Mia was a second time Mum who contacted me due to a previous traumatic birth. Before she booked a course, we had a quick phone chat to see how I could help her. She told me that she hadn’t thought much about her next birth. However, after seeing a birth on TV became so emotional and fearful she cried. This reaction is really common following a traumatic birth. Seemingly innocuous events can have a trigger effect to negative emotions. I briefly explained the benefits of hypnobirthing to Mia, and we agreed that the sooner she started the better. We met the following week.
Teaching Mia and her birth partner was a different experience for me, as they weren’t completely convinced on the power of hypnobirthing! They booked me because they were desperate to try something to help have a better experience than the last time. Whilst teaching there were quite a few break through moments. One of these moments was when I recounted my first birth story. It was clear they had never heard birth described in this way. After a traumatic birth, it is hard to imagine that birth can be any other way.
The other break through moments were when we were discussing birth options and preferences. There were several times when Mia told me she wasn’t aware that she could refuse certain options, or that she would be allowed certain options. This is very common with a lot of second time Mums. By not knowing their options, they loose an element of control regarding their birth.
After the first session I could tell that Mia’s opinion of hypnobirthing had transformed. She even confessed to me that she had already booked herself in for an elective caesarean. She had only gone along with the session as she didn’t think she would get a refund! Mia then went on to say that she felt much more confident in her ability to birth and really wanted to try for a vaginal birth now. It was amazing to see the transformation of someone struggling from a previous traumatic birth, to this new attitude.
The birth, in Mia’s words
I know I said the whole way through I was unsure of the whole hypnobirthing thing but just desperate not to freak out… and to be completely honest I didn’t do much practice afterwards in regards to listening to the tapes and relaxations etc. I just tried to think positively about the whole thing and focus on a few things that had told me, that really stuck in my mind.
I ended up being induced which worked super fast and I was in a lot of pain within a couple of hours. Because the hospital knew how traumatic my previous birth had been, and my fear, they decided to stop the induction and book me for a caesarean the next day. However, they checked me and I was already 5cm dilated. I remember being super proud and shocked that I’d got that far just from breathing. (I never really believed that just breathing could help until then!). At times I did panic and lose the plot a bit, so asked for an epidural.
By the time the doctor came I was already 8cm dilated and it was too late! I managed the rest of the birth with just gas and air. Admittedly, I did freak at times, but am so happy that I didn’t need a caesarean or epidural. I managed with just the hypnobirthing techniques that worked for me. After my first traumatic birth, I found this strangely amazing and want to do it again! I may not be the best hypnobirthing candidate, but I do definitely believe I took what I needed from it and wanted to say thank you.
I love Mia’s birth story, and know that she feels very proud of it. She has since said that she can’t stop talking about how well it went. Feeling like that you sometimes ‘loose it’ in childbirth is not a sign that hypnobirthing hasn’t worked. Every woman is different, and every birth is different. Some are noisy and vocal, some are not. There is no right or wrong way to birth. The important thing is how a woman feels after. To go from someone who wanted a caesarean due to fear, rather than a considered choice, to someone who births naturally is amazing!
Moving on from a traumatic birth
If you have suffered a traumatic birth there are resources to help you move on. You can ask your caregivers for a debrief on your previous birth. This will allow you to understand a bit more about what happened, the reasons for this and what to learn from it. You can also contact The Birth Trauma Association.
If you have had a previous traumatic birth, and are pregnant again, please consider booking a hypnobirthing course to see how it can help you. You can contact me here.