Hypnobabies Moms: Embracing ONE Belief System for a More Joyful Birth
by Kerry Tuschhoff and Carole Thorpe
When moms choose Hypnobabies as their childbirth program, we encourage them to “embrace Hypnobabies only”, allowing their entire focus to remain on the unique philosophy, techniques and training of Hypnobabies. To do so assists our Hypno-Moms in experiencing the easiest and most comfortable births possible, and their babies to have a gentle, calm entrance into our world. Expectant women come to us with various goals; desiring births they describe as “a better birth than my last one”, or “I just want to be completely in control”, or even “I want a pain-free birth!” As with all objectives in life, including goals that women have for childbirth, belief is one of the main keys to “success”; success being whatever that word means to each person. No one can actually complete a project, move into a new career or achieve their mission in life without fully believing that they not only can but will achieve that goal. The same is true for moms who desire an easy, comfortable childbirth by choosing Hypnobabies.
“If you believe you can…or you can’t…you’re right” ~ Henry Ford
First and foremost, this information will undoubtedly be new to many people and we never want to offend anyone who teaches another childbirth program, works with expectant mothers in the medical field and/or attends births as a birth assistant. We simply ask that you be willing to learn something new about how our minds work and why two opposing belief systems about childbirth cannot coexist and direct the mind to create a single outcome. This understanding will help expectant mothers enjoy the easiest and most comfortable birthing experience that is possible for them, and we know that all birth professionals share that desire as well.
"When I encounter a story that reveals something about a labor or birth that is new to me, I don't automatically dismiss it as untrue or irrelevant simply because I am unfamiliar with the phenomenon it reveals." ~ Ina May Gaskin, Birth Matters
Why shouldn't women using Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis attend any other childbirth classes?
First, you need to know that we love expectant moms. Like all birth professionals, we want nothing more than to help every last one of them have the best and safest birth experience possible. We all know that there are many wonderful childbirth courses for moms to choose from which assist that process. The fact is though, that if a woman wants to learn, practice and then use Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis for their baby’s birth and also be satisfied with her experience, there are reasons she must do so exclusively. For maximum benefit, due to the way our minds work, someone who chooses childbirth hypnosis needs to exclusively embrace all of the childbirth hypnosis techniques, and embrace completely the "only positive and encouraging" philosophy and language of the Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis program. This means not taking any other kind of childbirth class, program or course, so that they will be able to focus entirely on one belief system: the belief set that childbirth really can be easy and comfortable. Embracing the belief set that childbirth can be easier and more comfortable for *her* is vital, on both the conscious and subconscious levels of processing.
In childbirth preparation, as in life, what we deeply believe to be true affects the outcome of our goals, since our minds can only follow the path we provide for them! Two distinctly different belief systems cannot coexist in our minds. The mind is forced to choose one or the other. The way this works is: We all see and hear specific messages which we perceive as positive and encouraging, or negative on both conscious and subconscious levels. At the conscious level, we may even think that a more negative or incongruent message is not that harmful, since we may think we can simply disregard it immediately…however our subconscious mind is always listening and will take everything it hears literally to construct our view of reality, like a small child. Our inner mind files that information away, to create our belief system (or to reinforce a currently existing belief system through repeatedly hearing the same information). When it comes to childbirth, the more positive and encouraging the woman's belief system is, the more positive her birth experience is likely to be.
• Our belief systems create our thoughts
• Our thoughts create our feelings
• Through the mind/body connection, feelings produce chemical reactions in the body, and change behavior, which in turn impacts positive or negative choices that are made
• The mind/body connection's influence on the course that a childbirth takes, can result in outcomes that are wonderfully satisfying…devastatingly disappointing…or anything in between
Two belief systems about childbirth cannot co-exist, especially two which are diametrically opposed about extremely important points. Hypnobabies teaches that pain is not necessarily inherent in childbirth; that birthing a baby can be much easier and much more comfortable and, even pain-free for many of the women who learn, practice and use Hypnobabies as outlined in the printed course materials. Every word in our student manuals, handouts and hypnosis scripts (and, therefore in every Hypnobabies audio track) contains language that trains, supports and reinforces the concept that birth can be easier and more comfortable, and literally re-creates the expectant mother's belief system about childbirth. The most important point to remember about this process is: Only if a woman believes that childbirth can be easy and comfortable (and of course if she also learns, practices and uses Hypnobabies as the program was designed), can she achieve exactly that! If she does believe the "easier and more comfortable" premise, she will think only positive, encouraging thoughts about what birth could be for her…which will produce feelings…that will facilitate the mind/body connection to:
• Create chemical reactions in her body which support a healthy, stress-free pregnancy and she will anticipate her baby’s birth with excitement and joy instead of fear
• Automatically exhibit behavior that supports her making positive, empowering choices for her baby’s birth; since she's coming from a mindset of balance and confidence instead of fear
What would interfere with this positive and encouraging thought process? If a woman is also taught that childbirth is extremely hard work and is always inherently painful, and that she will need to cope with the pain, she will (consciously and subconsciously) believe it, even if she does not consciously choose to, since this is the belief set that is the most commonly held by her culture. Instead of focusing ALL of her attention on her Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis re-training to create an easier and more comfortable birth experience, when a woman also participates in a program that focuses on the typical cultural view of inherently painful childbirth, her “labor is inherently painful” conditioning is being reinforced!
Even for those of us who are fortunate enough to come from families where childbirth was considered a normal, natural event in a woman’s life, the message was most likely conveyed that childbirth is very painful and you just need to consider it “pain with a purpose”. Since most people don’t like or want pain in any form and we all have body memories of pain, this creates a deep internal form of expectation, which produces the exact opposite outcome that a woman who has chosen childbirth hypnosis desires:
• She now expects to automatically have a lot of “pain with a purpose” even though she doesn’t want that
• Her “inherent pain” belief system creates a lot of “what if” or "skeptical" thoughts
• These scary expectations create feelings of doubt and fear about how any hypnosis could possibly help her with “inevitable labor pain”
• Through the mind/body connection, the fear and stress she experiences, produces catecholamines (stress hormones) which keep her tense and create insomnia, constriction of muscles, difficulty concentrating, and other negative reactions
• She begins to alter her behavior, focusing less than 100% of her attention on her childbirth hypnosis training, since she now has doubts and fears that it will work at all.
• At first, she fully believed that she wouldn’t need labor drugs because she would be exclusively using her Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis techniques, and so she created a birth plan that reflected her goal for a completely natural childbirth, without interventions. Now she has confused her inner mind and emotions by absorbing two very different sets of beliefs and expectation about birth.
As a result, she may modify her choices for her baby’s birth and have a "I'll probably need them anyway" attitude (belief) towards medication or interventions. For the mother who chooses to use Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis to prepare for her natural, easier and more comfortable birth, the result of this interjection of such opposing beliefs into such a positive and encouraging belief system is that her birth will not be as she originally envisioned it or as she desired it to be. We all know that she deserves better than that. We all share the common belief that every birthing woman deserves to have the safest, easiest and most comfortable birth that they can experience.
Expectant mothers also get these “positive pain” messages from birth stories they have seen on TV, read about online or in books, from their medical caregivers and from other childbirth classes. Our mind pays closer attention, and experiences a greater impact, when messages come from a perceived expert or authority figure! An authority figure is anyone a woman looks up to, hires as a professional, or is emotionally connected to, etc. We, in the birthing field are “experts” in the eyes and hearts of the expectant moms who look to us for guidance, and what we teach them makes a powerful impact on their belief system. Since expectant mothers are so suggestible in our presence, we have to be extremely careful of what we say and do, and what messages we impart about childbirth, since these messages are accepted as pure “gold” by our moms! Our minds can create for us that which we say we do not consciously want, when messages are presented by a perceived expert.
Here is an example of how we can be led to believe in something we do not want: Marilyn, an experienced birth professional, responds to her friend Jennifer’s excited announcement that she will soon be pursuing a career in the birthing field: “That’s great that you’re going to become a doula! Of course, you need to realize that it’s a long and involved process that includes:
• a lot of book reading • observing an entire 6-8 week childbirth class series
• attending a two-day doula training And, then there's a certification process during which:
• you’ll type up a 1000 word certification essay
• attend at least 3 births, (probably for free) • and hope that two medical care providers will sign off on each of your 3 Birth Record Sheets • and hopefully, your birth clients will provide good evaluations for you
• and that your own 500-700 word accounts of each birth coincide with those evaluations After your certification, as a doula you’ll constantly have to worry about childcare for your children, and…
• the hours will be very unpredictable
• and sometimes so long and exhausting that you’ll forget what sleep actually is
• you may get so frustrated with the medical model of birth care that you want to cry all the way home from some births you attend…
But there will be some good births too and you’ll live for those ones…”
We can just imagine the “Wow…discouraging…overwhelming” gears turning in her mind when the young, inexperienced Jennifer hears all of that, and a natural process begins.
1. Even if she wants to disregard the above information as only “someone else’s opinion”, the fact that she has heard it from a friend and professional member of the field she wants to train in has more of an impact on her than she would like. She now believes the process is going to be difficult and overwhelming, and she is expecting it to be so.
2. Although she had previously been excited and completely enthusiastic about training as a doula, she begins to think differently now, doubting whether she wants to go through all of that since it was presented in a less than encouraging way.
3. Although Marilyn had the best of intentions, thinking that ”warning” Jennifer would be the kind thing to do, she inadvertently started a process in motion that is difficult to counteract.
The way we present information is just as important as the information itself. There are ways to improve our messages, more positive and encouraging ways to impart information, than to “warn” women to expect something undesirable. Since our conscious and subconscious minds are more deeply impacted by the people that we perceive to be “experts” or “authority figures”, our young doula-in-training began to doubt herself and her choice to become a doula, after hearing such a discouraging account. After hearing from an 'expert' doula about how much hard work the doula training could be, and how working as a doula only offered rewards at some births, she began to believe it.
Believing the experienced doula's story was the first step to creating the unwanted scenario presented by her friend, and everything that followed allowed the “self-fulfilling prophecy” to flourish in the would-be doula's mind.
1) She heard the discouraging portrayal of doula training, certification and doula work
2) She believed it to be true since it came from a friend and birth professional; someone she respected and looked up to.
3) Her belief about how difficult it was all going to become, caused her to constantly think about it: how much time, energy, resources and frustration it was going to cost her.
4) Thinking so often about the process in such a negative way caused her to then feel discouraged and even disheartened at times about completing the work that doula certification required.
5) Her mind/body connection kicked in, so that her body created certain brain chemicals (stress hormones) which kept her in a state of stress and made her feel even worse.
Dramatic? Not really, since this is exactly how our minds work. It has become very evident to those of us who teach Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis, that whatever information about childbirth an expectant mom deeply believes creates her reality. The conscious mind needs to be fed positive “food” about childbirth consistently, and since the subconscious mind is always listening and creating, and reinforcing our belief systems, the information that the expectant mother's subconscious mind hears needs to be completely congruent with the language and philosophy of the Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis course.
It's for precisely this reason, that an expectant woman should not take other childbirth classes that teach opposite philosophies while she is learning, practicing and preparing to give birth using her Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis training. To do so will make achieving her goals of an easier, more comfortable hypnotic childbirth much more challenging, difficult or even impossible. Those mothers who take Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis classes are taught that childbirth can be easier and more comfortable, and they learn to program their minds and bodies for what they do want, not what they don’t want (fear and pain) during their Birthing Time. We already know that the mind will produce that which it dwells upon most, meaning that if an expectant mother were to have the mindset/belief that childbirth will be painful, then it will happen for her in the way that she expects it to. It is simply the well-known "self-fulfilling prophecy", that what you believe becomes your reality.
Some people ask, “But what if a Hypnobabies mom needs something to fall back on”?
Our Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis program is a very thorough preparation for childbirth education course, and in addition to preparing a mother for birth, Hypnobabies also teaches proven, medical hypnosis techniques that produce hypno-anesthesia and comfort for the mother.
We teach many traditional relaxation and physical comfort techniques as well, and demonstrate positions that facilitate a faster, easier birth, to help keep a Hypnobabies mother comfortable and her baby in a favorable position.
Hypnobabies teaches all aspects of preparing for a natural childbirth; pregnancy nutrition & exercises, staying healthy and low risk, birth partner training, consumer issues and the mother's choices, automatic deep relaxation skills, the stages of birth, optimum fetal positioning, avoiding back labor, positional changes, physical comfort techniques, breastfeeding, postpartum, new mom and baby care and so much more.
There really is nothing left to learn to "fall back on". As you can see, there is absolutely no need for a Hypnobabies mother to take another childbirth course. It would be redundant, and as you have learned above can easily interfere with the positive and encouraging belief set that the expectant mother is creating by learning, practicing and using the Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis program as outlined in the printed materials.
Thank you for your curiosity about our Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis course. We appreciate you taking the time to learn why taking another childbirth class in addition to the Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis program so that a mother would have something to “fall back on”, is completely unnecessary and could interfere with her ability to use her Hypnobabies training to the maximum benefit.
Kerry Tuschhoff Founder/Director of Hypnobabies
Carole Thorpe VP of Hypnobabies