When I tell people my birth story I am very often left with inquisitive looks, or moans of doubt, sometimes people tell me they don’t believe me, others tell me it was a fluke or that I have a high pain threshold. Aside from the fact that I despise how this devalues my experience & calls into question my integrity, what it also does is remind me how dismissive I have been in my past as well.
That old adage of walking in another person’s shoes rings true for me. If I cast my mind back before the time when I knew how fabulous & amazing HypnoBirthing was, when I was more close-minded. How would I have reacted to someone who told me they had a pain-free birth? What would I have thought if someone told me they had an amazing birth experience, that they felt euphoric? It is very likely I would have raised my eyebrows, smiled & changed the subject, maybe I would have scoffed. I hope that I would have been gracious & accepting of their experiences & advice, but really I don’t know.
In my BH life (Before HypnoBirthing), I had heard so many birth stories. From family, even my own mother, to those of perfect strangers & not once did I walk away from a story & think that it sounded like an amazing experience. Not once did I think, “WOW I want to do THAT”! Sure I thought I might like to have a baby one day, I’ll admit I seriously considered adoption as opposed to birthing my own child, I was THAT terrified of birthing. There’s every chance that had my husband not wanted to have children of his own that this may very well have been the path we would have gone down. But when the reality of having my own child, birthing it out of my body, through my vagina dawned on me, I was truly & utterly terrified. Pooing my pants, sweaty arm pits, dry mouthed terrified.
Fortunately at the time I was studying a Nutritional Medicine degree & was exposed to a multitude of ‘alternative’ therapies & HypnoBirthing came highly recommended. On paper it seemed to address all of my issues: fear, anxiety, a need to be informed, calmness, tools for my husband. In practice it delivered. We walked away from our classes filled with excitement, trust & empowerment about the birth of our first baby. I felt confident that I could birth this baby the way I was designed to & that my husband had all the confidence & skills to support me.
So what is my confession? Well, I still had a seed of doubt in my mind. Yes I was confident I could birth my baby. Yes I knew what my body was capable of doing. Yes I trusted the birthing process & all the amazing tools that we had learned, together as a couple, as parents. Yes I was still not sure if this would actually work! So I just had to take a punt. What was I going to lose right? I was going to have the baby one way or another, so why not give it a red hot go? So I completely threw myself into the practice, I understood that I needed to condition my mind & my body, but I could do this, I can do this, I will do this. I did it!