|Originally posted by Breathe
Wow. This input was *exactly* what I needed. From hearing all your stories, I'm feeling more and more convinced that whether or not you experience a lot of labor pain is pure luck! Yes, there certainly seem to be ways to lessen the pain, if needed (relaxing, water, counterpressure), but I'm pretty convinced that "mind over matter" isn't really going to work if there are some true physical sensations going on that are tough on your body.
Amen, Breathe. Personally, I think labor pain or the perception of labor pain, is a meaningless physiological variable, like nearsightedness, or an individual's rate of cervical dilation, for example. On the other hand, I do believe fear causes pain in labor. That's not the same thing as saying fear causes ALL pain in labor, a notion I find to be frankly ludicrous. Admittedly, I didn't use to believe other women truly experienced painless childbirth. How is this even possible? However, after experiencing the intensity of uterine contractions both with hypnobirthing and without, I can absolutely see how it's true. For me, it's as simple as acknowledging that in much the same way some women feel cramps during their period while others feel nothing, for some women, uterine contractions on their own just don't hurt. Take away the fear-tension pain, and all they're left with is a feeling of tightening, discomfort, or even ecstasy, if they're lucky.
I wasn't lucky. Take away my fear-tension pain, and I was left with, well, Pain. But much less pain. Very manageable pain. Exciting Wow that was SOMETHING Pain. No thank you, I'm ok Pain. I can totally handle it for the duration of this one long breath Pain.
For me, hypnobirthing was a safe and empowering way of relieving the part of my pain I had complete control over, which was MUCH more than I thought, as it turned out. So while labor wasn't exactly pain-free, the normal pain was put into a context where the pain wasn't the point. It was there, but more of a sort of peripheral sensation, unpleasant when I focused on it, but ultimately just one of many much more interesting sensations competing for my attention. Sort of like when you're running a race or dancing all night. You don't focus on the lbs per sq inch pounding your feet, or your lactic acid threshold, or whatever it is that makes intense physical activity unpleasant. You just experience the moment as it is.
Tanibani, your post took me back to my own hypnobirthing labor. "the storm stops dead." Yup, that was very much how I experienced it, too. Unfortunately, sometimes the hype surrounding hypnobirthing overshadows the very real benefits of it. That's why I tell women that hypnobirthing is an appropriate tool for women who want childbirth without aneasthesia, not childbirth without pain. For me, it was indispensable and I credit it with giving me the chance to have my HBAC. The hypnobirthing scripts and affirmations remind you to trust your body to do the work its designed to do. No doubt, fear of pain leads a lot of women to seek out hypnobirthing as a way to eliminate it. Pain in most other contexts serves as an indicator of illness, a harbinger of death, so it feels logical that if there is less pain, there's somehow less danger. Hypnobirthing trains your mind to separate the sensation of pain from the feeling that something's wrong. Not everyone knows how to do this instinctively and many of us, myself included, need *something* to counteract the relentless brainwash we're subjected to from Day One telling us that childbirth is dangerous and our bodies don't work well most of the time. As a survivor of 2 highly managed hospital births (one c-section, one hard-won VBAC), I needed some serious
deprogramming before I attempted my HBAC.