There isn't a single hypnobirthing technique that isn't a skill for life. So I encourage you, pregnant or not, the next time you notice you're having the urge to change what is, wishing for the future or yearning for the past, bring your attention to accepting the moment for what it is. Breathe out resistance and notice how much easier things feel. It works.
One of the biggest misconceptions about hypnobirthing is that, it's all about having babies. Women have heard that if you do everything your teacher tells you to do, you will have a quick, straight forward, pain free, vaginal birth. Now, there's no easy way to say this...but that's all pretty much a nonsense.
A few weekends ago I was having coffee with a friend. We have a lot in common, not least of which is that we are both caesarean section mamas grieving the loss of the birth we deserved. "I'm thinking about siblings" she said, "do you think it's worth trying for a VBAC?" It was a simple question; but the weight of it hung between us, sodden with emotion.
One thing that was not lost amongst the milk hazed chaos was how at certain points during those first intrepid weeks, me and my post baby self could have done with a list of new mum home truths that cut through the inertia of new mum bullshit and instead brought me and my over active worries back down to reality.
I'm due to give birth tomorrow. I've never done it before and like many women my age (early 30s - just), I've agonised over whether now is the right time. Will it wreck my career? Do we have enough money to feed and clothe another human being? Will we become one of those couples who fill social media feeds with massively un-fascinating photos of their dribbling offspring?
It's a time when you're emotionally and physically changing in ways you've never experienced. Every twinge, ache or peculiar symptom is often followed by a frantic search online. Add in the need to know what 'to do' during pregnancy - what to eat, what not to eat, which exercises are safe, and so on...
If we accept that birth has become a multi-billion dollar business around the world, then all expectant parents are consumers of that business. As consumers, all expectant parents have rights and they have a voice. Collectively, theirs is a very powerful voice that can be used as a catalyst to drive change.
A complete norm, or the truly typical does not exist. How long it takes to conceive, the exact length of your pregnancy, how much your baby weighs, feeds, fills her nappy, wants to be held and sleeps is no different. Neither your body, not your baby have the latest iBaby App or manual from a childcare expert telling them what is expected...
It's important that we recognise that some men will not benefit from being at the birth of their child. For some people this would seem like a step backwards, the exclusion of anyone based on their sex, from anything, will always be seen as such, but we must remember that a father's mental health is important too.
As a recurrent miscarrier, it can be hard to be around pregnant women and babies. Emotions swing between jealousy, self-hatred (I never used to be so nasty) and sadness for what I've lost. Self-preservation has a lot to do with it. That and the abject humiliation of having to leave a 2 year old's birthday party because you can't stop crying (got the t-shirt).