Last night, I listened to Hal Elrod talk about why he created his book The Miracle Morning. I took note of his philosophy on life, how he managed to defy his doctor's prognosis of never being able to walk again. This was a big deal. He'd died for six minutes, broke eleven bones and was in a coma for two weeks. I got chills. The way he communicated his message hit me right between the eyeballs because it's what I teach my hypnobirthing clients, every single day.
It's certainly what I learnt from the different experiences I had giving birth to my two children. My first birth was beautiful in parts, but it was also long: 33 hours, and by the end extremely challenging. After about 28 hours, I lost confidence in my ability to finish what I'd started, giving birth at home. Fortunately my body and baby had other ideas, so my husband and I did get to welcome our son into the world where we had intended. My second labour was a textbook hypnobirth, in which my daughter decided to join us after just 4.5 hours. I don't usually shout about Coco's birth for fear of being perceived as 'that smug woman,' and it's important that people understand that it doesn't need to be a quick textbook birth for hypnobirthing to help and for you to still enjoy a positive experience. Which my first birth was.
However, the more birth stories I hear and the more I write about birth, I have been increasingly drawn to assess what was different for me first and second time around. As well as wanting to identify the common thread between the women who talk about calm, comfortable, euphoric experiences and those who don't. How Hal explained his journey and outlook hit the nail on the head for me. The one thing in life that prevents us from enjoying, moving through, focussing or being present, which are all skills we need to draw upon for birth, is resistance to what is happening in the moment.
I don't know how many times I have used the phrase, "what we resist persists" with clients when they question whether they should be acknowledging the fears they have about birth. (The answer is always yes, by the way.) Or have recognized the moments in my own life, where I have been wishing for something to be different, to change or to end. Giving birth first time around is just one of a plethora of examples. The more my focus was on forcing my way through, manipulating 'what is' to create change before the time was right in order to get to where I wanted to be...the harder everything became. It's that whole wading through treacle thing.
So how does this relate to birth? Well, it's like Hal said. It's about releasing resistance and stepping into acceptance. That was the primary difference between my first and second birth, my ability to accept every moment for what it was and not want to change it. The same applies for all women who have medically straightforward births and report it was 'easy' versus those who feedback it was hell.
When you are able to release all resistance to the way your body is moving, pushing, opening...birthing. Letting go of any fear or tension that may arise, while being presented with the unknown and leaning into the moment with total acceptance. The only conscious thought you have is to use the breath, to literally breathe life into that moment. Knowing that your body is doing exactly what it needs to do, to bring your baby to you, and allowing that moment to be. You've got it. It's magical. It's awesome and it's as it was designed to be.
I'm not saying it's easy, but it really is simple. That is the secret to giving birth - and loving it.
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.
Check out Stacie's beautiful hypnobirth here, this is what I'm talking about .
Many thanks to The Wise Hippo team for supplying this footage.