When I signed up for a hypnobirthing course during pregnancy, the reactions were varied. People said they didn’t realise I was a “secret hippy” (whatever that is!), others rolled their eyes and told me “you know that won’t work…right?”
The scorn that others throw at hypnobirthing is that it promotes this unrealistic, idyllic version of childbirth. They think you’re expecting to deliver your gorgeous baby in 2 minutes flat and be frolicking around a wild flower meadow in a white dress mere hours later. I was often warned that I’d be left devastated if my baby’s arrival wasn’t all rainbows and lollipops.
Labour & delivery
In the interest of transparency, here is how my birth story panned out. My son refused to budge until 42 weeks, I took a taxi to hospital because hubby & his broken leg needed more assistance than I did, I narrowly avoided a crash C-Section, lost a lot of blood and the emergency button was pushed by the midwife.
And it was the absolute best birth experience I could have hoped for. Sounds crazy, right?
After only three classes and self-study time, I now tell absolutely anyone that will listen about the magic that is hypnobirthing.
And here’s why…
Hypnobirthing breeds calm
I’m not a very naturally calm person. In fact, I’m a bit of a worrier (to say the very least!). I’m also very uncomfortable in hospitals, silly given that both my parents and brother are medical professionals.
Hypnobirthing forces you to take a step back, breathe, and see how you can stay calm in any situation. My mental image of lying on a beautiful sun lounger by the crystal blue sea is what magicked me through my son’s birth but is also where I often picture myself now when I start feeling that sense of overwhelm.
When Grayson was born and first handed to me and Dave, he didn’t cry or scream. He lay there staring up at us, his eyes full of wonder at the big, wide world around him. He’s always been such a chilled little chap and I believe that his calm welcome into the world and feeding off my emotions during labour and delivery have really shaped this.
When I’m in situations where I can feel you, as parents, getting stressed that your children are being really grumpy in photos or similar, a natural calmness now takes over inside me. The calmer I get, the calmer the kids around me seem to get. It sounds crazy but it’s true.
Hypnobirthing helps you to see the positive in even the hardest situations
A lot of women head into labour with detailed birth plans stating what will or won’t happen. I realised it was totally outside my control, so mine focused on how I’d like to be involved in decision making rather than what would take place. These classes taught me that hypnobirthing definitely isn’t a guarantee of a magical intervention-free water birth. They also taught me that I would have THE BEST birth for me, on the day it happened. And I went into hospital knowing that whatever happened my positive mindset would protect me, and our son, from harm.
I believed, with 100% certainty, that I would have an easy, relaxed birth. And I did because that was my mindset. The events that transpired around me were largely irrelevant to how I felt at the time or subsequently.
Before your family photo session, I know a lot of you are nervous. You worry about your home being too dark, too small and too untidy, and about 13 million other things! But, having a mindset shift and really focusing on the positive makes me so well equipped to photograph you. Where you see problems or shortcomings, I see opportunities for making cool photos for you.
Hypnobirthing teaches you self-belief
Talk among NCT and other pregnancy friendship groups seems to revolve around talking about birth worries. Then it revolves around telling your horrendous birth stories.
Had I skipped hypnobirthing I would have happily got involved with this. Between my hate of hospitals, historical weirdness about the idea of a person living inside a person, and terrible depictions of birth in movies, I would have been straight up terrified.
The daily recordings telling me that my body knows what to do made all the difference. I genuinely surrendered to what my body knew how to do without my inner voice interfering. I near charged into that delivery suite convinced I could easily have a baby.
And I did.
Now, I believe wholeheartedly going into your photo shoot that you’ll have a great time as a family and love the photos at the end of it. And that’s true. So, I’d love you to let me come and capture your family in all its wonderful weirdness.
Hypnobirthing and everyday life
So here you have it… the lessons from hypnobirthing that I’ve been lucky enough to learn are three-fold:
1. We all have the power to choose how we react to any given situation. I could choose to feel I was robbed of the amazing water birth at home that I would have loved. Or I could choose to feel that I had an amazing birth experience which delivered my son safely to me. I’ll go with the latter, thanks!
2. Patience really is a virtue. This feeds into my photography too as it helps me anticipate and wait to get the photos you want. But it’s such a good life skill which I was sorely lacking before.
3. Amazing doesn’t need perfection. Grayson’s birth wasn’t textbook perfect but it was such an incredible and powerful moment in our family’s journey. This rings true to me for photo sessions too. There is nothing perfect about our lives, but everything amazing about them. Waiting for the perfect will only delay you seeing the amazing of your everyday captured in photos.
There is always something awesome to be found in the unexpected of your life.