Y'all know I'm lazy. Like, LAZY lazy. I was crap at tummy time because it was too hard to get back up again after being on the floor. I don't do Mommy and Me classes because it would involve putting on pants and showering. My baby co-slept because I didn't have to get out of bed at night to nurse her. Yeah, I'm hella lazy.
If you've been following my parenting journey then you know I had a great birth that was natural and nearly pain-free. A huge part of having such a great birth was that I used the HypnoBirthing process. I decided to give this birthing theory a try after reading about it years ago and realizing that, with my Social Anxiety Disorder, I was going to need something to help me deal with the fear and anxiety of labor and delivery. I stumbled upon this book and used it to figure out the easiest way to implement the HypnoBirthing process without feeling overwhelmed.
Here's the Lazy Bitch's Guide to HypnoBirthing:
(*If you cannot or are not having a natural birth – no judgement. As long as you are having a baby – you're doing it right.)
Come to Peace with the Pain
I think that this one was a big one that wasn't addressed enough in the book. While the HypnoBirthing process is a tool to assist you in a pain-free birth, personally, I think that you need to accept and make peace with the fact that it may not happen for you. For one, if you do feel pain (and I did a bit), this will help you not feel like a failure – and nothing is more demoralizing than feeling like that during labor. Also, in my case, with acceptance came peace. I didn't feel the need to “fight” the pain or resist it when it did happen. I accepted it as part of the process and moved on.
Learn to Relax on Command
This is straight up the #1 BIGGEST tool you will have. The entire concept of HypnoBirthing is based upon the idea that, during labor and delivery, you can focus your energy in two ways – fight your body or relax and let it do it's job. By teaching your body to relax on command, you're better able to remain calm and let your body do it's thing. This really struck a cord with me because while I was growing up, I was in musical theater and the number one thing they tell you is to rehearse until you can “do it in your sleep”. It's the same for HypnoBirthing, if you prepare yourself appropriately, you WILL be able to relax on command. And it's awesome to be able to do that instead of tensing up from fear.
Use Music (or Whatever)
One key thing of teaching your body to relax on command is to have a trigger. Much like how you automatically reach for ice cream after a meal or always have to read a book before going to bed, your body needs a signal to tell it when it's time. For me, that was music. I kept my iPod nearby and had a relaxation playlist (this one – it's not super New Age-y or plinky) that I would play when I needed it. I got to a point where all I had to do was imagine the first few notes in my head and my body would begin to lighten and relax! Heads up, this is also great for after the baby – when Melanie is flipping out in the middle of the night but won't let us help her, all I have to do is plug in my headphones and relax my way back to sleep.
Pick Your Position
There are like, a billion different positions to be in while in labor and even while delivering. Try them all and then stick with the one that allows you to focus on relaxing. For me, that was standing up but leaned over and supporting myself on something so my legs could relax. Anytime I tried to lie down or sit, I would feel pain. So standing it was. Again, doing what works and not stressing out about anything just helps you focus on relaxing.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Yes, you will need to practice HypnoBirthing. And no, if you do yoga or meditate, it will not “just happen” for you once labor starts. Like any marathon – you need to practice. I started practicing at the end of my second trimester. Every morning, I would take twenty minutes and listen to my playlist and practice relaxing my body entirely (but not falling asleep). I cannot stress enough how important it is to PRACTICE.
Bob with the Ocean
This is just a practice in visualization. HypnoBirthing is big on focusing your energies and understanding what your body is doing. For some people, when a contraction starts, they visualize themselves as a flower opening it's buds. That didn't work for me. I am not a flower. For me, I had to visualize myself in the middle of an ocean on a past Hawaii vacation. Whenever a wave would come, if I fought against it, I would drift back to shore. But, if I relaxed and allowed myself to bob with the ocean, I would stay where I was. This visualization was huge for me during labor. I was able to use it to visualize the surges (in HypnoBirthing, contractions are called surges) moving through my body like a wave and releasing the pain out through my vagina. It worked for me.
Have an Advocate
This goes for anyone even if you're not HypnoBirthing. You're going to be busy having a baby and you'll need someone in your corner willing to fight for you. It can be as simple as them answering questions so that you don't have to. It can also mean that they get between you and a doctor trying to make you change your birth plans coughmyhusbandcough. Just having an advocate who believes in you and is willing to fight for you will take so much pressure off you and allow you to, yes, focus on relaxing.
Any of you use HypnoBirthing? Any tips?