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!