Today we have a guest contributor to the Dynamic Family Chiropractic blog.
Harriet Hancock is a mother of two, Hypnobirthing with Natal Hypnotherapy teacher, Birth Art Café Mentor and has worked for over 10 years with women in custody at HMP Holloway. She is currently training as an Emotional Freedom Technique coach.
To borrow from Jean Jacques Rousseau, “Woman is born free but everywhere in chains”. Women up and down the country are tied up in knots of what is the right or wrong way to birth, what is right or wrong for their babies, their bodies, their partners.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very pro-choice but I notice the seemingly endless choice of birth place, style, partner, ante-natal preparation etc seems to disempower more than it empowers. Why is this? It’s all about freedom and more importantly our ability to be free.
Over several years of supporting couples as they prepare for birth, I’ve noticed that often freedom sits before us like a turquoise pool on a hot day whilst we sit sweating longing for the cool, refreshing water to surround us but we feel chained to our deckchairs.
Accepting our freedom is a choice. Living our freedom takes commitment to releasing those chains, many of which have roots in our cultural and subconscious programming.
So how to you get freed up to birth confidently? Here are my 6 top tips.
1. Make the decision to be free
Choosing to birth free from fear involves just that, a choice, a decision, a commitment. Make the decision and back it up with action, baby steps if you like, that take you gently and steadfastly towards confidence and freedom.
Use affirmations written on post-its to remind you of your decision. One of my favourites is simply “I choose freedom!”
This little reminder supports me in all those little decisions that add up to a general direction in life. For example, if I’m choosing freedom, I’m going to eat healthily because when I do, I’m full of energy and my mind feels clear and free. If I choose freedom, I’m going to choose to develop my coping strategies for the discomfort of birth so that I can birth without fear of the pain.
2. Get quiet
I am very inspired by my car, yes – my car! It has “start-stop” technology meaning that when I’m at traffic lights or stuck in traffic, it switches itself off. Total calm suddenly envelopes the car at just the moment when I might otherwise be starting to stress about being late etc.
The ability to switch off quickly and effortlessly is fundamental to being able to make choices about what to do, believe, say and so on. When you add together the fast pace of life these days with a thick layer of busy thoughts about what others may think or expect of us, life between our ears can get pretty noisy. Getting quiet enables us to make choices for ourselves, free from the constant chatter. Great ways to get quiet include the self-hypnosis skills and simple breathing techniques I teach.
3. Get moving
If you’re having trouble getting quiet, being gently active is a great way to be present in your body and allow the mind chatter to soften. Using your body in ways that feel good to you is a great way to build confidence in the amazing machine that’s going to birth your baby. Yoga or walking are some of the best ways to get connected with your body in a really positive way for birth.
4. Connect with your birthing partner
Birth is an intimate process and shared with your loved one can form a truly beautiful start to your life as parents. Communicating your hopes and concerns about birth to your birth partner can leave you free to get on with birthing your baby knowing your partner can support you.
5. Get emotional support
There’s nothing quite so freeing in birth as feeling really emotionally supported by your birth partner during the birth but in pregnancy, you may wish to widen the net of support. It’s really common for women to seek support from me because their medical caregivers are telling them they have to do a certain thing or are not allowed something else. Clearly, I’m not qualified to give medical advice but I can and do support women to feel like any necessary medical care can be wrapped up in effective emotional support that enables them to feel in control.
6. Consider your birth preparation
You may feel you need to learn a few facts about birth but perhaps the most important preparation you can do is to prepare emotionally. Find a way to release any fears you may have about the birth. Hypnobirthing with Natal Hypnotherapy is one of the most accessible ways of doing this with various options available from home study with a book and downloads to a full two day Birth Preparation course.
My very best wishes to you on your journey to birth and motherhood.
Hypnobirthing with Natal Hypnotherapy is the UK’s leading Birth Preparation brand to prepare women and their birth partners for birth, supporting them to overcome fear, gain confidence and learn simple to use pain management techniques that are effective for every kind of birth.