When you tell someone that you’re going to take HypnoBirthing classes the reaction is pretty much always the same. A confused look with a raised eyebrow and general concern. “Are you going to hypnotise yourself?” “Is that safe?” The answer to both of those is yes.

Are you imagining a heavily preggo lady watching a swinging clock watch until she goes under? Yeah so it’s not quite like that. You are still awake but instead you surrender your mind to your body which is something we should all try to do on the regular apparently.

The concept of mindlessness has recently become trendy but has been around for centuries – it’s just that we have to make a conscious effort to do it these days because our lives are so full of noise. This is exactly the same for birthing. A woman’s body knows how to birth but often the process is hindered because we go into the experience with so much fear.

Because sometimes you just want to paint your belly and hang out in a forest…

HypnoBirthing is about acknowledging and eliminating that fear so that no matter what path your birth takes, whether it’s a natural home birth or emergency C section that the woman goes into it feeling confident in her body’s (and baby’s) abilities. This may sound like mumbo jumbo to some mums who have been there and had awful births but after speaking with mums who’ve taken the classes you can see that they work.

One of my friends who put us onto HypnoBirthing even went as far as to say she’d like to experience her birth all over again it was that positive. When she said that it was like music to my ears because if you’ve ever been pregnant you’ll know that your growing bump is basically an invitation for other woman to come up and tell you their (or their friend’s/sister’s/mum’s) horror stories. Combine this with the fact that every birth you see on TV or in the movies involves swearing, red faced, women screaming in pain and you get an idea why we have this inbuilt fear in us.

What to expect when you’re expecting… according to Hollywood

The great thing about the classes is that they teach you techniques that are useful in everyday life. We all know that taking time to fully relax, tune out and breathe deeply is good for us but how often do we actually do it? HypnoBirthing has motivated me to incorporate those things into my daily routine and I feel a lot more zen because of it.

At first it seemed like such a struggle to get to the classes which were on a Tuesday evening between 7 and 9.15 which may as well be midnight – 3.30am when you’re pregnant. Honestly though, we ended up looking forward to them because you spend most of the class being treated to massages from your partner,  listening to relaxation tracks and just generally chilling out. You also learn enough about the physical side of things that you feel mentally prepared for what’s to come.

This is the book we followed but the classes are a bit more practical

Our classes always started with a real birth story from past students. They varied hugely but all were overwhelmingly positive and this is so what you need when you’re pregnant because you’re constantly bombarded with the negatives. How many times has someone made a gag about pushing a rock melon out your nether regions or delighted in telling you that no matter how tired you are now that it’s going to get worse?

Not a day goes by that someone won’t try to rain on your parade as parents to be and yes it’s true that we’re not sure what our birth and baby will bring but at least we’re looking forward to both with excitement rather than fear.

So do I think HypnoBirthing is worth it? I guess you’ll have to take my opinion with a grain of salt given that I haven’t actually given birth yet but to be honest, I think it’s a great thing for you to do not only for yourself but also your partner during pregnancy. The classes totally empower birth partners so that they go from helpless bystanders to crucial support figures and I feel much more confident knowing that Tom is by my side. The birth is very much going to be about us working as a team as opposed to all on me which is not only a huge comfort but how it should be – it takes two to make a baby and it just makes sense that if it’s possible, both of you should help them out into the world.

If you’re in Auckland and interested in giving HypnoBirthing a go then check out Positive Births. Our tiny tutor Helen told us of her own birth stories including her experience giving birth to a baby boy who was almost the length of her wee body (!) and she’s awesome.

UPDATE: We’ve since welcomed our baby boy into the world and you can read our birthing story here.

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