OK so this is a risk, I'm about to bash Friends, one of mine and I'm sure many peoples favourite American sitcoms. It's not Friends' fault really, I just happened to have stumbled across this episode on my quest to re-watch series 1 -10 in moments of procrastination, and as with many birth workers, I have lost the ability to watch TV like a normal person. I'm pretty sure items were actually thrown when I accidentally channel hopped on to an episode of One Born Every Minute once!
So in 'The One With The Birthing Video', Phoebe lends Rachel a birth video from her friend via Monica. Chandler thinks its porn and decides to watch it. Cue absolute horror, background screaming, traumatised observer etc.....
Chandler shows Monica and they are so traumatised by what they have seen they cannot even be affectionate to each other, saved only by Rachel at the door. The couple advise Rachel not to watch it and when she asks why Chandler says, and I quote:
"Well let's just say it's ironic how footage of someone being born, can make you want to kill yourself"
Cue canned laughter! Now you may have seen this, as I certainly would have growing up, and thought nothing of it, laughed along even. So what's the harm? This is one of many many moments in Friends, or generally any movie or TV programme depicting birth, that has helped to subtly programme your subconscious mind to believe that birth is scary, painful and traumatic. That birth is an emergency and that fear is a part of it. The media love dramatic effect.
Add the medias portrayal of birth to every negative birth story you have heard, because sadly Mothers are not offered the support or space needed to process a negative birth experience, and here lies the problem. We are living in a world where you are considered smug to share a positive story. It's no wonder that clients often arrive to their antenatal courses anxious and with preconceptions around birth.
This is where Hypnobirthing comes in. On our courses we work hard to change the perception of birth that you may have arrived at following years of subtle messages to your subconscious mind. It's amazing how powerful this transformation can be. I usually start the course with a mind map to see what words come to mind when we hear or see the word "birth" and it's no surprise that it frequently features words such as mess, fear, unknown, panic, stress, pain, emergency. When we repeat this exercise at the end of each course, it amazes me how much the word board changes. Often the original words have completely vanished and we have words such as excited, calm, confident, informed, relaxation, prepared for example. The more practice that takes place, the bigger and better the transformation ready for birth.
So how does this work? How can we work to alter these preconceptions?
Hypnobirthing exposes us to:
* Education. Knowledge is Power. We help you to understand the process of labour, understand exactly what is happening in your body and how you can control it
* Relaxation. Techniques to stay calm and in control. Breathing exercises, visualisation, guided relaxations and affirmations. The more you practice, the easier you find it and the deeper you will go when you need it.
* Positive Births. Watching, hearing and reading positive stories. Birth CAN be different to what you have been led to believe
* Mind Body Awareness. Understanding how your mind can effect your body in labour and how to keep in control. How to help yourself both physically, mentally and emotionally.
* Fear Release techniques. How to acknowledge, process and release your existing fears.
My clients often leave the course saying they are now really looking to their births having previously felt quite terrified. Hypnobirthing is logical, beneficial and effective!
Looking forward to your birth?
Book your course now: www.harrowbabies.co.uk/antenatal-hypnobirthing
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