Response to Mamapedia responses

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I submitted my article “New Surge In Birthing” to Mamapedia for many reasons:

  1. To spread the word about such a beautiful birthing method
  2. To encourage pregnant women to seek something different (for themselves and their babies)
  3. To bring awareness to the joy, comfort and empowering nature of gentle birthing, rather than the traumatic nature of how birth is already portrayed in the United States
  4. To write about a subject our country needs to hear about more (for our mothers, fathers, and babies)
  5. To hear responses from women everywhere (and to honestly and candidly respond with wholehearted appreciation)

I knew it was a risk to allow this article to be seen by women who may not feel the way I do about birthing, but I had no idea I would have such a negative, insulting, and critical audience.  The few people who supported my post through your positive words, I really do appreciate it.  Most of the comments, while not shocking to me, created a sad feeling within me, because I realized that the way our society has deemed birth to be has so deeply ingrained itself and affected women (to the point that they are defensive about the experiences they had when birthing).

My post was in no way intentioned to insult anyone, to create animosity, or to belittle anyone who had a c-section, an epidural, or an otherwise medicated birth.  There is no need for these women to justify your births to me, there is no judgment from me about your birth, and I would certainly hope that my readers do not pass judgment on you either.  If they (my readers) pass judgment on you, then they must also pass judgment on me as well, because I had a medicated (yet peaceful) birthing experience, that I blogged about in an earlier post.

As I read the article that Mamapedia so kindly published on their widely read website, I scoured it for the phrase “natural birth”, since some of the women who seemed deeply offended by my post spoke largely about “natural birth”.  Nowhere in my post did I speak of “natural birth”, because HypnoBirthing does not tout itself as a “natural birthing” technique, method of philosophy.  HypnoBirthing can be used in any birthing circumstance.  Allow me to share the birthing experiences of the couples I have taught, and of myself.

  • Me – Epidural after 20 hours of unmedicated labor (OP baby)
  • First couple – Home water birth, unmedicated with midwife attending (10 pound baby)
  • Second couple – C-section after 26 hours of labor and several hours of pushing (OP baby)
  • Third couple – Planned C-section (breech presented baby)
  • All of my other moms are happily awaiting their babies’ birthing days, with positive expectation

Out of all of the couples that I have taught, only one has been an unmedicated birth, but that does not make that birth or mother any more beautiful and wonderful than the other mothers I have worked with.  Nor does it undermine or dismiss the incredibly empowering experiences the medicated birthing mothers had.  All of the couples I have taught have had gentle, beautiful, empowering, and incredibly moving birthing experiences.  In fact, every one of the mothers I have worked with has said nothing but positive things about HypnoBirthing and the preparation for their births.

I am deeply saddened that in the United States, childbirth “preparation” classes, some providers, and hospitals tell couples that epidurals have no effect on babies.  Totally and completely untrue!  I am so frustrated by people saying this!  Let’s set the record straight.  Epidurals are narcotics, and they directly affect babies.  The affects of epidurals have been researched extensively, and here are some of the affects on both mother and baby:

  • (Mother) Drops in blood pressure (that’s the reason a blood pressure cuff is kept on a mother’s arm)
  • (Mother) Slowed labor because of not moving around during labor (mothers need to move during labor to facilitate the easy descent of the baby)
  • (Mother) Difficulty in pushing the baby out (increases the likelihood of other methods being used: forceps, vacuum extraction, pitocin, c-section)
  • (Mother) Interference with love hormone, oxytocin (often breaks down protective instinct over baby, and bonding can be difficult)
  • (Mother) Headaches (postpartum)
  • (Mother) Feelings of being emotionally detached
  • (Mother) Hip problems from knees being pushed to my ears (Personal)
  • (Mother) Void of emotion or protective instinct (Personal)
  • (Mother) Increased chance of tearing during birth
  • (Mother) Limited positioning options for birthing (decreased pelvic room for baby to emerge)
  • (Baby) Trouble latching on for successful nursing
  • (Baby) Interference with bonding with mother
  • (Baby) Drowsiness at birth
  • (Baby) Fetal distress

The above came from the following sources:

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/epidural.html

http://pregnancychildbirth.suite101.com/article.cfm/do_epidurals_affect_babies_

http://www.kimjames.net/epidural_risks_and_side_effects.htm

While one of the goals of HypnoBirthing is for women to have as few interventions as possible, it also advocates for mothers doing what their bodies tell them to do, and to accept whatever changes in labor that might occur.  This in no way indicates that HypnoBirthing is a “natural birthing” method.  However, it does advocate for education of mothers and fathers, to enable them to make the decisions that are best for them and their babies.  Through education, advocacy, and empowerment, HypnoBirthing very successfully helps couples experience gentle births (even and especially for the babies).  You would not believe the beautiful, peaceful, and gentle nature of HypnoBirthing babies.  I have the pleasure everyday, of being in contact with the mothers and fathers who gently and peacefully bring their babies into the world.  So yes, birth can be peaceful for babies, and it most often is with HypnoBirthing.

Thank all of you so much for the feedback, and thank you eternally to Mamapedia for publishing an article about a subject I am so passionate about.

Comments welcome.

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3 responses »

  1. I thought your original post on Mamapedia was a beautiful overview of the empowering benefits of HypnoBirthing and of the reasons why that is so important to women (and their partners) today. As a fellow HypnoBirthing practitioner I share your frustration that so many people are not able to see past the negative images of birth and yet this is pretty much the basis of the work we do in teaching this method. We start by undoing the negative conditioning and then replace it with the positive view of how normal birth should proceed, teaching parents the skills they need to become more aware of their bodies and living in the present moment so that not only can they have confidence in the way the woman’s body is designed to birth but should any special circumstances arise they will be more likely to be aware of it. Medical intervention can be lifesaving and necessary in certain circumstances. HypnoBirthing only highlights that “normal” birth is not a medical event and as you say certainly doesn’t preclude the use of necessary procedures when circumstances shift the birth away from the normal process.

    My personal experience of HypnoBirthing was with a pregnancy beset by special circumstances. My son was born by emergency caesarean at 33 weeks 3 weeks after my waters broke. The HypnoBirthing techniques kept me calm and focused throughout this period. I believe they helped me to keep my son safe inside me during a crucial period in his prenatal development and I counted every day he continued to grow inside me as a cause for celebration. HypnoBirthing also minimised the pain and discomfort and fears during my long labour and helped me to welcome medical intervention when it became necessary, confident that I was able to make the right decisions for by baby and myself and feeling empowered in a situation where other mothers without this preparation may have felt more like a victim of circumstances beyond their control.

    However, we can’t expect to turn around anyone’s long-held beliefs about birth through reading a few paragraphs on a blog however heart-felt and well written they may be. Take heart in the knowledge that you have already helped so many families experience birth as an empowering and positive experience and allow the message to unfold gently to other people who may not be ready yet to let their own experiences and beliefs go just yet. Please don’t let negative comments feel you need to go on the defensive. Keep focusing on the positive and allow HypnoBirthing to continue to take the birthing world by calm!

  2. Thank you so much Claire! I don’t feel defensive about any of what was posted. I’m so appreciative of everything that was said. Writing can be risky, but it can also be so rewarding to be able to clear up misunderstandings!
    Thank you for the positive feedback! So glad to hear from a fellow HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator!

    -Teva

  3. Hi Teva,
    I just wanted to say thanks! I have never heard of hypnobirthing and after my birth experience find it so fascinating. I gave birth to my first (now 18mo) and took the standard class through our hospital and the woman who taught was very anti-drugs, which is great but I had fully intended on an epidural, my mom had them for all of her kids and for the most part we turned out alright. Well fast forward to the big day and BOOM the doctor stabbed me 3 times in the spine to get the epidural in (like I needed that additional pain) and then it didn’t even work and by the time she came back I had already started pushing and felt every painful surge, tear everything and anything, I didn’t open my eyes until the baby was out for at least 2 minutes! I figure if I can do it once painfully and naturely why not try it again but a little more prepared! We will be starting to try for number 2 soon so this is great timing for me personally.

    Don’t let anyone bring you down, it was a great article and you helped someone!

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