So this isn’t the blog post I was intending to write when I woke this morning but something happened during today that has really niggled me and I need to get it out!
Today I popped to have a chat with a couple of male friends (it was work avoidance/procrastination!) and quickly the topic of hypnotherapy came up (random but I can’t even remember why). They both know that I teach hypnobirthing but decided to have a little joke about it. They referred to every possible stereotype related to hypnotherapy going – the usual swinging watches, clucking like a chicken etc etc (although it is the first time I’ve been likened to a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat!!). They were having a whale of a time – cue YouTube clips of the Little Britain character Kenny Craig (you know the one – look into my eyes, not around my eyes….) being searched for –I think they were really amused with themselves – ah bless. But I, on the other hand, was not having a whale of a time.
Know when to stop!
Now don’t get me wrong – I love these guys and have a lot of time for them but they completely misread the situation, my mood and absolutely did not know when to stop. To be honest it probably was quite funny and normally I’d have laughed and given something back in return – or at least stood up for what I believed in. But today was different. Today I was dealing with some other emotional stuff, was tired and not in the right place. This tipped me over the edge and pushed all the buttons of my insecurities about how I am potentially perceived in a science-based workplace. So instead of standing my ground and giving them the evidence for the use of hypnosis for birth I left the room. I walked back to my office, sniffed some aromatherapy oils (oh how they’d have a field day with that too!), did some ‘3,2,1 relax’ and tried to find some calm and balance.
Science vs ‘Woo’
Can the two work together/sit side-by-side or am I fighting a losing battle? (For the record I don’t think hypnobirthing is ‘woo’ but clearly it is still a widely held opinion). Recently I read a blog post by Sophie Messenger that really resonated with me. You see Sophie is a scientist but also describes herself as an ‘undercover hippy’ and a bit ‘woo’. She has a PhD in Physiology (my PhD is *very slowly* in progress) and worked as a biology research scientist for 20 years (I’m a little younger but have managed to clock up over 10 years so far as a University lecturer in exercise physiology). My work is in a science subject area, I spend my days trying to coax students into understanding the importance of research, evidence-based writing and credibility. But I also teach hypnobirthing. And I LOVE it. I have personal experience of using it and I know it works. But I am also aware of a perceived mismatch from others of science vs hypnosis (I am not going into the theory and evidence in this post but I will in a future post). Because of this I kept my interest and passion in hypnobirthing fairly quiet in certain circles. But back to Sophie. Her blog posts help to explain how you can be both science and woo – check them out here and here.
Lack of understanding…
What my friends don’t understand is what it is like to be so anxious and fearful of birth that you struggle to comprehend how you will ever get through it, or how a previous birth experience can cast a dark shadow over a woman’s pregnancy, or wanting to know as much as possible about birthing hormones and the techniques to make labour a calmer and positive experience. I regularly see and hear the difference that hypnobirthing makes to women’s birth experiences. How the parents describe their increased confidence, how empowered they feel, how they learn to trust and work with their bodies during labour and how they were able to use the techniques to a have a more calm, comfortable and relaxed birth regardless of how and where they birthed their baby. And that is good enough for me (you can stick your double blind randomised control trials!). I believe in what I do and there is a growing body of evidence to support it too.
What have I learnt from this?
Well despite feeling pretty wound up by the whole thing it did remind me just how passionate I am about hypnobirthing and Natal Hypnotherapy and how I want to help women to experience calm, relaxed and empowered births with tools to help them during labour and beyond. I regularly see and hear the difference that this makes and I want more women to have access to these tools, techniques and information. I’ve read the papers and the research that provides evidence for the use of hypnosis during birth. So thank you. Your ‘jokes’ were actually helpful in a round-about-way as it has reminded me of why I do what I do and why it is so important for me to share information about my courses as widely as possible.
So if you’d like to talk to me about how hypnobirthing can help you please get in touch. Or if you’d like to share your birth experiences using hypnobirthing please do…. After all there are a couple of guys who might one day feel inclined to listen.