I've been a bit of a "birth junkie" for years now, but only TTC recently... and was successful right away. Praying for a sticky bean-- so far, at 7 weeks, all looks good.
Anyway! The following is really long, so if you'd rather just skim the bolded parts, those are the most important. Thanks!
Long ago, in the midst of my general birth research, I decided that Hypnobabies was probably my best choice for a CBE class-- Lamaze and Bradley sounded fine, but since I'm planning a homebirth (I've already hired my HB MWs), a good chunk of those courses seemed superfluous. Most discussions debating Hypnobabies vs. Hypnobirth gave me the impression that Hypnobirth was a little more "hard-core" in its belief that "it's ALL in your head," which sorta rubbed me the wrong way. So, Hypnobabies, it is... right?
Just today, I started looking into what my real, local options will be, as I'd rather take a course than home-study. I found one "official" Hypnobabies instructor in my area, a bit of a drive, but not too bad.
One problem-- I recognized her as my BFF's instructor, whom she also hired as her doula for a hospital birth. My BFF's birth ended up in-- actually pretty much started with-- a pretty classic cascade of interventions (ending in C/S for reasons that were at the very least POSSIBLY, if not probably, iatrogenic). I've never pressed it, because I know the subject is sensitive, but at many points when my BFF was telling me her birth story, I thought, "Where was the doula?" I know some doulas are very cautious about overstepping in their advocacy, but basically the doula (and Hypnobabies instructor) didn't seem to do anything with my BFF in terms of advocacy, not even saying anything to my friend about her care. And there were things that my friend's HCPs said to her that were outright lies, though they may have believed them, and which my BFF said she was skeptical of... but again, the doula/Hypnobabies instructor didn't seem to say anything about those things during her labor, one way or the other. In fact, I barely remember my BFF mentioning the doula in her birth story at all, so I'm not quite sure what she did, though I assume she must have provided massage or Hypnobabies help... or something.
Not saying what the doula did or didn't do was necessarily "wrong." It's a legitimate approach. But now I'm feeling weird about having this same woman give me Hypnobabies instruction. Is that crazy?
Like I can picture myself in a class that's all about letting go of fear, and I feel like this woman will be a reminder of something that still makes me angry-- it happened just a year ago. And I wonder if there isn't something, if subtle, about her philosophy of birth, that might rub me the wrong way... Or if she might give advice to other students about hospital births that bugs me... IDK. Under normal circumstances, I might not worry about it too much, and honestly, I'm not even sure what, if anything, I'm expecting to be problematic about this woman, LOL. But in the environment of letting go, trusting your body, releasing fears, pushing out negativity, etc... I don't know if that's a great mix.
The other obvious alternative, besides Hypnobabies home study, seems to be a woman closer to me, who used to teach Hypnobirth, but now teaches "BlissBorn." I'm really confused as to how it differs from the other hypnosis methods, so if anyone has any insight, I'd be thrilled to know more! All I have gleaned so far is that it uses more "technical"/medical/"real" terms. So I'm guessing that, for example, instead of "pressure waves," it uses the word "contractions." This is fine by me-- in fact, possibly preferable-- my mom is a doctor, so technical/medical terms don't have as much societal baggage for me as they might for some. But I'm not clear on any other differences. I'm especially interested in the overall philosophy-- to what extent "mind over matter" is idealized, etc. I'm obviously a big believer in mind over matter-- you'd have to be to want to do hypnosis-- but I also prefer a philosophy that's a touch flexible and not too isolating, if that makes sense.
Sorry for the novel-- thanks for any help at all!
WAHer & Wannabe, Wife to DH 1998, Mama to Buko, Born at Home March 2013
I don't know anything about those 3 methods... but in regards to the instructor... you don't really know what went down at BFF's birth, nor the environment for doulas at the hospital, or their relationship... so I would probably be worried about hiring her as a doula, but I don't know if she would be less of a course instructor? Anyway you can ask anyone who has taken course with her?
Congrats on the bean!
Good point, slmommy, and thank you! Yes, I should really look for "reviews" of this particular woman and such. It might help me to glean what her overall philosophy is, etc.-- and certainly, like you said, she may just have had her hands tied, and I'm sure I didn't get 100% of the story from my BFF, so...
I did some more digging after I wrote this post, and I feel like a couple of big differences among the three methods may have to do with depth of hypnosis instruction and CBE. What I gleaned from some other discussion boards was that BlissBorn teaches more in-depth hypnosis than Hypnobirth, which is a big plus, but that neither provides as much BIRTH info as Hypnobabies, which is more comprehensive. I.e., my impression was that Hypnobirth and Blissborn were dominated somewhat by hypnotherapists and hypnotherapy philosophies, generally, but that Hypnobabies was more birth-oriented (while also relying on hypnosis)-- and possibly a little more partner-inclusive. So...
OOH, I probably don't need nearly as much "why natural birth?" info, or even a ton of "what happens during birth" info (though my husband would appreciate it)-- and "what to do in the hospital/how to do this in the hospital" info would be even less useful (though it could help if we transfer). I am a bit of a know-it-all and can get impatient when I feel like I'm being made to review info I already know*-- at least if it's really heavy on info I already know.
OTOH, I would rather use a method that's the most childbirth-centric (seems to be Hypnobabies), and I do need to learn more about the emotional signposts and such, so... IDK.
But I will definitely try to find specific reviews of my BFF's Hypnobabies instructor! Especially from women who had homebirths. And maybe I can find some outlines or more info on what's actually covered in a Hypnobabies course, so I can see just what might feel unnecessary/redundant for me-- it may be very little.
*I saw that in myself when I attended a couple of homebirth midwife info sessions and most of the other couples were talking about things like The Girlfriend's Guide or asking episiotomy rates (for HB MWs)... I hated that it made me feel impatient-- and guilty like I had a superiority complex or something. I don't-- but I know myself. I'm really impatient.
WAHer & Wannabe, Wife to DH 1998, Mama to Buko, Born at Home March 2013
Ha. I just Googled and found this, from a successful hospital VBAC story with MWs, a couple months after my BFF's...
"[BFF's instructor/doula] was there to remind me why I did not want an epidural and why I wanted to avoid a c-section. She incorporated Hypnobabies... into my labor experience and was a calming, reassuring presence for me, reminding me that I was doing great..."
So, who knows about my BFF's experience. We did talk about it extensively right after the birth, but obviously I was 99% listening so didn't press on any point. It may be that the instructor/doula said something, but I know my BFF-- while not a total follower-- is definitely more trusting of doctors and authority figures and such than I am (even though my mom's an MD and I totally trust her, LOL). So who knows. Anyway, it does make me feel a bit better about this instructor, though I'm still looking for "reviews" from homebirthers who took her course.
And still looking for more perspectives on Hypnobirth vs. Hypnobabies vs. BlissBorn!
WAHer & Wannabe, Wife to DH 1998, Mama to Buko, Born at Home March 2013
Hi, Buko. I used Hypnobabies for the birth of my twins and had a truly wonderful birthing experience. I live in a rural area, and the closest instructor was an hour and a half drive. Carrying twins and about to enter the 3rd trimester, I no longer wanted to travel so far. I used the Home Study Course. It was absolutely worth it! Natural childbirth was my greatest fear. I only considered it after a friend of mine nicely called me out about how I am into other natural things, and natural birth is the healthiest option, so maybe I wasn't being honest with myself about my best course of action. I knew I needed to confront and deal with the fear that had plagued me for as long as I could remember. I first found Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan. The book was fantastic, and I listened to the cd a few times. However, I wasn't confident that the knowledge I gained was enough. My friend then told me about Hypnobabies. It offers much more in terms of tools to help you to normalize birth in your mind and truly change any negative perceptions of birth forever. The hypnosis tracks are much more relevant to a birthing situation, even including a fear clearing track to rid specific fears and a visualization track to replace the negative with a positive by imagining your ideal birth. It helped me connect to my babies, and I really loved the practice. The day of, I was peaceful, happy and had a beautiful hospital birth of my twins without an epidural. They include a track to use during the first stage of the birth, which is fantastic! I swear, it knew exactly what to say to keep me going, focused and happy!
As for the instructor/doula, you don't have to choose your instructor as your doula. Everyone has bad days and bad situations at times, but if the instructor makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, and you don't see that as able to change, then you could use the home study course like I did. Hypnobabies offers something called a home study advantage as well. You could contact the instructor toward the end of your home study course to possibly schedule a birth rehearsal. This is something only people who go to the live classes receive. I think you get some other advantages over only the home study course as well. This would minimize time with the instructor, but still give you everything you need. I believe you could take your doula to this session as well, so that you could feel totally comfortable. You should check all of this out, as well as birth stories on www.hypnobabies.com.
I hope this helps! Most of all, I hope you have a beautiful birth experience!
Hypnobabies has been helpful to me if not providing a pain-free birth. The only thing that doesn't live up to the hype in my opinion is the "complete" guide to birth. I learned much, much more in a hospital based class, my own reading, and by reading boards. So, I'd probably take a non-scary class first and then do the course second.
As for your friends experience, I would only put a little faith in her description. In birth maybe more than anything else expcept IDK breastfeeding in that people's stated expectations and experiences and their interpretation of their experiences can be really different things. A lot of people feel pressured to have idealized birth "natual" "doula" births but when they get in the situation change /revert to other goals. Also, the birth experience is very different for different people. Some have more intense labor, some less, some have a higher tolerance, etc. You can't really know what she really wanted to experience, what she experienced, and what she choose in the moment.
It's always tough to hear a friends birth story and try and decipher what actually happened. I have been a doula for about 7 years now and can be honest in saying that when I first started birth work I would get furious at some of the birth stories I would hear because *I knew* it could have been different if I would have been that mom. One of the most difficult things I ever had to do was to let go of other peoples experiences because I realized it was doing me more harm that good since I really never actually KNEW what went down within that birth room! The other thing to keep in mind is that sometimes a mom will have a very different interpretation of what went down than what actually happened. I have seen this a lot as well! Mom's desiring a certain birth will leave out certain details etc if it may be seen as less than ideal in their own eyes. Your friend chose to have a hospital birth with specific care providers that she trusted enough to stay with. She alone made choices along the way along with her birth partner! She alone has to live with the way her birth went and she may actually be completely OK with her birth! It sounds like you have chosen a different path that is right for you and that should be celebrated as well! Do I still get frustrated at some births? Absolutely! I just don't allow them to have the same power over my mindset anymore!
As far as Hypnobabies is concerned, it sounds like you are really sold on this method and you shouldn't allow what you view as a negative birth experience another person had jade your opinion. Her birth was your birth and your birth will be your birth! I took a class about 4 years ago and had a great experience for my own homebirth. I felt prepared to ask questions, I learned so much more about the power of language and how my mind worked. After adding in the extra benefit of medical hypnosis I was sold.
I ended up training to be a CBE with Hypnobabies and can assure you that as a doula it takes a lot to impress me with CBE. I was a die hard Bradley fan just because I loved the way they included the birth partner and included staying healthy and low risk all the way to birth! After doing Hypnobabies personally, I found it to actually have the same great information, but with the added benefit of the hypnosis, which worked wonderfully for me. All HB classes are the exact same as far as content. We are bound by contract to not deviate from the program in any way at all so I can also promise you that no matter where you were to take a class, you would get HB the way it's supposed to be taught.
I guess I would encourage you to really try and let go of your friends birth experience so that you can really make way for your own positive birthing. Call your local instructor and have information mailed to you and then make a determination for yourself!
Best of luck momma! I know you will have a beautiful birth no matter the method you choose!
Congratulations! I think your best bet is to call the different instructors and talk to them.
I am sorry that your friend didn't have the birth she hoped for. I am a doula and I know that we actually have limited power. I can't tell a doctor not to do something. I can remind mom and dad of their options, I can say to staff, "in their birth plan they...." then ask mom and dad, do you have any questions you would like to ask your care provider. But in the end the choices are all made by the mom and dad. I can only support them in the choices they make.
So having said that I don't know what happened with this birth and what the doula did or didn't do. But it is hard to really know unless you were there!
So I would call the different instructors and ask the questions you have about the different programs. Then go with your gut, if you don't feel comfortable with an instructor on the phone it probably isn't a good fit for you, then chose the other one! :)
Ultimately, I agree with everyone else that you should call the instructor and just chat with her. Ask her questions that will give you peace of mind. For that matter, you should call any childbirth educator up whose courses you are interested in because you really do want to find the best fit possible! It really sounds like you are into Hypnobabies and it would be a shame if you let one person's experience completely alter your decision. I personally had a very easy, comfortable, pain-free birth using Hypnobabies, but that wasn't even my goal by the end. I knew that I had all the information and that my husband was fully trained to be my 'hypno-guardian' and that together we would make the best decisions for us our baby. It was such an empowering experience and I really hope you're able to clear the air with this instructor so you can start fresh and have your OWN experience. :D Best wishes!
Congrats on your pregnancy! Full disclosure, I'm one of the creators of Blissborn. I'm going to try to present the programs fairly here so you can make a good decision! This is based on personal experience and knowledge, and from what I understand of the programs. Each has great points and a very loyal following!
Hypnobirthing: great book, good philosophy, deep relaxation instead of hypnosis. The best known of the three programs. Uses different language of birth, encourages "breathing the baby down."
Hypnobabies: great philosophy, great hypnosis, mediocre organization of materials, most hours of class time, includes nutrition and the whys of natural birth. Eyes open/moving around hypnosis.
Blissborn: newest program, well-organized, great philosophy, great hypnosis, focuses on partner training, fear-release, pain-control, confidence through in-depth knowledge of birth and mind. No nutrition taught, no language change, assumes you know the whys of natural birth. Eyes open/moving around hypnosis. Instant hypnosis.
If it's between Hypnobabies and Blissborn, it really comes down to which teacher you connect with and how the materials apply to your specific situation. You're detail-oriented, and a good writer and that's closer to Blissborn than Hypnobabies. Hypnobabies is a more well-known program and has more in-class time (good or bad depending on how busy you are and how much you have to learn). Blissborn is taught by hypnotherapists trained in the tools and birth, Hypnobabies is often taught by birth people with some hypnosis training. Both programs have quality hypnosis recordings, different focuses.
Please let me know if you have specific questions--my main interest in this world is making sure moms find the best possible scenario for having their babies! Once you talk to the instructors you'll probably have an easier time choosing. Their main concern should be your needs and supporting you in whatever a good birth looks like to you. Once you have the tools you need you can relax into the experience and really get into your birthing mind. Learning hypnosis also helps moms sleep and feel better, and babies usually come out a lot calmer, probably due to all that yummy time spent relaxing and sharing happy hormones.
So glad you're doing your homework! We wish you the most peaceful and empowering birth. What a lucky baby ... such a wise and thorough mom!
Hi, I just came across your post. I feel for you, and I feel the same way as some of the other people when they say you should call the instructor yourself and have a chat with her. Your friends birth experience was her own, just as you will have your own unique experience. I've made the mistake of passing judgment upon someone based on what someone else says and more often than not I've regretted it and wondered why I wasted so much energy on not liking someone when once I'm able to get to know them I find I like them very much and that I didn't get the same impression! So try to put what your friend said out of your mind and if she is the only instructor in your area, give her a call or schedule a meet up. You've got nothing to lose!
Regarding the Blissborn post I just saw.... from her description her program sounds great, but It does appear she left out some things in her description of Hypnobabies. I used Hypnobabies for the birth of my first son and I had the most wonderful, amazing and discomfort free experience. I am using it again for the birth of my second and I can't wait to get started on it very soon!!! I can say with certainty that Hypnobabies is very well organized, in fact I commented on it all the time to my instructor about how impressed I was with the programs organization. Comparing apples to apples, Hypnoabies has a great philosophy, great hypnosis, focuses a great deal on birth partner training, has a fear-clearing which I used several times a and found it to be very effective. She says that her program has pain-control and what I learned in Hypnobabies is that we actually learn pain-elimination techniques. Hypnobabies is very in depth, in fact my husband and I were so impressed about how thorough they are with their information and basically anything that came up regarding the pregnancy and birth we felt totally confident to make informed choices. I love the nutrition information Hypnobabies provides, my midwife didn't discuss nutrition with me at all so I found it incredibly informative! A lot of the nutrition info for some people may possibly be things they already know, but it was such a great reminder and I learned a lot from the other students in my class about how and what they were eating and inspired me to reach for something healthy. Hypnobabies also teach exercises and talk about optimal fetal positioning. The Blissborn post says they don't change the language but after learning in my class about how the subconscious works and how we are programmed our entire lives with words, I can't imagine not changing the language. (with that said, I have never seen or used her program so I don't know how they teach so I am only able to comment on what I know about what I did with Hypnobabies.) It took my husband and I a couple weeks to get used to using different words but seems well worth it in my opinion!! In fact learning in Hypnobabies about the power of my words really spilled over into other areas of my life and has truly been eye opening and life changing, really, for both my husband and I. So I certainly would consider the change in terminology a great benefit to their program. She mentioned that Hypnobabies has eyes open hypnosis but didn't mention that it also has instant hypnosis. I did not take either of the other methods so I cannot speak to those. All I know is that I loved my Hypnobabies class and birth and found it to be perfectly complete.
Anyway, I think you should trust your gut and intuition and do what is going to be best for you. And while I totally understand where you are coming from on the instructor thing, I say if you are drawn to the Hypnobabies program then you should at least give yourself the chance to meet or talk the instructor yourself so you can form your own opinion. After you decide for yourself, if you really cannot get past the negative impression you've been given of that instructor then maybe look into their home study as a second choice or look into other options.
I wish you the very best! I'm sure you will get it all figured out. :)
I'm a Hypnobabies instructor and two-time hypno-mom, so I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents. First, I disagree with the founder of Bilssborn's characterization of Hypnobabies' organization. One of Hypnobabies strengths is that it provides both comprehensive childbirth education and in-depth medical hypno-anesthesia techniques -- and it does it in a way that is fun, easy to learn and accessible.
It's exciting to see so much interest in hypnosis for birth and so many options! When I was deciding which program to use I looked for that program was having the best results -- and, hands-down, the Hypnobabies moms were the ones who were happiest with their births, so that's the technique I chose.
I think much of Hypnobabies' success lies in its "big picture" approach to childbirth, which recognizes
that having an easier, more comfortable birth relies on several factors: 1) learning how to relax deeply and eliminate fear so your body works just as nature intended, 2) learning, practicing and using medical hypno-anesthesia, which re-trains the inner mind for a comfortable birthing, 3) becoming an excellent consumer by learning how to remain healthy and low-risk, thoroughly understanding the childbirth process and choices involved, and taking responsibility for your own birth experience.
To that end, Hypnobabies is a 6-week, 18-hour course, which provides in-depth childbirth education -- nutrition, exercise, stages of birth, consumer choices, optimal fetal positioning, new mom and baby care, introduction to breastfeeding, etc. Although what constitutes a “complete childbirth education course” can be subjective, it is worth noting that Hypnobabies is the only childbirth hypnosis class that is recognized by DONA (Doulas of North America) to fulfill its childbirth education requirement for doulas in training. I have also received consistent feedback from local midwives, doulas, and childbirth educators who are impressed (and frankly surprised given their preconceptions about birth hypnosis classes) at the depth and quality of the childbirth education component of Hypnobabies.
In addition to using hypnosis to achieve relaxation and fear elimination, we teach "medical hypno-anesthesia" similar to that used by people preparing for dental and medical procedures, which allows moms to feel the normal sensations of birth in a much more comfortable manner. To do this, we read a different script in the first 4 classes, then the couples practice together that week with that script – this ensures both the hypnotic depth and necessary compounding (hypnotic repetition) needed for hypno-anesthesia are achieved consistently. By the end of the course the moms have several cues to instantly bring themselves into hypnosis, create hypno-anesthesia and deepen the hypnosis -- they practice doing this several times a day, in addition to listening to their Hypnobabies scripts. Our hypnosis is also unique in that we teach Gerald Kein's "eyes-open" hypnosis, which means Hypnobabies moms are able to easily remain upright and mobile while remaining relaxed and in hypnosis. We also thoroughly train and involve the birth partner.
That's Hypnobabies in a nut-shell! I agree with calling the instructors and speaking with them.
"BlissBorn." I'm really confused as to how it differs from the other hypnosis methods, so if anyone has any insight, I'd be thrilled to know more! All I have gleaned so far is that it uses more "technical"/medical/"real" terms. So I'm guessing that, for example, instead of "pressure waves," it uses the word "contractions." This is fine by me-- in fact, possibly preferable-- my mom is a doctor, so technical/medical terms don't have as much societal baggage for me as they might for some. But I'm not clear on any other differences. I'm especially interested in the overall philosophy-- to what extent "mind over matter" is idealized, etc. I'm obviously a big believer in mind over matter-- you'd have to be to want to do hypnosis-- but I also prefer a philosophy that's a touch flexible and not too isolating, if that makes sense.
Sorry for the novel-- thanks for any help at all!
Just a note on language. One of the most valuable applications of hypnosis for birth is to create a new, empowering mind-set about birth. Regardless of how far removed we may feel from current cultural beliefs about birth, our subconscious mind has been programmed with these beliefs simply by what we see all around us -- images on TV, stories from friends, doctors, etc. Words are very powerful and create images in our subconscious. When we use words like "contraction" or "labor" to describe our birth expectations we are reinforcing the old cultural images and beliefs, which are the very same images and beliefs that we are working to replace with hypnosis. So, one of the easiest and most powerful ways to reinforce the new, empowering belief system we are creating is to change our language and drop the old words that have been identified repeatedly with that "old belief system" about birth. Make sense?
I know this can be a confusing topic and it can really be misunderstood. Some people think it's just silly, flowery talk, but there is a real basis for language change and I think it is fundamental to using hypnosis to its fullest benefit. I have seen with my own students that the ones who embrace the new language are the ones who most easily use their hypnosis during birth.
I used Hypnobirthing for my first baby and had a lovely, albeit long, midwife-assisted hospital birth. From what others have written, though, it sounds like Hypnobabies and Blissborn may work better. I had a good instructor and we used hypnosis-induced-anesthesia (practiced a lot ahead of time). Both my hubby and I were told that we were very receptive and able to slip into deep relaxation easily but it just didn't work well for me as I approached transition. I felt a bit tricked as though I was not doing something right and that's why I was in so much pain at that point. It worked great for early labor and excellent for immediately being able to relax deeply between contractions but really did nothing for my transition contractions. After two births now, I know that I'm a get-up-and-move-and-moan kind of laboring mom during transition and hypnobirthing (at that time, perhaps it's changed) definitely didn't prepare me mentally for how my labor really ended up going. Thankfully, I was a birth-junkie too and had read other resources and had a fantastic, very soothing and empowering midwife who helped me through transition and had an amazing birth. I don't know if it's counter Hypno-anykind-of-birth-class to be prepared to deal with pain but at least for me, with my second (exponentially faster) birth - I felt much more prepared to cope (even though I hoped I would have a discomfort-free birth that time :) and wasn't so shocked about how intense those transition contractions were.
Blessings to you as you enjoy your first pregnancy. Each one is so special but that first one is so wonderful because you don't have to divide your attention between other little ones - you can just enjoy each kick, movement and change.
Awesome posts by all. So cool to see another hypno CBE program on the market!
I don't think anyone's posted this yet so here's my contribution:
Congrats on your little bean! You'll rock it!