So let's use the analogy of a wedding...hey, it's topical! How much money did you spend on your wedding? How much care and thought did you put into crafting that perfect day? Thinking about the flowers and the dress, but also about the kind of special atmosphere you hoped to create by having the right people around you, in a venue that really suited your personalities and shared with the world what you hoped for in your married life.
How much money did you put aside for the dress itself? Let alone the venue and a budget for everyone to eat well, drink and be merry?Did it all go to plan? Were there any disasters on the day? There may well have been and, whilst on the day you could have cried, these stories form the backbone of your marriage and are brought out at dinner parties and laughed about over the years. Did that one day affect your entire marriage? Possibly, but highly unlikely.Not so with birth.
So what can you do?
The birth you experience can be so positively affected by you and your partner taking the time to talk about what you want to happen. Ok, so you don't have the same control over birth as you do over your marriage (hopefully!), yet you do have control over lots of elements. I think women often don't realise just how much control they can have over their birth experience and often view it as something that 'happens TO them'. The births that are the most comfortable, the most empowering and are looked back on with pride (no matter what happened and where it took place), come about when a mother realises that birth is a team thing, a little tag team event between mum and baby. Baby responds happily to a mum's relaxed breathing: gaining more oxygen. That oxygen relaxes muscles and therefore causes little pain. Oxytocin is then produced and gives you feelings of euphoria combined with bespoke pain relief that's just right for you.
If you take the line that you're not going to think about your birth, you may get lucky; you may have a midwife who has lots of time; you may know what to do without researching, hey, it's happened! But it's much less chancey to do some birth prep and preferably hypnobirth to ensure a smooth journey down the birth canal for your baby, and a comfortable ride for you! And a really golden moment with the best tea and toast you've ever tasted...mmmm, bliss!
Jess Summers-Jackson is a hypnotherapist and hypnobirther (CHBP) based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. She is running the north's first 'Luxury Hypnobirthing Retreat' in September.
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