Midwife Mondays 33: Hypnobirthing, A Teary Bad Day & Heading Back Out Onto Placement!

This week has been an interesting one for me.

We only had two days in uni this week (we are gradually approaching study leave time and I think they are slowly getting us ready for the huge amount of self-led revision time we are going to have in just a matter of weeks – eek!)
The First day was a skills day with the main focus of teaching us all about hypnobirthing. I had heard a lot about hypnobirthing and I really love the idea of it, both as a midwife and also potentially for when I have my own children at some point in the future.
It really seems to be gaining popularity at the moment – Giovanna Fletcher talked about hypnobirthing in her vlogs when she was pregnant with both of her boys and it seems to be something that had a really incredible effect for her, particularly when it came to delivery. Her vlogs on her birth experience, particularly with her second son, are well worth a watch if you are interested. (Have a look at this one for the birth story of her youngest’s delivery – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qF80QjeLQCQ – it comes in at around 5.15. There is also a video where her and her husband Tom talk all the details of hypnobirthing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9GZXxXhkZM)

We had a chance to try out one of the relaxation tracks as a group, and to start with it was lovely, visualising light travelling over different parts of your body and feeling those parts relax completely – I can definitely see how listening to these tracks throughout your pregnancy must have an amazing effect – particular listening together as a couple. For me, however, the particular track we were listening to was just not right. The majority of our group absolutely loved it, and came out of the 20 minute relaxation feeling all floaty and positive. However, for me, there was a part of it that really didn’t sit well with me.

I’ll say this, when you do hypnobirthing classes, you have a specialist who teaches you the techniques and gives you tracks that they think would be a good fit for you as an individual and as a couple. Doing this particular track, in a group setting, in a classroom was completely out of context, and I’m also 100% certain that if I were to go to a hypnobirthing specialist they would not give me this particular track. It just wasn’t a good fit for me, and just like no labour or pregnancy is the same, everyone is different and so different tracks are obviously going to affect people in different ways.

There was a part of this particular track that encourages you to visualise your concerns and any negativity, including any negative things in your past, and then visualise the destruction and disappearance of those things – which is meant to leave you feeling positive and empowered. For me, this just didn’t work like that, and instead it pulled up some really difficult feelings and memories for me and I ended up quite upset by the whole thing.

It’s a complicated thing to write about really because I honestly don’t believe that my experience is even a slight reflection on the effect that Hypnobirthing can have on you at all (I really love the idea of hypnobirthing and what it can do for you), but at the same time, I didn’t want to not mention it. I have always said I will be honest on this blog, about every experience of this journey, so I wanted to tell you guys about this, even though I genuinely think it was just completely out of context, and this was just definitely the wrong track for me. I am going to see if I can get my tutor to send over some of the other tracks so I can try them at home and see how they work for me – I’ll keep you posted.

So yeah, that day was a bit of a blur from then on as I tried to get my head back into a positive mindset and pull myself together a bit.

That evening however, was the perfect change of scene to get my head back where I wanted it as I had an appointment with one of the ladies on my caseload who is coming up to her due date. I love seeing the ladies on my caseload – it is a really unique relationship. You still have a very professional relationship, but you know each other so much better than the normal midwife-woman relationship. I’ve known her and her partner since their first midwife appointment and now here we are 8.5 months along the line – it’s really exciting.

We had a lovely appointment, and chatted through her birth preferences and what to do when she thinks things are all starting to “kick off” etc. Seeing her was exactly what I needed to brighten me up after a bit of a crappy day, and to remind me why this job is so very special and why I’m so lucky to be doing this incredible training.

On our second day in uni this week we had a normal lecture day where we focussed on mother-and-baby bonding, and psychological attachment, as well as looking women with disabilities through pregnancy and labour (we also had a pretty detailed discussion about how much we dislike the term “disabled” too!)

We only have a handful of days left in uni now before we are officially in Second Year (how the hell did that happen?!?!?) – we head back out onto placement again this week for 6 weeks, then we have a matter of days in uni, then it’s full on study leave, a handful of exams and then summer! Obviously as it is a healthcare course, we don’t get the normal uni summer of about 5 months – we get 3 weeks, and by god am I gonna make the most of them when they come!

So, placement number 3 starts tomorrow – eek! I’m on the postnatal ward this time which I’ve heard can be very busy, but I know that it is going to be the perfect close to the years worth of placements for me; starting antenatally in community, then onto the Birth Centre, and now postnatal – it’s going to have been a really rounded first year experience I think!

For more information about hypnobirthing, have a look at hypnobirthing.co.uk – as I said, I don’t think my out-of-context, classroom experience is ANYTHING to go by and I actually think it’s something that I will look into much further as I move onwards in my career.

Image by Max van den Oetelaar

To read last week’s Midwife Mondays, click here

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