So if you've had the pleasure of hearing my first birth story, you'll know that it was, well, traumatic. I won't get into the details now but long story short, I went into a panic, had suicidal thoughts and ended-up having a negative birth experience. This in turn made me feel inadequate, weak and depressed.
So naturally, with that as my first childbirth experience, when I got pregnant again, I began to seriously worry about delivering my second child, Ali. Everyone told me that your first birth is always the worst and that it will be easier the second time round but I wasn't really convinced. I had some deeply-rooted fears that I just couldn't shake off until a friend of mine suggested looking into hypnobirthing. This wasn't the first time that I'd heard about it, but I had dismissed it in the past because it just sounded like a hippy, pseudo-science kind of thing.
This time though, I decided to give it go.
Now, if the word 'hybnobirthing' brings these sorts of images into your mind:
Then rest assured, no hocus pocus is involved.
Hypnobirthing simply teaches you breathing, visualisation and relaxation techniques that help you avoid entering a panic, stress, pain cycle during childbirth (what happened to me with Maryam). The idea isn't to completely eliminate pain, although some people do claim this, but to help you manage the pain better and have an easier birth. Hypnobirthing talks alot about the effect of adrenaline/stress on your body and contractions and encourage women to relax through various techniques.
I watched loads of women on YouTube put hypnobirthing techniques into practice and it made a lot of sense to me so I began practising breathing techniques, learning about the different phases of labour and how to deal with each stage. Then I put together all the things I knew would help keep me calm-ish- including lavender essential oil spray, music and Quran playlist, swimsuit for labouring in the shower and a baggy with Maryam's baby pic and some of Ali's clothes to, you know, keep me focused on the prize ahead. People told me that when things start to get tough, I'm not going to use any of these things but I can proudly say that I did- minus the baggy. I even laboured for quite a long time in the shower, which was incredible- made me feel super maternal and zen.
But was my birth painful: hell yes.
But mentally I was strong.
Unlike Maryam's birth, there was no panic and fear. Yes I screamed my head-off. Yes, there were times I wanted to give-up- and said so to my midwives. But there was no emotional/mental pain. This is something I learned from hypnobirthing:
Physical discomfort and pain is normal. Mental suffering is not.
In the end, I was able to give birth without entering that dark mental space I was in with Maryam. I had an unmedicated, natural birth, which was always my goal with both kids, and it was overall a positive experience. The pain didn't stop it from being a positive birth. Whereas, although I ended-up having an epidural with Maryam, that birth wasn't a positive one.
Most importantly, what I learned from my second birth, is that knowledge is empowering. Understanding my body, watching positive birth stories and preparing for my childbirth made a huge difference. Just think about it. How scary is it to deliver a baby, feel all those new sensations, all that pain when you don't understand your body or what's happening to it. It's so scary.
So would I recommend hypnobirthing? YAAAS.
I'm really thankful to have given hypnobirthing techniques a chance and it's definitely something I would recommend and use for any future pregnancies. Try it ladies. Even if it doesn't work for you, it certainly won't hurt.
That's it for this week. Thanks for reading guys! As always I love hearing your thoughts so drop your comments down below!