hypnosis for childbirth page on the Hypnobabies site for a lot more details.

As mentioned on that page, the HB course will teach you how the body works to get the baby out, and how the muscles involved work more efficiently when the body (and mind!) is in a relaxed state.

From the site: “Comfort in childbirth depends on much more than deep relaxation, so you are also taught the most in-depth hypnotic anesthesia techniques that exist.”

This point is key.

Some other childbirth classes do emphasize relaxation, but I think some fall short in giving moms tools on how to effectively relax and stay there — and regain your relaxation if you start to lose it. Or, they are effective at the relaxation part, but they don’t give you additional tools (like hypnotic anesthesia).

Hypnobabies doesn’t just tell you to relax — it teaches you how to relax.

So while I haven’t learned all the techniques yet, I do think that the Hypnobabies home study course will be extremely effective for my birthing.

More on the technique

The course emphasizes “eyes-open childbirth” which I think is really cool. You don’t have to be laying completely still in a bed, or have your eyes closed to still benefit from your hypnosis. Instead, you can be mobile, talking, and moving about and still use your hypnosis during your birthing.

More FAQs.

From the homestudy workbook: “In Hypnobabies, you will not be asked to chant or dance around candles. However, you will be encouraged to embrace some concepts that may at first be foreign to you, such as using your inner mind as though it were a computer, and trusting its wisdom. All I ask is that you participate in this program with an open mind. …” (page 13).

Lol! I love this statement. It sort of acknowledges that on the surface, Hypnobabies sounds sorta wacky. But ya know? I’m willing to give it a try. For one thing, I felt that the Bradley Method didn’t do enough for me during birth. I need more tools.

And for another, I’m convinced that this course is complete enough to give me what I need to have a pleasant, manageable birth. There’s also a ton of moms out there on the internet who have great birth stories to share.

About the home study

You can opt to take an in-person Hypnobabies course, which is six weeks long. Or, you can do a five-week home study (plus maintenance!). Due to scheduling and personal preference, I’m doing the home study.

I bought my course kit for about $125 shipped. I bought it during a promotion where there was a 20% off code, plus some extra MP3s thrown in.

Contents:

– Hypnobabies workbook (195 pages)
– Quick Reference and Birth Partner’s Guide booklet (39 pages)
– CDs containing 12 Hypnobabies scripts
– Big stack of misc. handouts
– I also have the “Visualize Your Hypnobabies Birth” and “The Birth Partner’s CD” which are supplemental to the course materials.

Visit this link for more information on the pack, plus descriptions of what’s on the CDs. Also on that page is an outline of the course contents for each week.

If you’d like more info, of course you can visit the main Hypnobabies page, but you can also download two tracks for free. One is an intro to Hypnobabies, and the other is called “Relax Me,” which is simply a track to help you, ya know, relax!

I haven’t listened to the relax me track in awhile, and I wasn’t a huge fan of it really. Not sure why. I’ll give it another listen, though. But the actual course materials? Loving them so far. Stay tuned for more!


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