So, as it's Halloween I thought we could talk a little about fears. . . ghosts and ghouls, zombies, vampires, werewolves and. . . you guessed it. . . birth!!!
We'll all recognise the familiar panic in the middle of the night that there is something nasty lurking underneath our bed after watching a horror movie or reading a scary book. And how many of you have had the same feeling of dread wash over you at the thought of childbirth?
Can't see how birth can be linked to these imaginary beasts? Well there is in fact a massive link between them and this is that they are all IMAGINED fears. An imagined fear is just what it says on the tin, a fear which we have created in our own minds. We all know that vampires and werewolves and zombies don't actually exist, but it doesn't stop our adrenaline fueled, panicked reaction when we are lying in the dark, recounting all the nasties who could be waiting for us if we dare step out of bed to go for a wee!
But birth is a real event I hear you cry. . .
Well yes, birth is real, in fact it happens every day (353,000 times a day actually according to UNICEF). And what is the product of birth? Beautiful, cuddly, squidgy babies (not so scary really eh?!)
Recent studies have found that up to 30% of women suffer from a serious phobia of giving birth. But why are we as a society so frightened of the most natural process in the world? Because it's dangerous, upsetting, traumatizing, unbearable? Nope, nope, nope and nope! The human race wouldn't have survived and thrived as it has if birth was as risky and horrific as we make it out to be. For healthy women and babies, birth is safe and completely natural. Of course there are instances where medical help is needed and it is absolutely wonderful that we have that facility available to us. But this is not the norm, and somehow this is how we have come to view childbirth- as an emergency which needs immediate medical attention.
When we get told something enough, that thought will enter our subconscious mind, the area which keeps all our memories. Meaning these thoughts can be dredged up at any time with even just a quick mention. We have been told for so many years that birth is to be feared (through birth stories, word of mouth and the media portrayal of birth) that our subconscious views birth exactly as it has been trained to.
Ironically, the more fear and tension we hold during labour, the more likely that labour will be longer and more painful. This is because when fear is brought into the mix, rather than the wonderful cocktail of hormones necessary for facilitating a gentle and easy birth, our bodies are flooded with adrenaline. Adrenaline directs blood away from the uterus where it is really needed, causing contractions to be less efficient and therefore lengthening labour. And fear also inhibits the release of endorphins which are our bodies natural, powerful painkillers which are in abundance during labour to make it more comfortable (amazing, our bodies have thought of everything right?!)
So how can we change our views on childbirth?
Firstly, we educate ourselves about the natural process of pregnancy and labour, how our bodies are designed so perfectly for this journey and why it is a safe and normal action.
Secondly we find positive reports about birth. One thing I have found is that they are not spoken of in the day to day, but when you look for them, there is a wealth of positivity surrounding birth out there (you just have to know where to look). This on the whole I feel is due to women being more than happy to indulge in a bit of one-upmanship when it comes to birth stories and wanting to share their horror story with any newly pregnant lady they happen to come across (most of the time as they feel they are being helpful in 'preparing you for what to expect') When we fill our worlds and minds with positive thoughts surrounding birth, eventually, our subconscious minds will start to view it in a different way and when birth is mentioned, rather than conjuring up the previous negative ideas we held, we will see the new positives we have learnt.
Lastly, we learn how to relax. How to relax deeply and easily and in any situation. When we are relaxed in labour, all of those magical hormones come into play which help us on the way to having a calm and comfortable birth.
If you would like to fully prepare for your birth, with great relaxation techniques, fear release and confidence building exercises and a wealth of knowledge and support to help you achieve the birth you want then why not consider a KG Hypnobirthing course with Little Hearts Hypnobirthing?
Contact us for more details of how you can start your positive journey into parenthood today.
Emma Batt, Hypnobirthing Mother of one and KG Hypnobirthing teacher.