Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Use your BRAINS

One of the most important things couples learn when they attend Hypnobirthing sessions with me or use my Hypnobirthing Home Study Programme is that they are the ones in control of their birth, that every decision they make should be an informed one, rather than feeling that they have been 'TOLD' something 'WILL' happen a certain way.  

Now this doesn't mean that we never agree with doctors and in fact sometimes couples need to put their baby's birth completely in the hands of the medical team (we are very lucky to have skilled doctors when there are true medical emergencies), but should this arise couples maintain their sense of control by understanding that this is completely the right thing to do.  

To ensure this happens I teach couples to ask questions, not to be adversarial, but to help doctors see them and their baby as unique individuals and for their baby's birth to be viewed appropriately in respect of that.

It can be daunting though for some to question what they are being told by a medical profession and this great mnemonic can help keep you focussed:

B – benefits
R – risks
A – alternatives
I – instincts
N – nothing
S – smile

What are the benefits of following the course of action suggested?

What are the risks involved?  In particular ask what the IMMEDIATE dangers and specific medical indications are (ie something that is actually happening not something that MIGHT happen).

Ask about the alternatives (and the benefits and risks of these).

Follow your instincts.  This is important because it doesn’t matter what anyone else would do in your situation it is about what feels right for you personally.

Ask what would happen if you did nothing.  Buying time even if it is for 15 minutes intervals can make the difference between intervention or not.

Smile is there to remind you to remain calm and in control.  Everyone is on the same team and that is for you and your baby to be healthy.  Asking questions isn’t about being antagonist but getting consultants to think outside the box and not treat all women the same.  By asking questions and making decisions based on the answers you are given you will maintain control of your baby's births.  As I mentioned previously even if the decision is to hand your birthing over to the medical team you will have maintained your control by ensuring that it is the right thing for you and the baby.

If you do accept intervention at any point ensure that should this lead on to the suggestion of more intervention that you use your BRAINS again.

If conversations around intervention are required prior to labour starting I would strongly recommend that women take their partner with them to any appointments as this can become very emotional for a pregnant woman.  Also, during labour ideally it will be the birth partners role to ask the questions and for the couple to then discuss the answers and make the decisions together.

Use your BRAINS, be informed and make the right decisions for you and your baby.

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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

App Store - Hypnobirthing Home Study

I am very excited to announce the birth of my new baby.  Well my freebie iPhone app that is now available :-)

You can find out more about it here.

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Birth Stories to inspire!

A quickie post to share a link to the Hypnobirthing Stories on my website as I've just added some new ones.


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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Looking at the birth process from a physical perspective

Last night I felt very privileged to attend a talk by Michel Odent. For those who don't know him he is a French Obstetrician and leading pioneer for natural childbirth. He is now 81 years old and is an inspiration in himself but the way he talks about birth is captivating. As I listened though I actually became more and more baffled at why the majority of medical professionals do not appear to share the same views as him. His work is proof alone but it is also all just such common sense. Of course we share this same common sense view of birth during hypnobirthing classes, so none of what he was saying was particularly new information for me, but I loved the way he explained certain things and I felt I wanted to share this with my readers.

Odent states that as birthing is an involuntary process we cannot help it but we can inhibit it and knowing this we need to protect it from that happening. We can learn about this by, as the title of this posts says, looking at the birth process from a physical perspective.

As humans we are different from other mammals in that we have a developed neo cortex. This is important for birthing as it has nothing to do with the neo cortex but comes from our archaic, primitive brain. Our inhibitions though do come from the neo cortex and therefore it must be switched off during the birthing process to allow a woman's natural birthing instincts to come to the fore. Let's look at this in more detail

  1. Language stimulates the neo cortex - Silence (or more specifically lack of communication) is a basic need of labour. Language in particular when expressing a question needs activity in the neo cortex to prepare an answer. To further highlight this he asks us to imagine a couple making love, they are in an orgasmic state and the women ask the man "what do you want for dinner". No further explanation needed ;-).
  2. Light can stimulate the neo cortex - the darkness hormone melatonin reduces neo cortex activity.
  3. When we feel observed we observe ourselves and the neo cortex is stimulated
  4. When we perceive a possible danger the neo cortex is stimulated
  5. Emotional states are contagious - if a labouring woman is being supported by someone with high adrenaline levels this may cause her to mirror their hormone activity.
Amongst other things during hypnobirthing classes we teach:
  1. The dad/birth partner to be the labouring woman's advocate and deal with any discussions that need to take place.
  2. To look at ways to dim the lights (particularly in a hospital room) but if this is not possible by using the hypnosis techniques the mum is able to become much more internally focussed and therefore less aware of outside stimuli.
  3. The dad to protect mum from unnecessary interruption and be a gentle loving support.
  4. Couples to decide where the best place is for them to birth and also to understand that they are always the ones in control of their birth experience (even if they hand their birthing over to a doctor because of true medical circumstances if they have asked questions, got answers and made the decision for themselves they will maintain that control). Feeling safe and in control is key to the body functioning normally during birth.
  5. Dads/birth companions are also taught relaxation techniques alongside the mums as we know their adrenaline is catching. They leave the classes feeling fully confident in their role and with the skills to remain calm, relaxed and in control throughout the birth of their baby whilst being of wonderful support to their partner.
Makes sense doesn't it?

Odent smiled at the end of his talk and I had to smile with him when he said "we need modern science to rediscover and explain what is simple and common sense".

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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Cloak of Protection

In my previous post I wrote about a useful technique to help protect you from others negativity called the Cloak of Protection.

For pregnant women their beautiful bump can be like a shining beacon for all and sundry, friends, family, colleagues and even strangers to share their horrors and fears of birthing. I tell my clients to politely ask others to not share all this negativity and if they don't to place their fingers in their ears and sing lah lah lah until the offending person stops.

For those who feel my first two suggestions are not suitable there is as I've already mentioned the Cloak of Protection. I've been getting so many fantastic examples of how women are using this technique both from those using my Hypno 4 Birth Home Study Programme and my face-to-face clients that I thought I would offer it as Christmas Gift for readers of my blog (this gift is now out of date but if you would like to purchase this mp3 you can do so on my site)

If you are reading this and you are not pregnant you can still use the mp3 to learn the technique but just set the intention beforehand to ignore the references to pregnancy and birth.

Merry Christmas

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"A mental view or outlook"

The other day Jim (my husband for those who don't know) emailed me saying he was feeling rather fed up. The company he works for recently went under and he is one of the few employees remaining that have been asked to help wind down the company. Jim is very diligent and was feeling really frustrated by some of his colleagues who were treating the situation as a free ride and were also being very negative. In his view they were still being paid to do a job and should be doing that job. With regards to the negativity well, no-one is making them stay!

I replied with a little technique that is great for preventing others negativity from impacting on you and that is to imagine a forcefield around you (I usually say cloak of protection but as he is a guy I changed it). Once you've done this you then imagine that any negativity simply bounces off of you. Once you start imagining this it is quite fascinating how you become distanced from the feelings of others and in turn their emotions can't affect you.

I then found myself writing (I say 'found' because I don't always know where these things come from, ideas appear to be stored in my subconscious and just turn up when they feel like it ;-)). Anyway I wrote "See what you want to see, hear what you want to hear and feel what you want to feel". The subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between real or imagined events and if we imagine positive things it believes those things and in turn we feel good.

My mind then wandered off to the recent Derren Brown programme I had watched about creating luck. They had interviewed the local butcher, Wayne who said if there wasn't bad luck he wouldn't have any luck. Derren then wanted to see if his belief was preventing him from being lucky and so a series of lucky 'opportunities' were set up for Wayne:

  • A fake scratch card through his door that if he'd played he would have won a TV
  • A woman asking questions about cuts of meat and when passers by got the answer right she gave them £20. Wayne said he'd be back in 10 minutes but despite her being there all day and handing out lots of money he never returned.
  • They then put a £50 note in his path and he walked straight on by without noticing it.
  • Eventually, they had an advertising van follow him that said "If your name is Wayne call this number". Finally, after seeing it a number of times he called.
His belief that he was unlucky had filtered out any possibility that he could be lucky and therefore he had missed out on the opportunities.

Later that day I was with a fertility client and she was sharing with me that she'd been away for a weekend and all the conversations were around babies and she felt very left out. Having acknowledged that women do tend to talk about their kids a lot, I told her about Wayne and asked her if perhaps she thought she might have missed out on any opportunities to have different conversations.

It is interesting isn't it? The way we perceive a situation or our very own beliefs can change how we experience our world. Why not give it a try, for one whole day decide what you want to see, what you want to hear and how you want to feel and see what happens.

Post a comment and share what you find.

If you are interested in exploring how you can live in the moment and focus more on what you want rather than what you don't want maybe a Feel good Look good workshop is for you.

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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Never fear mummy is here

By the time Evan and I left her swimming lesson on Sunday around 6:15 pm, being November it was of course already dark and on this particular evening it was also very foggy. As we approached the car Evan said she was frightened of the tree worried that it could poke her in the eye. I of course reassured her and pointed out that we were too far from the tree for that to happen. Once settled in the car Evan said she was frightened that the tree would follow us and come into her bedroom and hurt her. Once again I sought to reassure her saying that the tree couldn't do this because it was rooted in the ground. We had a further chat about why the tree needed its roots, etc and then Evan fell quiet for a few moment. She then said "I wish I was a mummy and then I wouldn't be frightened any more". This of course made my heart twinge but at the same time I was glad that she believed I was strong.

Little does she know of course that being a mum is often one of the most frightening things and that fear can attack you at every corner if you let it. Particularly, if like me you grew up being fearful of everything and worrying all of the time. I believe that my early life was impacted by the fact that my dad died whilst my mum was 8 months pregnant with me, I strongly believe her strong negative emotions left a lasting imprint on me that has taken many, many years to resolve (well almost).

The first turning point for me was my hypnotherapy / counseling course at 30 when I started to look at the world through different eyes. My training in HypnoBirthing and HypnoFertility taught me more about fear and its impact on the body and from then on I've spent the last couple of years researching emotions which has led me to co-create the Feel good Look good programme.

I always practice what I preach and use the techniques that I teach all of the time in order to ensure that I am living in the now and enjoying life as much as I can.

I hope Evan's fears are just normal small child concerns as she is learning about the world. I teach her kiddy versions of the techniques that I teach to adults which help her to relax and use her imagination positively. She in turns uses them back at me when she sees me getting tense or anxious ;-).

That evening I told her about the Magic Faraway Tree that I used to love reading about when I was a little girl and that I would share great stories with her about the adventures that were had at the top of that tree. She smiled and snuggled down to sleep.

We had moved from fear to understanding to feeling good.

I wish I'd been taught these things earlier but our experiences make us wiser and I know that I have a positive impact on many peoples lives and that makes me feel good.

If you are sitting reading this feeling that you could also benefit from learning more about how to focus on the positive and enjoy life more, you may find that the Feel good Look good programme is for you.

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