Ok, so it doesn’t actually say it outright. But if you know anything about hypnobirthing, you’ll see it plain as day. The stuff I share with my clients is firmly supported by the vision described in this review.
To save you some time, let me lay it out for you…
1.”It is a time when the experiences we have can shape our lives and those of our babies and families forever.”
Exactly this. Women who come to hypnobirthing and strive for a positive experience of birth are often considered selfish, and foolishly optimistic. There is a sense that she somehow cares less about the wellbeing of her baby if she refuses to dance to the tune that this is the ONLY thing that matters. The most important thing, yes, but not the only thing. As if the ‘experience’ element equates to her fancying a day at the spa. Not so. The impact of the birth experience on the whole family is immeasurable.
Hypnobirthing gives you permission to acknowledge that, and to invest time, money and energy, stacking the odds in your favour for a positive experience. This review tells you that’s a good plan.
2. “I met with fathers, who gave me an insight into how they feel and what matters to them – so often forgotten but a vital part of the picture.”
Although women are welcome to embrace hypnobirthing solo, or with any birth partner, the course is typically aimed at couples, and ensuring that the other parent is involved and empowered is just as integral as growing the mother’s confidence, in my view. Don’t laugh ladies, but we expect a lot of the modern day man. It’s a relatively new expectation that he be present and engaged in labour and birth. Where are his tools? His inner caveman wants to patrol the door, waving his club and keeping you safe. His instincts guide him, but he is muddled by years of exposure to the same sort of rubbish that we are impeded by. Those images of him standing around helpless being sworn at and kicked, whilst not having a clue what’s going on.
Hypnobirthing invites him to morph that club into cool assertiveness, calming touch and words. He’s got a part to play, he is key, you’re a team, and he likes it. This review tells us that dads matter too.
3. “We heard that many women are not being offered real choice in the services
they can access, and are too often being told what to do, rather than being
given information to make their own decisions.”
Too fricking right. It’s my greatest frustration, and my favourite of challenges, supporting the couples I work with to have their choices facilitated. REAL choice. Not a grudging acceptance, when probed, that there is another option we had chosen not to mention, but if you want what’s best for your baby, you’d just blindly accept what we say. I hear this all too often.
Informed consent means being given unbiased info on the risks and benefits before reaching a decision.
Hypnobirthing prompts couples to realise they have options, and to take responsibility for their choices. Decision making tools are provided, along with other resources that can offer evidence based research, access to peer support and inspiration. Sometimes couples, particularly early in their pregnancies, look at me as if I’m a bit mad to suggest that things could unfold as this review describes, but it’s there in black and white after lengthy observation.
4. “We found almost total unanimity from mothers that they want their midwife to be with them from the start, through pregnancy, birth and then after birth”
Continuity of care is a bit of an urban myth in the area I live in. Currently pregnant myself, I’ve seen 4 midwives and 2 students, never the same person twice. I don’t have a named midwife since mine moved on a couple of months ago, and neither does the rest of her caseload. We know continuity improves outcomes, it’s proven. But it is logistically challenging, and would require significant reform.
So where does hypnobirthing come into this? Your hypnobirthing teacher is not your midwife, of course (unless, you are blessed, and she actually is…). She is not medically trained (again, unless she actually, separately is…). Hypnobirthing can’t replace the huge advantage of continuity in your midwifery care, but it can provide you some really great alternatives. Continuity patches, if you will.
I am there for my clients all the way through, as I know many of my colleague are too. From the first contact, I strive for them to know that nothing is too much trouble, and that my support is always available, to the birth of their baby and beyond. This isn’t medical help, but it might include directing them to info or resources, or service providers they can trust. It might just be being the person who makes time to listen to their concerns.
It might be providing them with a peer group to share and connect with, and to be inspired by. All of this is emotional support, delivered via built up trust in a relationship that evolves through time. Some need more, some need less, but it is on offer for everyone I work with, whether they spend a small fortune on a private course, or a modest sum on a block of relaxation sessions.
More than this, I’m often the first person to introduce couples to the concept of hiring a doula. Doulas are growing in popularity largely due to the lack of continuity described in the report. Again, not a replacement for a medically trained professional, but an advocate, and emotional support, someone there for you who knows you, your hopes and your fears. Invaluable.
So hypnobirthing offers a degree of continuity, from a support network of our making. This review tells us that this is important to women.
5. “Of course it is true that birth is not without risk, but every woman wants – and has a right to – the safest possible birth for herself and her baby. Every woman should also be cared for by services which fit around and respect her, and her baby’s needs and circumstances. Safe care is personalised care.”
NO BRAINER. “Don’t you want what’s best for your baby?” “No I’m not fussed, thanks.” Said no mother, ever.
Women’s decisions are driven by their urges to cultivate the best possible arrival for their babies in their circumstances. Hypnobirthing teaches them that what is good for all is not necessarily good for one. That blanket policies and approaches that leave no room to consider the complexities of pregnancy, health, and personal perspective serve to protect the medical professionals and the institution, but do not serve women well.
We teach couples to ask, “Are you suggesting this because it is hospital policy or because your training and experience suggests this is the best option for me and my baby in our particular circumstances?”. Add to this that we enlighten them about their rights to accept or decline care that they don’t feel is personally appropriate, and we are banging that drum- safe care is personalised care.
6. “I urge you to play your part in creating the maternity services you want for your family and your community. Voice your opinions, just as you have during this review, and challenge those providing the services to meet your expectations.”
Hell yes. Be the change. Hypnobirthing leaves you confident and informed, and this gives you a voice. We are often far too worried about being liked to speak up. I’m not suggesting that we are promoting getting ragey with your midwife or Doctor. We are going for calm, confident assertions.
Take heed of Julia’s words- challenge those providing the services to meet your expectations. I remind my clients to consider themselves to be discerning consumers, rather than blindly grateful patients- free at the point of use is not free full stop. We are paying for the NHS, and have every right to expect good quality care. The overwhelming majority of our medical professionals are desperately seeking to provide it for us, within a system whose hurdles are forever multiplying.
Because to come full circle, I tell my clients to consider carefully- this experience will stay with you and your baby for the rest of your lives. The person you are worried about getting assertive with will most likely have forgotten you by the end of the week.
This review tells us- we must all work together to cultivate the changes that could transform birth, early parenthood and young lives.
Better births matter. Hypnobirthers have always known it- get your course booked now.