Somewhere between running after a crazy two year old and supercharged anxiety around my post caesarean birth I discovered hypnobirthing. Ever since my life, my thoughts and my newsfeed has been full of pregnant ladies, babies, and empowered births.
No wonder I’m pregnant for a third time!
But now I’m a pregnant hypnobirthing teacher therefore I must be informed, empowered, and ready to badass birth – right?
Well sort of!
I don’t feel pregnancy is all hearts and bunnies.
I have bad thoughts! My mind is not a castle of calm the negative nelly’s invade here too. My big trigger is breech due to my undiagnosed frank breech boy being the reason behind my emergency caesarean. Understandably positioning is my obsession. As I write this I’m worried that I’m 31 weeks and baby is breech. Now I KNOW my baby has time to turn. I KNOW that there is a lot I can do to help positioning. Never the less there is something within me which this triggers and sends my anxiety switch to crazy.
I’m scared of my birth.
Should I really admit this too? Who the fluff knows but it’s true. Actually it is not my body and birth which scares me more so the not knowing of birth. The will I need a caesarean if this one doesn’t flip? Will I get the home birth I’m visualising? Will I be transferred to hospital by blue flashies? It’s not the pain as I know that with the right support and environment my body is perfectly able to birth in comfort. It’s all those exceptional circumstances. What if the midwives can’t attend? What if I birth before anyone gets here? What if I haven’t thought of other important what ifs?
Yes I practically meditate for a living but I need to practice too.
I teach hypnobirthing, jeez, I even specialise in teaching mothers like me who have birthed previously by caesarean. I know the book and the MP3s like the back of my hand, but that doesn’t mean that my mindset doesn’t need assistance. That doesn’t mean I do not have fears that need releasing (see above to reference my imperfect mind). I still need to read my book, brief my birth partner, and meditate daily with MP3s, and fill my mind with positive affirmations. Ultimately positivity, especially for pregnancy, is a journey not a destination. Which brings me to my next point. It is not only about knowledge. Preparation is also about support.
I need help.
I’m the worst for listing physical things I want and missing out on experiences. Can I blame my council house upbringing where thrift meant seeing what you got for your pounds? I have the knowledge but I need my supportive doula. More that I need a new buggy, or s side cot I’m not even sure I’d use, or all new baby clothes. I have the info but I need that back up. Those suggestions. That safety net. And it’s not just my doula. I need my spinning babies instructor to help optimal positioning. A closing the bones practitioner to help me in the all important, all but forgotten, post-natal period so I can heal. And more than that. One thing that being a birth worker has shown me is how precious the birth listeners, pregnancy yoga teachers, lactation consultants, and baby wearing experts are, if I need them too. And that these are not all for the hugely rich. Most of us will not need them all. But if we do need them they are worth their weight in gold for the richness they bring to our lives.
That birth is beautiful, raw, and normal.
My nan is the second eldest of 9 children. She would wake to find her mum had birthed overnight and there was another baby. It was just normal. The only time I really saw birth was on telly. I particularly remember Sonya’s on EastEnders, which was of course heart jerkily melodramatic. But as a birth worker even before I was pregnant for the third time my newsfeed was full of beautiful images of birth. I’ve heard a lot of stories, not things always going as planned but ultimately that you can have a positive experience no matter what happens. My views on a lot of the less spoken about parts of birth, such as placentas and vernix, are the opposite of what we traditionally think in the west. This is such proof that if you surround yourself with the beauty of birth your will subconsciously believe that birth is raw and that is part of it’s beauty. Growing and birthing babies is what we as women can do and to shy away from that fact is to shy away from our majesty.
That I’m probably a hippie.
I remember telling my friends I was practicing hypnobirthing for my first VBAC, and saw their faces as I talked about golden light, I insisted that it wasn’t hippie nonsense. When I first trained with The Wise Hippo to teach their birthing programme I found how logically useful it was and how we are working with the science of the mind. I felt that I now knew it wasn’t hippie nonsense. But being pregnant again has help me finalise a conclusion which I was already coming to. That there is something undeniably instinctive, unexplainable, spiritual and mysterious about birth. There is something special about pregnancy, birth and that mother child bond. I’m allowing myself to embrace the mysterious miracle of growing a brand new person. To allow the raw power that is birth. And if that makes me (an eyebrow drawing, Mcdonald munching, regular hair coloured girl from the Home Counties) a hippie. Well then I’m a hippie and proud to be one.
My biggest confession.
I LOVE IT ALL!
I love being pregnant. I believe that I am blessed to be pregnant. I love the feeling of the squiggly person being created within me. And even more. I think that though there are, of course, negatives to birth and pregnancy, as in life, it is still an awesome once in a life time experience (even if we do it more than once each time is special in itself). Also that all the meditation I’ve taught and practiced with The Wise Hippo is so very valuable because I had tools to turn to when my anxiety switch was clicked. I had a ladder to bring me to higher ground. I have support to cry to, to rant to and to restore me. It may have taken time but I still was able to feel better about my worries. Positivity is not about never having a negative thought. It’s about accepting the negative and not letting it cloud the light.