So what is hypnobirthing? It sounds like a strange hippie/granola approach to childbirth but the name perhaps does it an injustice. HypnoBirthing® is an entirely logical prenatal education program based on physiology and how the body works. There is nothing strange about it – no weird hippie-ness or voodoo involved, it's about understanding how our birthing muscles are designed to function.
I came across hypnobirthing when first working as a Doula. I poo-pooed it initially because I thought it was new agey b.s., but after attending the births of moms who were using HypnoBirthing®, I was amazed at how calm these moms were throughout their entire births, regardless of the situations that arose – no hysterics, no screaming, just completely relaxed and happy.
That was very different than my own experience had been. I had had a horrible birth with my first son Hayden: 72 hours in all – induction with Pitocin and no epidural for 12 hours, finally dilated completely after another 24 hours, pushing for 3 hours and the wow finish – ending with an emergency C-section. I was then separated from my poor newborn son who had to stay in NICU three days and have several rounds of antibiotics for 10 days "just in case there was a risk of infection" (which there was not). It was incredibly difficult.
My experience with my first birth totally changed the way I viewed birth. I felt terribly guilty, emotionally and physically scarred by the way Hayden had come into this world. I kept thinking "there must be a better way to birth?!"
I became an absolute birth nerd and started to avidly seek out any and all literature on birthing and natural family living. When Hayden was 6 months old, I studied to become a birth educator and doula and volunteered to be at many births. I also opened a Yoga and Pilates studio that practiced natural Family living, taught birth education, pre & post natal Yoga and Pilates as well as regular adult classes.
When I found I was pregnant with my second child 4 years later, I decided to have an all-natural birth – no Pitocin drip, no epidural, no Hospital. I enlisted a Doula mentor of mine, went with the most pro natural birth midwives in the city’s east end and went to HypnoBirthing® classes with my partner. This time it was going to be different.
The HypnoBirthing® course , which ran over 5 weeks, was taught by a Doula and HypnoBirthing® practitioner and was a turning point for my husband and I. We felt completely enlightened and empowered by what we learned, the videos we watched, and it helped us to bond enormously. We could do this, and enjoy it as a team.
When my second son, Lleolyn, came into this world I can honestly say that the journey of his birth was one of the most beautiful, joyful and life changing experiences I've had. At no point was I scared or in unbearable pain.
Birthing Lleolyn was one of the best days of my life ever and I'd do it again, today, right now. I gave birth to him on the floor of my old Yoga studio with no ripping or tearing – total labour was 6 hours, with 45 minutes of pushing. And did I mention, he was 10 pounds? It was AWESOME!!!!
Having had this experience, I had a need to share this with other women and help them birth joyously. I became a hypnobirthing teacher, and had qualified by the time of my son’s first birthday. I've been hosting HypnoBirthing® classes in Liberty Village working with Moms and their birth companions ever since. I cannot think of a job I’d rather be doing. I love my work and passionate about what I do and am proud to be making a difference to the way we approach birth in our fair Toronto!
To read more about what to expect in Eloisa's HypnoBirthing® classes, click here.
About Eloisa Slimmon:
If you’re pregnant and would like to know more about my courses, or what couples I’ve taught have to say, have a look at my website libertymovement.ca or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always very happy to talk. My friendly and informal group classes run approx. once a month (five; 2.5 hour weekly sessions) in Liberty Village, alongside private/one-to-one courses in the comfort of your own home should you prefer. You can also follow me on Twitter @libertymovement, or like Liberty Movement Studio on Facebook.