06.06.12 Wellness

Is Painful Childbirth All In Your Head?

Is Painful Childbirth All In Your Head?

BY Alice Grist

Several months ago, like many an expectant mother, I was in a place of fear. A lifetime of hearing horrific birthing stories had well prepared me to feel instant horror at the thought of what loomed ahead. Whilst I could embrace my pregnancy happily, spiritually even, the whole idea of giving birth was terrifying.

I no longer feel that way. You may be surprised to hear that I am looking forward to my birthing day. How did this marvelous transition occur I hear you gasp? Well as a soulful kinda gal, fear was not something I could tolerate for long without doing something about it. I have written books on adapting a positive spiritual mental attitude and I believe that life is as you think it. Something had to give…

I’m currently studying Hypnotherapy, so I decided to look into the possibilities of how hypnotic techniques can assist a laboring mum. What I found was a goldmine for any potential momma to be. I discovered ‘Hypnobirthing – The Marie Mongan Method’. Hypnobirthing digs into our ancient ability to birth and is incredibly logical. It is about changing thought patterns and learning coping strategies that are self-implemented and powerful. Hypnobirthing teaches that the pain felt in childbirth is not a natural side effect of birth – this pain, instead stems from fear. Fears provoke the body’s fight, flight or freeze response, energy is directed away from the birthing process and a lifetime of anticipating great pain becomes true. It is no surprise that so many of our women folk are left begging for the numbing sensation of whatever drug happens to be closest.

In spite of this many other cultures experience childbirth as an empowering, straightforward, intense rite of passage for women. They don’t understand what all of our Western fuss is about. Yet physiologically our bodies are identical.
Hypnobirthing places the power for birthing back in the hands of the parents. The formula is a simple one. It involves removing fear, learning to deeply relax and guess what… trusting our bodies. Yes actually trusting that women have birthed for millenia, many in a time or land without chemical or surgical interference and they have done so quite nicely.

I’m currently learning to trust my body and my baby to do what comes natural. I believe I’ve conquered my fears of childbirth and I’m looking forward to the whole process. I know – how peculiar! I’m not suggesting birth won’t be a challenge, or that it will be totally pain free, but I am visualizing that the intensity of natural birth will be a wondrous occurrence. This is the first soulful gift I can give my little baby. A birth that is not only anticipated with excitement and big huge love, but delivered with it too.

Alice Grist is author of The High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment and award winning The High Heeled Guide to Spiritual Living. Alice's third book due out early 2013 is; Dear Poppyseed, A Soulful Momma’s Journal. Alice is imprint publisher of Soul Rocks Books that publishes soulful and spiritual books for a new modern generation. Alice regularly contributes her soulful writings to a number of publications and online sites including Huffington Post. For more info go to www.alicegrist.co.uk.


  • Jennlds

    It is a great accomplishment!  I took the Hypnobabies course, stopped watching horrible births on tv, told my baby he was going to start contractions at 6:30am and be done with the whole thing by 2:30pm.  Everyone told me that I should beware, this was my first birth. Well, he did exactly as i told him. Woke me up at 6:40am and was born at 2:31pm!  There is a lot to say for the old “see the ball going in the hoop.”  

    Time is perspective.  I look back on that experience, feel i owned it and am incredible proud of myself.  Little did I know that birthing would be cake in comparison to breastfeeding…

  • Ravyn Stadick

    I love this post & I hope you’ll share more once the baby has arrived. We are planning on starting our family next year, and I have been researching the Bradley Method and hypnobirthing for some time. I photograph birth (specifically home birth), and I am constantly amazed at the strength we have as women. Watching a woman bring her baby into the world is so empowering … So much luck to you!

  • Fasula2

    Yes creating your birth story how you know your birth can be is a wonderful exercise i recommend my moms and dads to do. It’s amazing how it can follow the intention in many births.
    I am a birth doula and had three amazing homebirths.  I am inspired to empower woman and their partners in this powerful rites of passage.You can email me with questions to fasula2@gmail.com

  • Sarah

    That is exactly how I felt and had a wonderful birth experience.  http://unorthadoxmomma.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/i-did-it/

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