These images are shaping women's expectations, to the point where this televisual version of birth is becoming so totally entwined with reality that it's impossible to tell life from art, fiction from fact. What we see, slowly but surely, becomes what we get.
I will never know for sure, but I think a big factor in my birth experience was my feeling of confidence and self-efficacy. Thanks to the women who shared their positive birth stories with me, I could so clearly visualise a calm, positive birth of my own. I'd played it out in my mind that many times, is it so surprising that the reality was just that?
Don't get me wrong, my labour was long and it was hard work, that's why it's called labour. But it was the most incredible experience of my life and I'm so glad I did the research beforehand to enable me to re-evaluate everything I'd ever been told about birth and to therefore switch off from the negativity surrounding the subject and be able to believe that it could be a positive experience.
While we may be the most intellectual of the species, when it comes to primal acts such as giving birth, we only have to look at the ease at which other mammals give birth. Calmly, comfortably and without fear to know that they can probably teach us a thing or two.
As women, we have so much to thank our mothers and our grandmothers for. There was a time, when we were expected to sit at home, preparing the tea, cleaning the house and completing 'a woman's work' without fuss.
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.
I'm going to come right out and say this. It's what every childbirth educator on the planet thinks and what we all talk about in our private forums, but what very few of us dare to say in public.