Marie Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy., is a life-long educator, former college dean, clinical hypnotherapist, and Director of the Hypnobirthing Institute. She is the recipient of the 1995 National Guild of Hypnotists President's Award and received the coveted Charles Tebbetts Award in 2000 for the recognition she has brought to hypnotherapy. Ms. Mongan lives in New Hampshire, but spends much of her time on the road training new instructors in the techniques of hypnobirthing. She is the mother of four adult children, all born using the techniques upon which hypnobirthing is based.
Preparing women for birthing by educating them in the true physiology of labor was the backbone of Dick-ReadÆs work. For many women who were preparing for natural birthing in the 1950s, that appeal to their intellect was enough to make them break with traditional attitudes and bring their children into the world unmedicated and alert. It was simpler then. Most babies came into the world with the assistance of the family doctor, a person who was probably known to the birthing mother since she, herself, was a child. While women did not expect that birth would be a picnic, they were not terrified of the experience, and families of three or four children were not uncommon. Free of debilitating fear, they often were able to bring their babies to crowning with little fuss, and were anesthetized only in time for the doctor to arrive and extract the baby with forceps. Those who subscribed to the philosophy of natural birth were free of fear, free of anesthesia and, for the most part, free of the discomfort of labor.
If you are like most pregnant women, you will find that as you move through these days and months of pregnancy, you will be met with a whole new set of feelings, anxieties, doubts, questions, decisions and tasks that you never had to consider before. Some of these will center on your pregnancy, labor and birthing, but there may be more that will cause you to look at the many transformational experiences that bringing a baby into your life will present. This is natural. As you prepare your mind and body for your babyÆs birth, you will want to be ready in this regard alsoùfree of any fears, reservations or limiting thoughts.
ItÆs helpful for both you and your partner to be able to identify feelings, experiences or recollections that may be painful or hurtful, thus limiting your ability to approach birthing free of harmful emotions. Take a look at those emotions that may foster a feeling of uneasiness, meet them head-on and release any conflict you may be harboring (consciously or subconsciously) because of them. Once you have been able to work through and resolve lingering emotions, limiting thoughts, experiences or memories that could stand in the way of an easy birthing, you will have a better sense of your own ability to approach the birth of your baby with trust and confidence.
Thoroughly search your inner feelings to discover the areas that you feel very confident about and those that you need to work through so that you can resolve any fears or misgivings that you are holding. Brushing aside matters that concern you may help you to get through your pregnancy, but these concerns can easily surface as fears when you are in labor, and they can affect the course of your labor. You will want to take advantage of the opportunity to talk with your partner, your birthing companion or a good friend who can help you explore and discuss any thoughts that could be troubling you.
Your HypnoBirthing practitioner will help you inventory and identify those areas of your life that could possibly serve as obstacles. The practitioner will help you work with fear-release sessions in class. If you still feel you need some assistance in releasing lingering fears after you do the sessions in class and talk with your partner and friends, ask your practitioner for a private session. If you are not able to work with a trained practitioner, you may find it helpful to seek the counsel of a hypnotherapist to do release work with you. A fear release hypnotherapy session is truly one of the most effective ways of eliminating toxic emotions.
Listed below are just a few areas of concern to pregnant women that surfaced in the early nineties as a result of Dr. Louis Mehl-MadronnaÆs study on turning breech babies with hypnosis. Your own inventory may reveal other issues that you would like to resolve.
- Your own birthùWhat stories have you heard about your own birth? Are they positive and encouraging, or negative and frightening? Do you feel that you will duplicate your motherÆs labor? If what youÆve been told is less than encouraging, you might want to work on establishing that you are not your mother, and this is not her pregnancy. You are an entirely different person at a different time and under different circumstances.
- OthersÆ birth storiesùHave you been surrounded with stories of joyful birthing, or have family members impressed upon you ôfamily patternsö of long labors, back labor, severe pain and medical intervention? Again, you do not need to assume the experiences of the people who are relating these stories. There is no reason to believe that you will birth as they did. Work at checking those kinds of thoughts so that you donÆt bring their past baggage into your birthing.
- Previous laborsùHas your own experience with labor been easy and satisfying, or are you carrying recollections of an arduous ordeal? If you had a less than satisfying labor, take hope in the fact that you are better prepared for an easier birth this time, and you now can approach birthing with more knowledge and planning than you did before. Make your HypnoBirthing skills work for you, and get rid of the memories of the previous birth or births.
¬2004. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Hypnobirthing:The breakthrough natural approach to safer, easier, more comfortable birthing - The Mongan Method, 3rd Edition Marie Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.