UK based Natalie Robins is a childbirth educator and mother of one. She teaches Hypnobirthing, a style of birth preparation that uses affirmations, breathing and visualizations. Many mothers, including Natalie, have used hypnotherapy to have a calm and peaceful birthing experience.
“Words used in a positive way have a dramatic affect.”
I wish it were, but Hypnobirthing’s only promise is enabling women to have the best birthing experience for themselves and their baby.
That said, many mothers do say they experience a pain-free labor and I completely believe them.
I have thought about the idea of pain recently and why some women experience it and others do not. My conclusion is pain associated with fear is a bad thing. The pain associated with childbirth is understandable when you learn the biology and physiology of labor. This is addressed in the very first session of a Hypnobirthing course. When you understand why labor can be painful, you can prepare for how to deal with the sensations you may experience, and there is no longer a need to be fearful.
So like all things in Hypnobirthing, it depends on how you view things, positively or negatively? That is what will have the biggest impact on your birthing experience and the level of “pain” you may or may not experience.
Beyond the Labor
What do you say to those who feel Hypnobirthing is “hippie” and not equal to Lamaze, Bradley and other methods?
I will be honest, I don’t know much about either of those techniques. However, I understand that they solely focus on what to do in labor, where Hypnobirthing is much more than the birth. In fact, the actual birth is probably the smallest part of the equation.
Hypnobirthing prepares you for a calm pregnancy, it helps you bond with your partner, and it informs you to make choices. It is about the practice you put in, in addition to many other things. The analogy often used is imagine preparing for a dinner party. You choose who to invite, decide the menu, buy food, prepare the food, set the table, etc. The dinner party is the easy part if you have done the preparation. That is similar to Hypnobirthing. If you put in the time, research, effort and practice, then the actual birth will be easier to get through.
I’ve listened to the Hypnobirthing audio visualizations and they’re very calming. Why are they such a big part of the practice?
The main goal of Hypnobirthing is utilizing relaxation to allow your parasympathetic nervous system to work. When listened to throughout the pregnancy, the audio meditations and affirmations have an accumulative effect. If a woman has become accustomed to relaxing to the audio, they become a trigger to help her relax. When listened to often enough, they become a woman’s reality, as opposed to the view of birth often perpetuated through television, film and other media.
“I must remember not to judge my child by other people’s expectations.”
I am so glad that you asked that question! Apart from being very proud of my birthing experience and overcoming some very real fears to achieve it; Hypnobirthing has had a great impact on how I have approached motherhood, and in fact many other areas in my life, like setting up my business!
In regards to how it has impacted my journey as a Mum, most importantly it has enabled me to trust my instincts. Hypnobirthing is not only about skills in labor but it also teaches and encourages women to take ownership of their bodies, their babies and their birth. This is not an easy thing to do at times. It takes research, guts, trust and partnership to do this. And I think that is the same when facing the challenges of parenthood. A friend of mine recently said, “I must remember not to judge my child by other people’s expectations,” and I believe Hypnobirthing taught me to do that very early on. I learned to follow my own maternal instincts… regardless of what Google may say!
Hypnobirthing is really just the powerful use of words. Words used in a positive way have a dramatic affect. I often remember this when I am talking to my daughter and I find it helps me to think of potentially stressful situations positively. For example, she will be two soon and people often refer to the “terrible twos,” but I am preparing myself for the “terrific twos.” Not because I think that there won’t be tantrums and other challenging behavior, but because it reminds me that there are reasons that all toddlers experience strong emotions and it reminds me that I am there to help her understand what is going on, not to negatively chastise her.
I read your beautiful birth story, how did having a Doula enhance your experience?
Ah, thank you! I am very proud of that story because it didn’t come easy and it wasn’t luck. Having a Doula was an integral part of how I achieved my birth. My husband was amazing throughout our practice and the birth, but having an extra pair of knowledgeable and supportive hands was brilliant for both of us. She is also an independent midwife, so I knew that I could call on her when I needed to make any decisions and that her answer would be free from hospital protocol.
What do you love the most about teaching childbirth preparation classes?
That is a really tough question to answer succinctly. Being a part of a couple’s birthing journey is probably the biggest honor I can think of. Helping women have an empowering birthing experience and enabling them to be proud of themselves and to relish in their natural superpowers is quite honestly, the best job in the world!
A mum-to-be told me after our last session, it felt as though I was “part of the team!” I was utterly overwhelmed to hear those words and I love that I am part of a growing revolution that is changing the way we approach and perceive birth. My daughter and future generations no longer have to fear something so incredible.
In 5 years, where do you see yourself as a birth professional?
I am hoping to train as a Doula! (I would be a midwife if I didn’t pass out at the sight of needles!)
All photos courtesy of Natalie Robins