Monday, 19 July 2010

The Perfect Birth

What's that then?

There have been quite a few posts and comments recently on the Baby Centre HypnoBirth Board about having or not having a perfect birth. Many of them start out with a post that friends and family believe that because they are planning a HypnoBirth they are setting themselves up for disappointment and they are being unrealistic about their expectations.

Then yesterday I had a client say to me that although she is wanting a natural birth, because she is considered high risk she doesn't want to only focus on having a perfect birth in case it just isn't possible. So we explored together what a perfect birth is because preparing for a HypnoBirth isn't about having a short, calm, comfortable natural labour and birth free of intervention (although of course many achieve this) it is about empowerment. Couples taking control of their birth experience, having the confidence to ask appropriate questions and making decisions based on the answer that are right for them, not anyone else. Not what I would do (or any other practitioner they have attended classes with), nor their doctor, midwives, friend, sister and so on. What is right for them.

  • The perfect birth is the birth that is right for mum and baby on the day.
  • The perfect birth is one in which the couple look back upon and know that all decisions were theirs.
  • The perfect birth is one in which mum and dad felt they were always in control of even if that meant making the decision to hand over to the experts because there were special circumstances.
I don't get 100% feedback that births played out in the way that was desired but I do get 100% feedback that the techniques are useful no matter what and that is the true value of HypnoBirthing.

How can that be setting a woman up for disappointment?

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  1. I agree with you that it is about feeling in control, comfortable with the decisions that you made. However, as someone who had 2 emergency c-sections i can't help but feel a little bit jaded about whether either of these things is always possible.

  2. marketingtomilk that is exactly my point. Sometimes births end up in emergency c-sections. This has happened to some of my clients and they have asked appropriate questions and made the decision that is the right choice for them. Others have been told "we MUST get this baby out right now" and after asking those questions decided they could wait and went on to have a natural birth. The point is that couples know that they are the ones making the decision based on what is happening in the moment and what is right for them. This is how they maintain control of their births NOT by avoiding intervention.

  3. So many women feel let down because they weren't able to achieve their 'perfect birth' and it is often a critisism levelled at natural birth supporters and HypnoBirthing practitioners that we set women up for failure! You have clearly and simply addressed these concerns in your article here. Personally, I studied HypnoBirthing whilst pregnant with my second son and my original plan was to birth at home with a birthing pool and independent midwife. However, due to a series of special circumstances my son ended up being born by emergency c-section at 33 weeks. Was it my ideal birth? No. But perhaps it was the perfect birth for myself and my son given the circumstances and the HypnoBirthing techniques I learnt helped me and my husband stay calm and focussed throughout; confident in the decisions we made along the way.
    (My birth story in full -

  4. Thanks for sharing your comments Claire :-)

  5. HypnoBirthing is not about natural childbirth, although it obviously helps to achieve such a birth. As a practitioner I ensure that my clients absolutely know that HypnoBirthing is not dogmatic about how and where a woman gives birth to a child. To be honest, I am not concerned with the style of a woman's birth. What I am absolutely concerned about is that parents feel that their birth plays out in a way that they are comfortable - that they own the process rather than the process being done to them without their input.
    I too can relate to this on a personal level - my first birth was to be a home HypnoBirth but ended up being an elective C-section. To be honest, I was initially devastated by the loss of my 'perfect birth' but HypnoBirthing helped me gain perspective and I had a perfect birth - 100% perfect. I also think that the best birthing story that I had from a client was one in which a home birth turned into a C-section due to an undiagnosed transverse.
    So, Dany, you are so right that HypnoBirthing doesn't set parents up for disappointment - it sets them up for success.

  6. I've never tried hypno birthing myself and i've had three babies to three seperate relationships. i admit a farely unconventional way of going about it but me and my babies are all happy with our life together. However i am fully confident that a womans psychological state (doing an OU psychology degree myself at the moment) play an enormous part in how ones labour goes. My first baby admittedly was almost an emergency section (the first is always the hardest and i was a nervous single mum at the time). In fact they got as far as giving me the spinal injection before getting her out with forceps (after nearly 20 hours in labour and trying everything else). My second little girl, was out in 2 hours as at that point in my life i thought things were smooth and i was happy. 'Thought' being the important word there. With my third, a chunky little boy, i was a total mess and struggling immensely even between contractions. i was panicking and not in control at all of the situation and close to fainting at some points. even after birth i was a mess and could barely hold my son. Psychologically before the birth and afterwards i was hitting rock bottom and becoming very depressed. With these three experiences behind me and having spoken in depth to a friend of mine who teaches hypnobirthing, i would be completely willing to go for it and trust that being calm and in control whilst in labour would make things run so much more smoothly. Its something i think about a lot as my current knight in shining armour and i often talk wistfully of maybe having a baby together in the distant future. But it's something i would like to talk more of and look more into before i get to the point where i have a 9 month time limit. : )