Lately, I’ve been chatting with pregnant woman, doulas, new moms and other HypnoBirthing instructors about how sometimes HypnoBirthing women are very quiet and still in labour, yet others move and make sounds, and how both can be expression of HypnoBirthing. My wonderful colleague Paula Aji in Isreal wrote following reflection. I think it’s wonderful. I hope you do too.
May your birthing day be blessed,
I became a childbirth educator to empower women, to help them
experience change during a special time in their lives
I feel that HypnoBirthing gives women the understanding and tools to birth gently. A woman will learn to understand the effect that fear can have on her body and how that can play out dramatically in birth. She learns tools to keep herself calm, physically and emotionally relaxed through this very exciting time of pregnancy and birth.
As a doula I have the honor to attend women and their partners through labor and birth. My presence helps the woman remember that staying calm will help her, my touch is a pleasurable reminder to release tension, my verbal reminders to ‘go within to where the birth is happening’ help her to let go of any need to control the external environment. And then the hormones take over. I watch as endorphins and oxytocin flow and take over, the birthing woman gradually feels as if she has entered some kind of trance, a drug-like state in which she loses all sense of time. She finds it to be too much effort to speak sensibly, she stops caring who or what is around her because now she is focused only on being and birthing. This is when labor advances, woman is in her place of power, connecting to her body, her baby, and the birthing energy.
Every once in a while I attend a very gentle HypnoBirthing in which the woman is focused so deeply inwards from the beginning that the endorphins flow because of her meditations. HypnoBirthing has taught us that endorphins not only flow because of the repetitive activity of the uterus; endorphins can also be summoned through meditation. The birthing woman by focusing inwards has invited the trance inducing hormones. She may be working hard to stay in that place, but like the eye of a storm, this is a safe and gentle place from which she can experience birth without suffering.
And then, every once in a while I attend a very joyous HypnoBirthing. One in which the woman has put her focus on releasing tension through joyous activity. Activities such as dance or vocals work on many levels to help create joy. Dancing and vocalizing can be a way into the trancelike state of the endorphins. Continuous spiraling of the hips, and repetitive vocals like a meditation are an invitation to endorphins and oxytocin to flow. The woman has found a focus point, releasing all tension through movement, and an internal massage with the use of her voice. Her mind is captured in the moment without the interruption of fear. She is in her place of power.
Loosening of the hips through dance is a way to work together with baby. Each movement of the pelvis gives the baby an opportunity to wiggle its way down and through. Spiraling is the movement that the baby is taking on its way into the world. We can support this by focusing on our own physical release, we will unconsciously choose the movements and positions which are most comfortable to us and consequently give baby the most amount of wiggle room. As the baby drops down and presses more on the cervix from the inside more hormones are released to help the birth process continue, prostaglandins and oxytocin make the cervix soften and open, more surges come and more endorphins release, mom and baby both working to help the birth process flow.
Vocals work on many levels, first of all releasing tension. We can express tension and work through our fears by speaking, by singing, even by yelling. Vocal toning or the use of our own vocal sounds as a focus point can also ease discomfort. The vibration of the sound wave moves through the body and can touch places inside us like an internal massage, reaching places we cannot get to with our hands. And vocals can be a tool for HypnoBirthing, as we focus our minds on locating the accurate tone for vibrating any part of the body our attention is drawn inwards. This takes our minds off fear and inwards to where the birthing process is really taking place. It becomes a type of meditation and as such is an invitation to endorphins to flow.
If you assumed that HypnoBirthing is a quiet and non-active birth technique, please reconsider. On our birthing day, as with any day, there will be moments in which we are energized to move and to vocalize, and there will be moments when we need to be silent and still. I propose that at birth we feel best when we allow our inner knowing to lead us; whether it be through silence and stillness, or song and dance.
Because birth can be a joy, it can be the ultimate experience of channeling the divine. When we are focused on total release, we simultaneously experience that joyous energy flowing through us. This of course is the same energy that brings our baby in to the world. We channel the energy that connects between heaven and earth.
By Paula Aji
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