Updated: Oct 26, 2022
It was 2015 and I got that all important blue line on the positive pregnancy test. I was 42 back then. In some of my earlier blogs, I talked about the difficulties my partner and I faced in carrying full term. We suffered 4 miscarriages and carried full term on the fifth. So, whilst being super excited, we were both super anxious too.
I was on edge with anxiety throughout the entire pregnancy. I feared losing our baby every single day. I had a scan every 2 weeks and I was on edge with anxiety at every single one of them; fearing those dreadful words that nobody ever wants to hear but sadly many people do hear at scans - "no heartbeat".
As it got closer to the due date, I really started to fear the birthing process. I was nervous as hell and I was getting myself in a real state. I was thinking I would be that one person who died giving birth or something else serious would happen. I feared my age would cause problems. I thought I was too old. I couldn't cope and it was really getting the better of me. I didn't talk to anybody about it, I felt really dramatic and just thought it best to keep my fears in my head.
During one of the parent group meetings we had, we were given a pack of booklets and information leaflets. In it was a leaflet about hypno-birthing. I had no idea what it was but I started to research it. I really bought in to the key concepts of it I.E. removing fear and believing that my body was able to manage the pain and therefore avoid taking pain relief medications.
I contacted the lovely lady who ran a business from her own home. I think I was about 5 weeks away from my due date at the time so it was a bit late to start bringing the concepts of hypnobirthing in to it. However, she had a think about it and then called me back the next day to say, she had found a way to slot it all in to the short window we had remaining. She explained that we would need to have some long intensive sessions but I was 100% up for it. I knew it was the right thing to do. Now to work on my partner!! He thought I was a little bit crazy but actually he took it really well and was all for supporting me with my anxiety linked to birthing. Although he firmly reminded me that nobody would be hypnotising him :)
We followed the Marie Mongan method and it was just fabulous. We were given a book to read (book is available here on Amazon). And then we received some Mp3 files containing positive affirmations and meditation music. We revisited her home for more sessions until completing them with around 1 week before our due date. Throughout the sessions, we took home various handouts to work on at home, mostly positive affirmations.
The whole experience was so heart-warming and really very positive. Its something I would recommend to all new parents. It completely transformed my mindset from fear to positivity and enjoyment with an air of excitement. I was like a different person throughout and following the hypnobirthing sessions.
The main focus of hypnobirthing is to birth naturally but this wasn't my main goal at that point. My main goal was to eradicate the fear of losing my baby or even my own life during birth. However, as time progressed, I totally bought in to the whole idea of a natural birth. As women, our bodies are built in such a way as to support this very natural process. There was an example used in the hypnobirthing book about cows - when cows are birthing you don't see them screaming in sheer pain, and being really dramatic, they simply take themselves off to somewhere quiet, go in themselves, and get on with the process. This really stuck with me.
So, my birthing plan became something like this;
1) Stay at home as long as I could
2) When contractions were whatever frequency I decided on - can't quite remember that now - head over to the hospital
3) Avoid internal checks on centimetres dilated
4) Give birth in the birthing pool
5) Have candles and calmness throughout, playing the positive affirmations and meditation music provided via the mp3 files
I was under no illusion though that if I needed surgery or medications I would 100% do it.
We absolutely nailed it, and everything went according to plan. The team at the hospital were trying to send me home!!! They said there was no way I could be close to giving birth because I was too calm and able to talk. In less than 50 minutes from them saying this, I'd given birth to our little fella in the birthing pool. It was unbelievable. Very calm, very collected and I just got on with it. My partner was there throughout, putting freezing cold flannels on the top of my back and shoulder area. It was a truly amazing experience. We were given techniques to use on how to get the baby out during those really intense moments - visualisation techniques for "opening up" and "releasing" for instance. We had tools in our toolkits.
After we had settled in to place with our new bundle of joy, the midwives came in and said they couldn't believe how beautiful the birth was. They said they'd never seen one like that before, with how calm and relaxed I was. They expected to be there for hours but once I was in the pool it all happened really quickly. It was a truly magical experience and one I will never forget.
Before giving birth, I remember people were telling me to just take all the meds I could get. I would never judge anybody who has done and will do that. It's each to their own, but, for me, there was something deep inside telling me I could do it without. I can't explain it but it was a very strong feeling. I'm glad I listened to my body and picked up the phone to Grace, my hypnobirthing wizard.
From that point onwards, my fascination with holistic and naturopathic methodologies grew. I really believe there is a place for modern medicine, I'm not dissing it at all, but I also believe that its far too easily dished out when it doesn't need to be. I don't know the costs of epidurals and gas and air but I do wonder whether the cost of hypnobirthing is comparable, and could be offered as an alternative method. With the meds being offered as plan B only if essential.
Its really easy to press on with things and forget about major events in our lives. It's been nice reflecting on this and writing about it because I'd forgotten about it. When people ask how I got in to Health Coaching, I often refer back to this time because I do really believe it was the first time my eyes were opened to the idea that allopathic medicine isn't the only option.
Author: Amanda Robinson dipCNM, ANP, UKHCA. Amanda is a qualified health coach who graduated with a health coach diploma from the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London. A member of the UK Health Coach Association and Association of Naturopathic Practitioners. She is the founder of Health Steps www.healthsteps.co.uk. If you would like to chat with Amanda about how she can help you with your Health and Wellness you can email her at email@example.com