So you’re ready to take the step into birth preparation and loving the sound of the Hypnobirthing Australia™ Positive Birth Program – but your birth partner seems skeptical.
It sounds weird, it sounds hippy, it’s another seemingly unnecessary expense, you could just go with the flow or attend the hospital classes, right?
Birth is a huge event that will take place in your life and the importance of birth preparation through independent childbirth education (CBE) should not be underestimated. Your partner wouldn’t be the first or only one to come along with apprehension but there is a lot of power in both the birthing woman and partner taking time to prepare.
The Positive Birth Program isn’t just about natural, unmedicated birth. It’s core is really helping you understand what your positive birth will look like and steps you can take to work towards it. It’s about creating a feeling. Something that you can experience no matter how birth progresses. Do you want to feel supported, confident, powerful, in control of decisions that relate to your pregnancy and labour care? Then you’re in the right place!
So why the resistance?
In my experience, I’ve found there are a few common reasons for a lack of thought around birth preparation or resistance to committing to independent CBE from birth partners.
These reasons don’t make them bad people and this blog post isn’t to shame anyone.
Part of what I teach is that ‘knowledge is power’. By addressing some of the common reasons for resistance, I hope to bring more awareness around the importance of birth preparation for both the birthing mother and birthing partner.
So let’s dive in to the top 5 most common reasons for resistance….
1. It’s to ‘woo-woo’
I get it! I really do. I had the same thought when I first heard the term ‘hypnobirthing’. So let’s explore this…
Yes – we do use self-hypnosis as part of the program. But for good reason.
It is a tool used to quickly change any negative subconscious beliefs or fears you may have around birth. To change these fear based thoughts, you need to rewire your neural pathways in your brain – by strengthening positive beliefs you weaken negative ones. This can take time so we use self-hypnosis to speed the process up by shutting off your conscious mind and sending messages straight to your subconscious.
Self-hypnosis is also used to help the birthing woman get into a really deep state of relaxation. We need to be in a relaxed state instead of a fearful fight/flight/freeze/appease state to be guided by our natural birthing instincts. We discuss this in a lot of detail as part of the Positive Birth Program.
The other elements that may seem woo-woo are affirmations or visualisations. But what about if we frame these tools in the context of a peak performance athlete?
It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.Muhammad Ali
So Muhammad Ali uses affirmations! Awesome! But what about visualisations…
According to peaksports.com, ‘Whether you realize it or not, you visualize during sports or mentally rehearse naturally. Everyone thinks in pictures…Guided visualization or imagery is purposely rehearsing a skill, routine or performance in your mind’s eye to program your body for success.’
So affirmations lead to belief and visualisations lead to programming your body for success. Incredibly powerful stuff!
Still not convinced? Check out my favourite, easy to digest YouTube clip on neuroplasticity.
2. It’s too expensive
I don’t like talking about this because where you decide to prioritize your money is none of my business. But this is something I often hear so it would be remiss of me to not include it in this blog post.
When I hear this, all it tells me is they don’t see the value in the program. They don’t understand just how important this form of birth preparation is.
But here is a sobering fact – 1 in 3 women in Australia will experience birth trauma. Read that again and let it sink in. One in three!
According to PANDA ‘our responses to the birthing process are often influenced by what else has happened in our lives – previous experiences that we bring to the birth…[which may include a] lack of understanding around the birthing process’
Ask your Mum about how her births went. Ask your Nana. They may not be able to recall all the details but I’d bet they will remember how they felt. The way that you feel during childbirth will stay with you for a lifetime, whether that is positive or negative.
So can you really afford not to do it?
My services start at just $199. It’s really not that big of an investment when you consider the thousands of dollars that can easy be spent on cots, prams, car seats and baby clothes they hardly wear. Can you trim some fat somewhere else?
Is it truly not in your budget? I get it, it’s an expensive time. How about asking family and friends to chip in as a baby shower gift instead?
3. Independent vs hospital classes
One common reason for partners not wanting to attend independent CBE is because you will have access to hospital antenatal classes. Let’s explore some statistics on the difference between parents who only attended hospital antenatal classes vs those that engaged in independent CBE:
“…when women and partners understood physiological birth and had adequate preparation, they came to view medicine as a back up, if needed, not as the first line of support. The couple needed to have their own tools and ways to support themselves during birth”Dr Kate Levett
These statistics speak for themselves that hospital antenatal classes alone aren’t sufficient for birth preparation. The content I teach in the Positive Birth Program is in no way influenced by hospital policies. Hospital policies are often based on outdated research, aren’t always woman centered and vary hospital to hospital.
4. They think a ‘go with the flow approach’ is best
I’m going to break it to you – there is no such thing as ‘going with the flow’ during birth. You will be led and guided by whatever policies are in place at your chosen hospital.
In this article Dr Elizabeth Newnham says that, with this approach, parents go “with the institutional flow rather than the physiological flow”. That institutional momentum favours the use of technology and timely interventions, to be on the safe side. “The paradox is that in trying to eliminate risk, they create other risks,” says Dr Newnham.
The same article also talks about the cascade of interventions that often eventuates during a ‘go with the flow’ approach, saying….
One intervention can start a cascade of others. For instance, induction may make contractions more painful, leading to use of an epidural, which can lengthen labour and decrease the efficiency of the woman’s pushing, which increases the need for an instrumental delivery or even an emergency Caesarean.
Does this mean the Hypnobirthing Australia™ Positive Birth Program only teaches about natural, unmedicated birth? Absolutely not!
Of course birth can be unpredictable so I teach you skills to make educated, informed decisions along the way that are the best for your personal circumstances. Remember this – if you don’t know your options, you don’t have any!
5. They are consciously or subconsciously fearful
It could be a fear inducing thought to picture seeing someone you love in ‘intense pain’ and think there is nothing you can do to help.
But this is a ‘head in the sand’ approach that won’t serve either of you when it comes time to give birth. By the time the birth comes around, it’s too late to try and learn anything. It’s not up to the midwives to educate, show and guide your partner at that time.
Knowledge is power! By taking the time to prepare for birth, it helps to remove the fear of the unknown.
Once birth partners have attended my course, they realise there is actually a lot that they are responsible for and have a really active role in supporting their loved one through labour and birth. They feel empowered to take that active role on.
They come away with a range of hands on tools as well as information on how to support and protect the birthing environment (as well as why all of this support is essential).
There is so much support that a partner can provide a birthing woman but there needs to be a commitment to learn and practice the tools before the moments when they are needed.
“…the value of labour support was key. A partner enabled a safe space, where the woman could go into the zone, using breathing, visualisation, active positions and water; the partner supported her with tools like massage and acupressure. It was about understanding the natural physiology and not being scared of it”.Dr Kate Levett
So what will you actually learn?
First off – the Positive Birth Program is a comprehensive independent childbirth education program backed by science and taken from up-to-date evidence based research.
My courses contain 4 units covering:
- Creating and maintaining a positive mindset
- Our toolkit for birth
- Preparation and choices for empowered birthing
- Birth – bringing it all together
If you want to know exactly what is taught in each of the units, click here for the full course outline.
Feedback from Dads I have taught:
Not having any idea about the course or in general not much idea about birth, the course helped me to understand it and find ways to help Giulia before and during the birth of our baby. You presented everything very well and certainly showed us some ways in how birth can be a positive and happy experience for all of us. Thank you very much for that.Hypno-Dad Tino
“Luke said he got heaps out of it and it has already prompted lots of discussions around birth and what my preferences are. Thanks!’Hypno-Mum Alex
“Could not speak more highly for Kirryn and the course she provided my wife and I. It can feel quite intimidating and overwhelming facing the birth of your child while “sitting on the sidelines”. This course taught me multiple ways to contribute and support my wife rather than the old squeeze my hand routine of old. I would recommend this to anyone”Hypno-Dad Liam
I hope this has taken away some of the mystery or fear surrounding hypnobirthing and shed some light on why independent childbirth education is so important.