Yesterday, I went to Half Price Books to sell a book and look at the pregnancy section. Since I am 36 weeks pregnant, I feel like I am in the home stretch. I didn’t end up buying any books, but I did have a chance meeting with a stranger. This lady was only 17 weeks pregnant. I know this conversation was meant to be because after talking for a while she told me her pregnancy was a surprise and she was still trying to get everything figured out. The first trimester had been rough for her so she was just now feeling like she could get out and do some research. I asked if she had signed up for a birthing class and she said “No, not yet. Is that something I should be looking into at this point?” I told her yes since the hypnobirthing class I took at Bethesda North just ended, a new one would probably be starting soon.
She seemed very interested in tips so I gave her a brain dump of information. I told her about local Cincinnati resources such as Blue Cocoon and The Red Balloon Cafe + Play stores would offer classes on cloth diapers, baby wearing, and CPR safety among other topics. We talked about the benefits of having a doula and I told her where she could look up more information about local doulas she could hire. Since she was having trouble keeping track of what week she was in, I recommended downloading the app from BabyCenter. The whole information sharing experience helped me feel grateful for how much I learned during the 8 week span of the hypnobirthing course offered by Sharon Said.
Since I already use positive affirmations, meditations, and give myself reiki, hypnobirthing was right up my alley. The cool thing about tapping into my intuition steadily over the past few years, I am able to know things more easily. I stood in the pregnancy section long after I knew I would not get a book. When I thought about leaving the store, the knowingness came to me that I had to tell this woman about hypnobirthing and to browse the pregnancy section until she was off the phone. Since God answers my prayers all the time, I realized me taking the time to tell her this might be God working through me to answer someone else’s prayer. Hypnobirthing uses positive affirmations, mantras with deep breathing and guided visualization to help the body relax. Though I have not taken other styles of birthing classes, I can tell you it is the right one for me.
A couple weeks ago at a local gathering, a man told me about a dream that he had once about birth and meeting writers of a book about birth he happened to meet the day after his dream. He assured me that the body knows what it is doing and you just have to let go of control. He told me to make sure my exhales were longer than my inhales. I knew this conversation was divinely orchestrated. He assured me that even women in comas give birth. The body knows what it is doing and we really just have to stay out of the way and release any ideas about what our birth will be like. Gentle births do happen. Television loves to promote dramatic births. Some women love to tell about their births like a war story.* As stated in Sophie Fletcher’s book, Mindful Hypnobirthing: Hypnosis and Mindfulness Techniques for a Calm and Confident Birth, women who have had positive birthing experiences often stay silent when women share birthing stories because they don’t want to take away attention from others who had a traumatic experience. They don’t feel it is necessary to share their story. I believe it is necessary to share these types of birth stories though. Sharing positive birthing experiences helps to give other women who are new to pregnancy hope. Both of these chance meetings helped me feel more confident that my body knows what it is doing. How was your birthing experience? How was your mother’s birthing experience when she had you?
*9/27 Update: Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with telling a birth story like a war story. Women who died in childbirth in ancient Sparta were buried with the Spartan warriors. That shows you the value their culture placed on the experience of childbirth. Whatever your birth looked or felt like never doubt your strength. In hypnobirthing class, we did discuss how important it can be to process the experience so everyone should feel free to share their stories. Seeing a counselor is recommended for women who did not have the birth experience they wanted. Some women feel remorse, guilt, shame, or even blame their partner for fetching the anesthesiologist when they requested it, later saying “Why would you do that when you know I wanted a natural birth?” Please forgive yourself and others. No two births are alike and everyone is doing the best they can at that time. The most preferable birth, in my opinion, is the one where the mother and baby or babies live. I pray that all mothers out there have the healthiest birth possible for them at that time. I leave the definition of “healthiest” to you. No judgment intended here.
Eva Borho, Intuitive Author, Spiritual Teacher, and Holy Fire Reiki Master