This is how we, at Small Acorn, think hypnobirthing should always be introduced, because the name hypnobirthing does it absolutely no favours and probably repulses more people than it attracts. It has an air of sandal wearing, muesli munching, vagina whispering and Kumbayah singing! When in actual fact, it’s science based, straight forward, no-nonsense and completely logical once you understand the basic concepts.
The frustrating thing with the pre-judgment, is that hypnobirthing, at least the way we teach it, can help and has helped contribute towards many amazing births.
So what are we defining as an amazing birth?
An amazing birth is completely in the eye of the beholder – it’s knowing that you had the best birth for you, on the day! Nothing more and nothing less.
Being week 101, we thought what better a time to give you an introduction to Hypnobirthing or “Small Acorn’s Hypnobirthing 101”.
Now to be fully open and honest, some hypnobirthing teachings do include lots of hippy bullshit. Some only teach you the “hypno” part, whilst others are prescriptive in their advice, or have an unrealistic view of birth – the way it is taught is pretty much up to the teacher.
Some hypnobirthing teachers are completely woo woo, full-on sandal wearing hippies, completely in tune with their auras and love to talk to their vaginas! You need to find a teacher that matches your style, so if that’s what you like, go for it – that’s just not us!
We are anything but! Jamie is about as un-hippy as it gets and has an almost “anti-hippy radar” finding that woo woo often repels him. Bev is a little more crunchy, she does own sandals, but is yet to start talking to her vagina…
The only reason we even considered hypnobirthing in the first place was because we were introduced to it using the exact words – “This is not hippy bullshit”. You can check out that story here. If it wasn’t for that blunt introduction, we probably wouldn’t have fallen into the rabbit hole of the birth world, which has now become Bev’s full-time occupation and passion, and it has now become our joint mission to make birth education available to as many people as we can.
The thing is… much of the perceived hippy nonsense around birth can be backed up with good hard evidence, If only it wasn’t wrapped up in tie-dye! That’s what we love about it, so much of what we teach is based upon hard, indisputable facts.
So why the hell is it called “hypno” birthing?
The “hypno” in hypnobirthing refers to hypnosis. Nothing like the stage hypnosis many will be thinking of, with people clucking like a chicken or eating an onion whilst believing it’s an apple. Its self-hypnosis! Self hypnosis is very similar to – if not the same as (opinions vary) – guided meditation. Guided meditation has become popular nowadays with apps such as Calm, Headspace and many others providing people with some much needed time out from daily pressures.
This self hypnosis is a normal state of mind – one that we drift into, and out of, multiple times a day. In this state you are more adaptable and open on a subconscious level. It allows our conscious minds to wander while our bodies carry out everyday tasks, meaning we are never ‘under the influence’ of someone or something else! Have you ever travelled a familiar journey, arrived at your destination and remembered very little of the journey? If so, you were in a state of self hypnosis!
Hypnobirthing uses these same principles to help women access this state mind, whilst specifically focussing upon messages for a calm pregnancy and birth.
That’s not all…
As part of the self hypnosis, a mother is taught to focus on herself and her body, and shut off the outside world. That means she needs an advocate, most likely dad, to act as an intermediary. Dads are crazy important at birth, especially when it comes to hypnobirthing.
In our experience, we believe that at times, it can be the dads that can make or break a mum’s birth experience. Hypnobirthing makes sure that dads are fully prepared, ready to support Mum and act as her advocate, taking care of every other aspect – the birth environment, ensuring Mum’s comfort, communicating with professionals, and timing contractions or surges etc.
At Small Acorn, we take it one step further, incorporating the teachings of Mark Harris – male midwife of 20+ years – including his book and online course, Birthing4Blokes, in our courses.
BONUS FACT TIME – Did you know that new dads can experience hormone changes too, both during pregnancy and after birth, some new dads even make new neurons.
There’s still more…
Teaching the “hypno” part is great, but stopping there would be remiss of us. As part of the hypnobirthing course that we run, you get a complete birth education, which in our opinion is the key factor for a successful birth. Leaving the learning out would be like asking you to order food at a restaurant without showing you the menu – you can’t expect to make good choices if you don’t know what they are!
Helping women to let go of fears they may have around birth is another key point. We have spent most of our lives surrounded by negative birth portrayals, some of which your conscious mind may not be aware of, but your subconscious will. Unhelpful subconscious thoughts and feelings can be replaced with helpful ones, so parents are confident, relaxed and look forward to giving birth.
The unknown is always more scary and without releasing these fears, a woman’s body cannot birth effectively. Check out this infographic . . .
Much like the other involuntary muscles in your body – your heart or digestive system – your uterus doesn’t require conscious thought to function effectively. The associations you have with labour and birth are more positive and as a result your brain doesn’t feel the need to protect you from giving birth. The hormonal shifts that women take through labour can be hindered through the hormones produced when feeling fearful. It makes sense that a calm, confident mother would experience a more satisfying labour and birth.
For us, at Small Acorn, hypnobirthing is all encompassing, not just restricted to the birth. It’s an incredible tool throughout pregnancy, for both mums and dads to be. We believe it should also be much more than that, which is why we specifically cover the fourth trimester (the first 90 days after a baby is born), the most vulnerable and transformational part of the entire journey. Our hope is to lessen this abrupt change – becoming a parent is full on! Providing tools, evidence, and support to help this transition is key to a smooth fourth trimester and can make or break many aspects of it. Support is key to this entire process which is why we provide FREE SUPPORT FOREVER, to all of our hypnobirthing parents.
We hope to plant Small Acorns for all of our couples as they move from pregnancy into parenthood, taking all the skills they’ve learnt with us – based on evidence, empathy and proven techniques – and use them to become amazing parents.