If you’ve previously had a traumatic or difficult birth it can be scary to imagine birthing again and if you are reading this I am pleased you are looking at Hypnobirthing tools to help you create a birth experience, it is more than possible to have an empowering experience after a previously one.
With tangible tools, practical techniques, support from your birth partner and your confidence in birth rebuilt, it can be an experience that feels healing and rejuvenating.
This is a journey very close to my heart as I came to Hypnobirthing following a traumatic first birth in 2011 followed by a pregnancy in 2013 which whilst filled with joy, also filled me with anxiety at the prospect of birthing again.
I had heard good feedback about Hypnobirthing from friends, some who had used the techniques to create better second experiences for themselves & thought ‘well it won’t do any harm’. Little did I know of how much good it would do me, leading me through a journey of learning, discovery & empowerment and founding Tranquil Birth.
If you’re considering or practicing Hypnobirthing techniques for a birth after previous trauma here are some ways it can help create a better experience for your and your family:
Releasing Fear of Birth
Hypnobirthing uses Hypnotherapy techniques to release fears we may hold about our previous experience, this can open space for us to consider our next experience & what we want to be able to create.
Another great tool in Hypnobirthing is information, learning exactly what birth is and our rights are; information is a great reducer of fear, as we don’t tend to fear what we understand, it is also incredibly empowering and puts us back in the driving seat of our birth.
When we look at what is happening physically in the body we our fear response is triggered, we know this can interfere with the physiology of birth, so having ways to release and manage these are not only helpful to our emotional wellbeing but also the physical journey of birth.
Lowering Hyper-Arousal and Stress
One of the signs of trauma is the sense that the alarm systems in our minds are always ringing, particularly with birth trauma where a current or future pregnancy may trigger the birth trauma template.
Walking round with this in our heads is stressful & can be unbearable but the techniques used in Hypnobirthing such as yogic breathing, relaxation & visualisation have been shown to lower the stress response in our bodies (the flight, fight or freeze that accompanies the alarm system) & allow us to get into the relaxation part of our nervous system (parasympathetic nervous response).
Practicing Hypnobirthing technqiues through pregnancy allows our stress response to lower which has benefits for our physical and emotional wellbeing and also our baby’s.
Working as a Team in Birth
Working with your Birth partner is a large part of Hypnobirthing and can offer the continuity of care and familiarity that is needed to feel safe and allow for better experiences of birth.
When practicing Hypnobirthing techniques the role of the birth partner is vital in creating the safe environment for birth, essential for mammalian birth (therefore our human birth too). When partners feel confident and calm it supports our own sense of safety and confidence; this is important as difficult experiences can impact partners too and have an impact on family life.
Working in a partnership also offers us emotional support, so important after a difficult experience, as we share the birth preparation, discussion, space and tools with someone we have chosen to accompany us on the journey.
Creating Positive References for Birth
There has been much research in the psychological benefits of noticing the positive thoughts and emotions.
This is particularly necessary when the brain, which has a negative bias anyway, is looking to work even harder to keep us safe after a previously difficult experience. In those situations we can easily feel overwhelmed by fear, doubt & anxiety; losing sense of what feels positive for us.
Creating some time to consider our needs and what would be positive for us is incredibly powerful and the tools and information we gain from Hypnobirthing empowers us to do this.
Giving you practical tools to use during Birth
Often within a traumatic experience there is a sense that things go out of our control and we can feel powerless or unable to change the situation. Having a toolkit that we employ that is directly related to our experience is incredibly empowering and gives us a sense of control over our inner environment.
Hypnobirthing also explains the physiology of birth, information that is vital in being able to understand reflectively not only our previous process but what can make our next experience feel right for us. There is no ‘right way’ just what feels good for us as individuals in our unique birth and the great thing about Hypnobirthing is that it is a practical and tangible toolkit that you can use in any birth space to feel calm, reduce stress and feel confident about the choices you make for your birth.
Overall, it is important to remember that there is ‘no right way’ to birth, just what feels empowering for you and Hypnobirthing is a toolkit that you can use to feel confident and calmer about your experience and the choices you can make. You can take this toolkit and all it’s benefits into any birth space you choose and support you however birth unfolds, supporting you, your partner and your baby emotionally and physically.
If you feel you have been affected by a traumatic or difficuly birth it is also important to seek support for your psychological wellbeing alongside tools and technqiues for birth preparation.
Hypnobirthing is not a therapy for birth trauma, rather a toolkit you can use to feel more empowered and confident. Recommended therapies such as trauma-focussed CBT and EMDR (NICE recommended) or other therapies such as Birth Trauma Resolution Therapy can support the processing of the emotional tag of traumatic memories, giving you emotional freedom to move forward and a greater sense of self once more.
Sakina Ballard is a KGH trained Hypnobirthing and Birth Trauma Resolution Practitioner, as well as a mum of 2 in South London. www.tranquilbirth.co.uk