I've been thinking a lot about this recently and thought the best place to get the words out would be on a blog post.
The thing I see a lot on social media is that people feel disappointed they didn't 'get' their hypnobirth, or they failed at hypnobirthing.
I think it may be a cultural issue, or the way that hypnobirthing is portrayed in classes or online. Different teachers put their message across in various ways, perhaps highlighting different aspects more heavily than others.
Here is my take.
Hypnobirthing is the name for an educational programme, that teaches people about the birthing body, ways to optimise it's amazing ability and making informed decisions to support you being in control and confident for birth. Yes, many more things are involved, but this is the basis of most classes.
You take a hypnobirthing class to learn about birth, your body, choices etc. You go to a travel agent to organise your holiday and make decisions about what it may look like. You hire a wedding planner to support you in arrangements and because they have some brilliant ideas and contacts.
You don't go to a travel agent, who will guarantee that you will have a wonderful holiday, with no hiccups, get a banging suntan, not suffer any illness, always get a lush meal and a sun lounger at the pool every day. They might sell themselves as providing these things, but they are all down to external circumstances, right? Going through a travel agent may increase the chance that the journey is smooth and they can sure give you the information you need to make the best choice for you, but it isn't their fault if the plane is delayed.
The same goes for hypnobirthing. This is the deal - I (or someone else) teaches you all the important stuff about birth. You gain knowledge, mindset shifts, practical tips and tools to use for birth. You go away, practice the hell out of it and consider how you can utilise them in your own labour. At not one point will I tell you what your birth will look like, make you any promises or reassure you that EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE JUST BREATHE.
I'd also never tell you that you should be aiming for a 'hypnobirth'. This is a conscious decision I make as a practitioner. As I explained earlier, hypnobirthing is an educational programme. It is NOT a type of birth and I will attempt to stress that at every possible moment. You cannot fail at hypnobirthing, since it isn't a physical THING. You may see people having waterbirths or no drugs, but that isn't because that is what a 'hypnobirth' looks like. It may be because they have utilised the tools and practiced effectively that they do not need the intervention, or that they are fortunate not to have encountered any bumps in the road. If you decide on an epidural, caesarean, continuous monitoring, vaginal examinations and such like, it is for a reason. These things are designed to support you when there is a medical need and that is totally in line with the ethos of my teaching. You know your stuff, make a choice and if that means an intervention, GO YOU for making that decision.
A hypnobirth is not a thing in my mind. If it is in yours, consider why that is and what it looks like. It can be detrimental to have that pre-conceived idea in your mind. What may be more beneficial to aspire to is a safe, controlled and confident birth, where you are able to make the decisions that are right for you at the time. No one can predict what path your birth will take and it is my responsibility to prepare you for navigating it. However, I'd be interested to hear your views about the 'failing at hypnobirthing' discussion. I don't think you can.
All births are miraculous, whether or not you've taken a hypnobirthing course. You can't fail at birth. You just do it.
If you want to know more about my classes, feel free to ping me a message! I'd love to chat with you. x