A birth without fear or pain. Impossible! That is at least what I hear from everyone around me. “Pain that I have never had before”, “Agonizing”, “Painful”.
All terms that fall into place. By chance I stumbled over “Hypnobirthing”.
A hypnosis program that promises to gently accompany the women through the birth. At first glance very exciting for me. When you think about going through such a precious moment in peace instead of pain. I suspect that we will remember the birth in a completely different way. But are the women then like in a trance and can they still remember the birth at all? We really wanted to know more, and so we talked to Franziska Olm, course instructor of Rundum Hypnobirthing.
Where does HypnoBirthing come from and what exactly is it?
HypnoBirthing is a birth preparation program which enables a gentle, natural birth by means of self-hypnosis.
Marie F. Monagan is the HypnoBirthing’s pioneer. She was finally able to give birth naturally when her latest child was born. This inspired her to translate her experiences into a program that enables women to make childbirth a gentle experience.
Marie F. Mongan created the HypnoBirthing method in 1989 in the USA, with the vision that every woman is able to bring her child into the world with the help of her instinct, pleasantly and joyfully, as nature intended. Many midwives in this country have been working similarly for centuries, but we can’t call HypnoBirthing to the kind of work they were doing. They probably would call it natural birth.
What’s so special about HypnoBirthing?
Women start to deal with birth again, to deal with the process, to prepare themselves, to take it into their own hands. This supports the female power and its consciousness about it. I myself go a step further in my courses, because I am of the opinion that all of us have already gained experience in our lives which we can use for birth. These experiences are not in a book, they are personal life stories. That is why birth and the preparation for giving birth are very individual. The HypnoBirthing method supports the experience of being able to bring oneself into deeply relaxed states, into a self-hypnosis. The woman can do this alone or with the support of the obstetrician, which is usually the expectant dad. He also receives precise help on how he can support the woman giving birth if she wishes.
How does HypnoBirthing work?
I recommend reading the book. It explains many things, but questions about practical exercises remain open. A course is also highly recommended. For a HypnoBirthin course one needs to spend three to four hours. It makes sense to have time between the course dates to process the theoretical and practical course content. In my course there is the so-called self-research homework. Clear tasks that the woman or the couple practice together at home in order to get to know themselves, the body and the psyche better. Exercises, which the body incorporates, so that the birth is new, but not what is applied to the birth. Because the exercises were trained in the course and at home. During childbirth, the woman knows how to surrender to the birth pathway, how to breathe, how to move. She is focused on herself and her baby. She can forget everything around her that she doesn’t need, that might disturb. That is the hypnotic state.
How can you imagine the condition? Is the woman still present during the birth or has it ever happened that she does not remember the birth?
No woman sleeps through her birth. The women going through HypnoBirthing can remember it very well. Often the memory is not stored in the mind, but in the body memory, in the emotional memory. That is why it does not matter how we give birth and how our baby is born. It makes sense for this imprint to prepare well for these impressions and to choose a direction. Man can do many things if he wants to. The woman is the really strong sex for me anyway. Encouragement helps her to believe in her feminine power and to use it during the birth process. This is often an experience that shapes the woman’s future life.
What’s the difference between HypnoBirthing to a normal birth?
The difference begins already in the alignment, in making conscious the birth language that surrounds us. No woman looks forward to her birthing experience when she thinks of contractions. But women can open themselves to birth when they think of waves. Other associations of becoming free. New powers to become free. Birth images are documented differently. The waves, the phases of a birth are weaker or stronger. Like a river we swim on.
HypnoBirthing women know the birth phases very well, they know what they can do in each phase to stay with themselves, to focus on their body, to let their uterus work. HypnoBirthing works with affirmations, positive thought directions. One of them is: “I leave giving birth to my uterus, to my body”. To see birth as a healthy, natural, biological process is important, even though most women traditionally go to the hospital in a modern way. But HypnoBirthing women are also aware of this, and they are well prepared for the experiences that can come their way in the hospital. They are self-determined. In self-hypnosis, they can stay in trance or have the ability to return to a complete awake state.
What’s your assignment here?
My task as a certified course instructor for HypnoBirthing is clearly to anchor the trust of the future mother in herself and make her grow. This work requires experience and a very good knowledge of human nature. In my birth preparation courses I show how breathing supports childbirth, how visualizations help to stay relaxed, how the uterus can work out of itself, how the body can be read for the different phases of childbirth and how it can be used skilfully with all the feminine strength and devotion. At the end of the courses I let go myself and give birth to the women in their birth experiences. From time to time I also come to births and accompany the woman. I see us as a big sisterly network. I also make no secret of the fact that birth has a lot to do with sexuality. Just as the baby came into our body with pleasure, it can leave it again in such a way.
What is the success rate?
There is currently no empirical study on the success rate. I guess that’s not being invested either. It would tell that women can give birth by themselves if they face up to their strenghts. My feedback is predominantly positive. The trend shows that women develop short birth processes. The opening phase (the longest phase of the birth) can be much shorter with HypnoBirthing. Thus the woman giving birth has more strength for the actual birth when her baby is visible and is born into the air element.
Why do you think HypnoBirthing is not yet established in society?
The question is, why is HypnoBirthing not established in birth management? As long as giving birth remains as an economic company, measured by efficiency, HypnoBirthing remains a pioneer. See above. Women may give birth for shorter periods and need few, often no, obstetric medications and procedures. How much money is spent? If we think further, the question is why it is so difficult for women in Germany to be able to freely choose their favourite birth form. Free, according to gut feeling, in the truest sense of the word. Where would I like to give birth (home birth, birthplace, hospital, with whom would I like to give birth? Women in Germany must have decided in the first trimester of pregnancy, preferably immediately, if they notice the pregnancy.
Otherwise it is almost impossible to find a midwife or a place in the maternity. Many women describe this situation as unreasonable. I consider it a restriction of the right of personality. It is important that the woman chooses a suitable place for the birth, which is an intimate process, where she feels protected, where and with whom she feels comfortable. It is important to support the gut feeling that is most pronounced in the higher pregnancy. HypnoBirthing can help women to give birth everywhere through self-hypnosis.
Franziska Olm is a mother of two home born children and has been a certified course instructor for HypnoBirthing since 2011. Her vocation to help women to go through her birthing experiences originated in Franziska’s first own birth. She quickly noticed that she can inspire other women to give birth, in a sensitive, pictorial way. Group courses & individual courses take place in a trusting circle, mainly in Berlin.
What are your thoughts about it? If you have experienced it yourself or you would be interested, leave us a comment!
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