24 July 2013

Review: HypnoBirthing by Marie Mongan

I'm at an age where everyone I know seems to be having babies, so when we finally got pregnant there were plenty of people ready to offer advice. One thing that came up repeatedly was HypnoBirthing - my cousin and a friend both found it extremely helpful before their births. So when Souvenir Press Ltd offered to send me a copy of Marie Mongan's HypnoBirthing book for review, it seemed an obvious choice.
Marie Mongan is one of the leading voices in the HypnoBirthing movement. She has used her experience as a hypnotherapist to build on the Dick-Read birthing method to form her own HypnoBirthing philosophy. The general premise seems to be that by using self-hypnosis techniques you can remain calm and relaxed, easing your labour and distancing yourself from the pain.

I have to admit I was a bit dubious. To get the full benefits of HypnoBirthing you really need to take classes alongside the book and you need time to practice the recommended skills. With just six weeks to go, I doubted I could really put HypnoBirthing into practice.

I was also a bit worried that HypnoBirthing might be quite heavy reading, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it light and accessible. I really enjoyed the first 50 pages which covered the history of child birth and how our perceptions have been influenced. Mongan suggests that birth doesn't have to be the terribly painful experience we often see on film - instead with practice birth can be embraced as a positive empowering experience.
While I may not be able to use the HypnoBirthing skills described in the book, I still found sections useful. We've also been attending the hospital antenatal classes, and I've found Mongan's descriptions of labour much more helpful. Rather than focusing on cervix texture and centimetres of dilation, there are explanations of how the muscles are working together to open the cervix and how you can help them work efficiently to progress your labour.

HypnoBirthing has also made me consider the skills I already have. Many of the breathing and meditation techniques Mongan recommends help you to stay calm and relaxed, which in theory reduces the pain you feel. I noticed there were similarities between the HypnoBirthing techniques and my experiences in Quaker worship. Though not immediately obvious, I discovered skills I hope may give me more control over my birth experience.

I think that's one of the books strongest aspects - it suggests that we can take active control of our child's birth. It also places a lot of importance on the support of a birthing partner, which can help engage husbands and partners - making them an integral part of the birth process.

Definitely an interesting book, HypnoBirthing offers an alternate perspective that may encourage you to look at childbirth with new eyes - though we'll have to wait a few more weeks to see if it's helped me. I'd probably recommend reading HypnoBirthing early on in your pregnancy, so you have time to find a class if you decide if it's something you'd like to explore further.

Has anyone else given HypnoBirthing a try?

14 July 2013

I'm Kate, and I'm going to Blog On 2013!

Blogs Up North Blog On 2013
I spend an awful lot of time at home on my own, so when an opportunity come up to get out and meet people I'll jump at the chance. It's even better if I don't have to explain why I publish the personal details and minutia of my life on the internet. I was thrilled when I heard about Blogs Up North, here was an opportunity to meet loads of people with the same strange hobby.

Next weekend 70 northern bloggers are meeting to trade ideas, tips and laughs at Blog On 2013. Of course the challenge at these events is working out who everyone is, so we're having a bit of a who's who linky where everyone introduces themselves - I hate doing these things, but here goes.

I'm Kate, and I should be fairly easy to spot as I think there are only a handful of ladies with bumps attending. You'll probably find me crashed out in the nearest chair, but I promise I'm friendly and always happy to chat!

I'm in the middle of decorating our nursery, so if your interested in refurbishing furniture, Ikea hacks, crafting, real nappies or bargain shopping I'm sure we'll find plenty to talk about!

I can't wait to meet everyone on the day, but if you want to chat before hand you can also find me on:

8 July 2013

32 Weeks - Parenting Classes

Last week we started the hospital parenting classes. I'm not sure we really learned anything new at the first class, but it did offer a revelation.

The midwife has us go around the room and say what our biggest worries were. Most of the women were wary of the unknown and worried about the pain. The midwife said "Of course most women have only experienced tooth ache or menstrual cramps." The voice in my head just went "Really??"

I know I've been unlucky when it comes to health issues - just in the last two years I've had thyroid problems, the ectopic pregnancy rupture, a cancer scare, two cycles of IVF and the ever present Fibromyalgia -  but I don't think I'd realised that most people have had none of those experiences. I'd been unlucky, but I assumed most people would have faced their own problem. It suddenly put the anxiety I'd been feeling in a bit more perspective.

To be honest I'm not that worried about the pain. I'm not suggesting labour will be easy, but it's something you get through. I'm mostly worried about the doctors, midwives and nurses. I've spent a good portion of my time in hospitals, and I know that the difference between a good experience and a bad one is all down to who you see.

In virtually everything I've read people have been so worried about the pain, that I was starting to think I was missing something - but with this revelation, I suspect it's just that I have a different perspective.

Otherwise, my pregnancy is going surprisingly well. I've been a bit fatigued, which has made sitting at the sewing machine difficult, but it's not been too bad. I've also had some back pain, but I think that's just the kidney stones acting up again. It caused a bit of a blip on one of the midwife's tests, but apparently everything's fine.

As for Twitch, just after my last post he seemed to be feeling a bit cramped. His new trick was to stretch and push at both sides at once. At one point we could feel a small hard bump that was a tiny little foot pushing out. Since then he's turned and the kicks have reduced, but he either has daily hiccups or he's taken up drumming as a hobby!

Just 8 weeks to go!