How does someone even begin to try to prepare for the birth of their first baby (especially when living abroad)? Hospital bags packed, nursery set up, books read…and yet, as my due date drew closer I felt my anxiety and nerves getting the best of me.
At 37 weeks pregnant, I enrolled in an online hypnotherapy course in hopes of preparing my mind for the marathon that would be labor and delivery.
I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I learned from this course! There is a ton of really useful information that will help you understand how the birthing process goes. What I learned that was the most valuable was more about what works for me in terms of how to self-soothe and get to a place of calm and peace even during stressful situations.
My birth story didn’t go exactly the way I wanted it to (read: everything I didn’t want to happen, happened…).
I thought my baby would be born early – he was born 5 days late.
I thought my labor would start naturally – it didn’t.
I thought (and hoped) I could have a vaginal birth – I had a c-section.
(And enjoy this adorable photo of my son, because he was so worth every single second of this experience!)
I am here to tell you – this course will NOT prepare you for delivering your child into the world. I say that, only because NOTHING can prepare you for this experience. It’s unlike any other. Even if you’re like me and go into this without any thought out plan, you have ideas in your head about what you want and what you think it will be like – and it’s almost never actually like that.
This course CAN give you tools, techniques and guidance for handling your labor and delivery in a calm, relaxed manner. The things you learn in this course WILL be so helpful to you in all the different stages of your labor and delivery. This course really helped me navigate the ups (and most importantly, the downs) of this whole process.
MAGGIE HOWELL’S NATAL HYPNO-THERAPY
Module 1 – Introduction
The first module in this course is an introduction, and gives you the chance to contemplate what it is you want out of this course.
Module 2 – What is Hypnosis?
The second module in the course is a rundown of what hypnosis *actually* is, and I honestly think this section of the course is so needed, because there are SO MANY misconceptions about hypnosis. This section of the course allows you to really understand what hypnotherapy is, why it’s used to commonly and how it could possibly help you.
Module 3 – How does Hypnosis Work?
Now that we know what hypnosis is, it’s time to learn how it works (and more importantly, how it can work best for your specific situation).
Module 4 – Understanding the Fear Behind Childbirth
This part of the course is actually really interesting and really gets you thinking. Why IS there so much fear around childbirth? We have been conditioned to expect pain, and for a lot of women, the thought and fear of that pain intensifies as our delivery date draws closer. This module gives you a look into the history of childbirth dating back centuries – how women from different periods of life have dealt with the child birthing process. (Screenshot below is from this course!)
Module 5 – The Impact of Fear
Fear (and any other emotions) will play a really big role in how your body goes through the birthing process. Your body reacts to the state your mind is in, and this section of the course gives you insight into how to change the “cycle of fear” into a cycle of calm, readying you for the birth of your baby. (Screenshots below!)
Module 6 – Relaxation Techniques
Now we get into the good stuff!! Because we ALL could use some stellar relaxation techniques, and this section of the course offers a few different options. I like this section because it’s really a time for you to figure out what will work best for you.
Module 7 – Breathing Techniques
Putting what we’ve learned so far into practice, this module gives you tips on controlling your breathing and getting into a calm mindset.
Module 8 – Personalizing Your Preparation for Birth
With things like personalizing your affirmations and meditations, this is the part of the course where you start to really personalize your experience (even more so then you have in the previous 7 modules!)
Module 9 – Birth Physiology
Diving more into what your body actually does during the birthing process, this module helps you understand your body’s physiology in order to maximize your chances of having a calm, relaxed birthing experience.
Module 10 – Understanding Hormones
Speaking of our bodies…those hormones, I’m sure you’ve dealt with your fair share already throughout your pregnancy. You know what I mean – when you’re watching a pampers commercial a 4am, eating ice cream and crying – or when you can’t seem to stand the sound of your partners breathing at night. Hormones! This module walks you through the ups and downs of your hormone levels and how to cope with the fluctuation.
Module 11 – Induction (What is it?)
I really enjoyed this part of the course because there is a lot of fear (at least for myself) built around the idea of inductions. The ultimate goal of this course is to prepare you for a calming and natural birth, but it’s also explained that sometimes (for the safety of baby or momma), that a medical intervention (like induction or c-section) is needed. This module helps prepare you for that kind of situation.
Module 12 – The Emotional Map of Labor
Labor has many stages (and can last a long time!) – this module walks you through the different phases and emotions you may feel during your labor and how to cope with each stage.
Module 13 – Comfort Measures for Labor
While you’re laboring (for hours!), you’re going to want to be as calm and relaxed as possible – and this module is perfect for teaching you different kinds of coping and calming mechanisms to handle a long (or short, if you’re lucky) labor experience.
Module 14 – Birth Partner’s Tool Kit
This interesting section is usually best done with your birthing partner/spouse. Even if he/she is just listening in the background, there are some great tips for your birth partner on how to keep you calm, relaxed and at ease. This comes in really handy, because there will be a time during your labor and/or delivery when you just feel like you can’t possibly do it. That’s where your birthing partner needs to step up – and this module gives some great tips on how to do that.
Module 15 – Working With Your Medical Team
This module explains what kind of support you will be offered by your medical team, and gives suggestions on how to incorporate your medical staff into your hypnotherapy practices.
Module 16 – Over to You
The last module of this course allows some time for you to reflect on what you’ve learned in the course as well as to inspect how you’re feeling about the birthing experience. During this time, you can sort out your feelings and figure out which hypnosis tracks/tools from this course work best for you.
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THIS COURSE…
I liked this course for many reasons, but the thing I liked the most about this course was how you could tailor it to fit your situation and your personality. The PDF printouts were really interesting for me, because they were a great way to personalize the course and helped me figure out what worked for me, what didn’t and what my expectations were going in.
The affirmations and the hypnosis tracks were my absolute favourite (and I still use them, even though my son is almost 3 weeks old!)
As someone who struggles with daily bouts of anxiety, listening to them in times of stress, worry or even just to get myself to sleep, I can honestly say getting into a meditative state with these tracks not only helped me with the labor and delivery of my son, but have continued to help me in my day-to-day life. I also really enjoyed the instructions that came with them (example: listen to this track when….).
THE INFORMATION I enjoyed most was learning about the history behind childbirth and how the mind/body connection works. It really gave me a better understanding of the female body and how women have been delivering baby’s all around the world for centuries.
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED ABOUT THIS COURSE…
Obviously, I can’t love every single bit of this course, right? And I want to be truthful with you all, so I wanted to share the things I wasn’t really a fan of.
Most of the things I didn’t like had nothing to do with the content of the course! There were some minor bugs in the program, such as a sentence cutting off in the middle, or a button not working properly. And I think (in this digital age) the layout of the course itself could have been set out better (but who am I to judge, I can’t even understand simple coding on my own website!)
I’m not sure if these (very minor) bugs were just on my laptop, on a certain browser or if this happens to everyone – so it very well could happen to you too (or not!)
The only content piece I thought twice about (in regards to potentially not liking it) was the “birthing partner” section – only because it was very specific and it was a whole section dedicated to educating your partner. And if you’re going this pregnancy/motherhood things alone at the time you take this course, I can imagine that would bring up some emotions. It’s just not a section that everyone can relate to, and it just got me thinking about what a single mom would be feeling when completing this section. I guess the argument could be made that she could just skip this section, in which case my point is invalid.
WHO SHOULD TAKE THIS COURSE?
I honestly would suggest this course to anyone in their pregnancy who could come into it with an open mind. Obviously you’re only going to get out of it what you put into it, and you have to be willing to let yourself be kind of transported to a calm place (like in many of the tracks they talk about you being in a forest or by a river). And if you’re not a person who can easily put yourself into those kind of places and genuinely get to a relaxed state by calming your mind- then this course probably isn’t for you because it probably won’t benefit you in those ways (which is kind of the whole point).
***Disclaimer: I was able to enroll in this course free of charge in exchange for writing a review on this blog – however, all thoughts and feelings about this course (both positive and negative) are entirely my own.