If you'd have said to me a year ago, I would be the person coupling hypnobirthing and self love in the same sentence, I would have...probably used some kind of expletive.
Definitely not what my ladies want to hear me banging on about. But the more women from around the world I get to work with. The more of the challenges and concerns I get to hear from them both in the ante and postnatal periods the clearer I get on what hypnobirthing is really about.
One of the toughest challenges I have when supporting the mothers who take The Calm Birth School program is getting the balance between inviting people to imagine their ideal birth, whilst acknowledging that with all the planning, preparation, deep breathing and visualisation they still might not get the birth they envisioned.
Some people feel that because there are no guarantees and nothing ever goes to plan - which isn't always true - that it does women a dis-service to dream about the best possible outcome. And to some extent I agree.
If I haven't been able to explain adequately enough, in a way that really hits home that the philosophy of the birth education I want to leave you with is less about the mode of entry for your baby. And so much more about the time you have taken out to prepare yourself and partner for the huge physical and emotional journey you are going to be taking during your pregnancy, labour and birth, then I haven't done my job correctly.
Our students love a bit of straight talking and less of the woo stuff - I get it. But sometimes a little bit of woo goes a long way. And it struck me when talking to one of our ex-students who is now a postnatal client that our way of hypnobirthing is about opening the doors to a new perspective on self-love and appreciation.
The idea that you take yourself off of the hamster wheel for a minimum of fifteen minutes every day - even if you have to break that time up into three five minute sessions - and just breathe. I mean come on, who can't fit five minutes into their schedule to just stop?
For five minutes and breathe.
Just try it. I dare you. Stop for five minutes and just focus on breathing deeply and let me know if the world caves in around you.
During that time you may choose to simply slow everything down and focus on the breath. Great.
Or perhaps you'll place a hand on your stomach and connect to the fact that whilst you've been getting on with real life your body has been doing the fantastical job of creating a life within you.
Or maybe, you'll choose to imagine how easy it is for you to stay calm, relaxed and at ease with whatever situation you are presented with on the day you meet your baby for the first time.
But more than that, making and taking the time for you is about mentally saying - I'm worth it. This experience is worth me taking the time. I'm amazing and I'm going to take five minutes out of my day to acknowledge that.
I love myself.
Taking the time to research what your options are in a way that empowers you to make informed choices about how you would like your birth to play out whether things go to plan or not. Is saying what my body is doing for me right now is worth me taking the time to know what I want to create and facilitate during pregnancy, labour and birth. I deserve to know.
I love myself.
Spending time with your birth partner learning how they can support you physically and emotionally during your pregnancy and birth is you saying. This is a once in a live time experience and I want us to be as connected as possible. I want that.
I love myself.
Whether a baby arrives into the world vaginally, with assistance during an instrumental birth or via caesarean section. All of your pre-birth preparation is priceless.
And has also begun to open the lines of connection between you and your maternal instinct, which in my opinion can only be at its most effective when we are able to practice radical self-love and self-appreciation. When this is our default setting we are better able to tune into our instincts, we trust ourselves more and are able to mother from a place of increased confidence rather than fear.
So while this might be a bit more woo than you're used to reading from me as a mother first, hypnobirthing practitioner second and woman with a vision on a mission. If I can get you to start looking at the time you can carve out of your day as the much needed time to appreciate, connect and love yourself I know you're starting off on the best track.