Big News: My New Career as a HypnoBirthing Instructor

I have some amazing news that I have managed to share everywhere but here:

I am studying to become a Certified HypnoBirthing Instructor!

What does that mean? I’m studying information, for now, like the anatomy of the placenta (so. darn. cool.) and fetal development and pregnancy (that’s as far as I’ve gotten). I’ll be rereading my copy of HypnoBirthing by Marie Mongan. Then, during a weekend in August, I’ll be near the Catskills in New York, with other amazing women who are becoming certified or re-certified, learning how to teach pregnant women and their birth partners about the HypnoBirthing method of childbirth.

For clarification: I’m going the official HypnoBirthing Institute Mongan method route. There are several self-hypnosis birthing methods out there, but I did this one. I want to teach it because the teacher/mama/birthing partner connection was so meaningful for my family. There’s a person to answer questions, not just a book or audio tracks. I like that there’s a strict, copyrighted script for instructors to follow, with room to adapt to each couple’s needs. I LOVE that the course includes time, with your instructor, watching actual births with this method. They are gorgeously un-dramatic (very little screaming) and wonderfully mama-centered. They are climactic in only the truest sense, in the only way that birth ought to be: the baby meets the world, the parents react. There is no “OHMYGOD her water broke! Everyone run in circles!” moment. (Ok, so I have only been to my birth and seen stuff on TV and haven’t watched many births.) But watching calm births, and quite a few, meant a lot to me. Calm. Birth. Two words that should go together!

Here’s why it’s such a great fit for me: the premise of this whole HypnoBirthing thing is that if we can eliminate the fear surrounding childbirth, we can eliminate the progression from fear to tension to pain. Think about that. When we are afraid, we tense our bodies. Tense bodies hurt. There’s a lot more pain when the muscles are tensing around a baby who is trying exit a uterus via a birth canal and has either a more room in a relaxed mama’s body or no room in a very tense mama’s body. Less fear means less tension means less pain. No fear? No pain. For. Real.

For someone who has spent the best part of her adult life trying to manage anxiety and fear, the opportunity to help others manage their anxiety and fear is golden. I am thrilled. I am blessed. I’m also going to be thinking about how to relax and eliminate fear a lot. Which means I’ll be reminding myself to use all the coping mechanisms I’ve learned in general and specifically, through HypnoBirthing.

For the already initiated: my favorite thing to use almost every day is the Rainbow Relaxation. I love picturing the colors of the rainbow filling each section of my body, with violet at the top of my head, then indigo, then blue at the throat, all the way to red in the pelvic area. I am always totally floored by how many muscles I just keep in a state of tension in my face and head, alone. Seriously–I don’t need to be using my energy to keep tension in my darn scalp.

Logistics: being a HypnoBirthing instructor means spending two hours each week for five sessions with a mama and her birth partner. I am thrilled that I will be able to schedule this with the families who hire me in a way that lets me leave my baby for just a few hours at a time with his other favorites: Dad or Gram (Dad’s mom). It’s up to me how many clients I take on. I’ll be working alongside my instructor/doula, Kate, who will be celebrating her five-year anniversary by getting recertified with me in New York with the same teacher who taught her first class. The structure of the course means that if either of us has an emergency, we can fill in for each other. A couple would miss nothing if I happened to teach their third class instead of Kate.

The Doula Question: No, not yet. I’m not ready to be away from Walt for indefinite periods of time. Birth can happen any time of day or night and last a while (MUCH shorter for HypnoBirthing mamas, FYI) so for now, I’ll be referring clients who want a birth doula over to Kate, and her wonderful and growing Joyful Birth.

The Future: Yes, I do want to become a birth doula. I also would love to become a postpartum doula, further down the line. I’m totally fascinated by the idea of the HypnoBirthing fertility consultant program, but that would involve becoming a licensed hypnotherapist. So that’s really intriguing. I’m a huge believer that fear and anxiety and tension can prevent conception for years. I’ve also learned in the past few years that a shocking number of couples are given an actual diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” which I will not even give capital letters to. I want to help future parents feel that they have power before conception, during pregnancy, during birth, after birth–all of it.

The mind is so powerful. That is what this blog has been about, in so many ways. I can’t wait to share my journey with all of you!

I looked like this less than 12 hours after giving birth because I was so calm, thanks to HypnoBirthing (and because I ROCKED IT).
I looked like this fewer than 12 hours after giving birth because I was so calm, thanks to HypnoBirthing (and because I ROCKED IT).

13 Comments

  1. Sandra @onequartercrunchy.com said:

    This is amazing! It sounds like we had a very similar birth experience, although I didn’t use Hypnobirthing and would like to look into it more for my next birth. I was a little more outside of my body than I would’ve liked to have been :o). I absolutely love your blog!

    May 18, 2013
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you so much for reading!

      I had them (I don’t even know who–I just asked and it was there) play a birth visualization audio track that you get with the course (to keep). I specifically remember the phrases “pink, healthy tissue” and “my body and baby are working together in perfect harmony” helping me stay with the baby, inside, whenever I was tempted to check in with the outside world. My “team” was on that. ;)

      May 18, 2013
      Reply
  2. Lindsay Okruch said:

    This feels SO perfect for you! Natural birthing is SUCH a POWERFUL experience! What an exciting career path! <3

    May 18, 2013
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Everything is coming together in such a perfect way. I love the idea of helping other mamas on the path to an intervention-free birth! It can also be really wonderful and empowering if intervention is necessary. My instructor, Kate, had a client who ended up with an amazing C-section HypnoBirth that saved Mama and Baby. But the goal is definitely to stay on the “natural” path!

      May 19, 2013
      Reply
      • Lindsay Okruch said:

        This gives me CHILLS! I was able to photograph a friends birth and it still gives me goosebumps to think about! It’s a rewarding (albeit demanding) job! <3

        May 25, 2013
        Reply
  3. Laura Mills Nelson said:

    Hey, Anne, this is awesome! I saw your post on Facebook. Congratulations on starting this new path. I am intrigued by HypnoBirthing and plan to look into it more at some point. I have received training as a birth doula, but have no experience as of yet. Some day. Very happy for you!

    May 19, 2013
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I can totally imagine you as a birth doula, Laura! Solid as a rock. If you read the book by Marie Mongan, let me know what you think. The book vs. my experience… I’ll just say that our instructor was more down to earth.

      May 19, 2013
      Reply
  4. Jessica Smock said:

    Congratulations! I worked with a doula during my pregnancy and looked into hypnobirthing but found no doulas in my area. Can’t wait to hear your updates about your progress!

    May 20, 2013
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Not all practitioners are also doulas. They are two separate processes. For example, there’s a HypnoBirthing Center of some kind in Connecticut that teaches the classes that many of my doula friend Laurie’s clients have taken. They tell her how they want her to help them put what they learn into practice, but they hire her as a doula knowing that she’s not trained in HypnoBirthing. It’s kind of confusing!

      May 20, 2013
      Reply
  5. Becky said:

    I birthed ALL three of my kids using Hypnobirthing! The best decision of my life. My midwife (highly recommend using one, BTW) wanted me to become a midwife since she had never seen a person birth so quietly before (I do get grumpy at the end, but no yelling or screaming from me). My friend also used it for her two births and swears by it! I am looking into becoming an instructor as well. I am with you on the doula, not ready for that either. Too much time away from the family. Too much liability and schooling to become a midwife.

    October 13, 2013
    Reply
  6. Bridget said:

    Hi there,
    I’m a mom who used HypnoBirthing for my two daughters and I am interested in becoming certified this September. My hesitation is that I’m not affiliated with any midwives or OB group so I’m not sure how to generate clients. Any advice you can provide to establish a client base? I live in a suburb outside of Chicago. Training will be the first week of September in Vegas.
    Thanks so much for your help.
    Best,
    Bridget

    July 31, 2014
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Hi Bridget! I’m not affiliated with anyone, either, and it is pretty hard to generate much interest, in my area. I need to do more advertising, and leave postcards around. At any rate, the HypnoBirthing Institute is super helpful in that they list you, as soon as you’re certified, on their website! Whenever someone puts in their zipcode and you’re nearby, your contact information will show up. I’ve gotten several “leads” that way. It is a labor of love, so to speak, rather than a huge income generator, but it really is wonderful to experience the training and teaching classes.

      July 31, 2014
      Reply
  7. Bridget said:

    Hi there,
    I’m a mom who used HypnoBirthing for my two daughters and I am interested in becoming certified this September. My hesitation is that I’m not affiliated with any midwives or OB group so I’m not sure how to generate clients. Any advice you can provide to establish a client base? I live in a suburb outside of Chicago. Training will be the first week of September in Vegas.
    Thanks so much for your help.
    Best,
    Bridget

    July 31, 2014
    Reply

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