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Bringing hypnobirthing into the postpartum window
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Bringing Hypnobirthing Into The Postpartum Window

Hypnobirthing classes are a common place for expecting parents to start their journey towards an empowered birth. There are a large number of hypnobirthing classes on offer, depending on where you live or if you prefer learning online, the options may seem endless. Finding a class that aligns with you, while hopefully it will still challenge you, is important. Some are provided by midwives, others by doulas or other birth workers, some independently created and some a part of a larger network. So naturally, depending on the class and the provider, the information within its teachings will be altering. However, most hypnobirthing classes teach

  • Breath,
  • Visualisation,
  • Light touch massage,
  • Affirmations,
  • Empowering yourself, and
  • Physiology of birth.

My name is Vera, I am a doula and run my small business Mother Birth & Postpartum. In collaboration with another doula named Kelly, running The Healing Home, we present a hypnobirthing class called Sacred Birth Rising. This class, or immersion as we call it, was originally created by Kelly several years ago and continues to grow every time we present our immersion.

I am very passionate about the wellbeing of our mothers, and I am in love with the magic of postpartum. Being a part of Sacred Birth Rising, I found an area where we could deepen expecting parents' understanding of their upcoming postpartum season and how to deal with the challenges that postpartum may bring, by using fundamental parts of hypnobirthing.

Breath

Our breath is always with us, and this makes breathwork a very powerful tool. That is, both in overwhelming, big times (like birth) or in everyday life. We can use our breath to guide ourselves back into our bodies at times when we may feel out of our own bodies, out of control or overwhelmed. Depending on the hypnobirthing course, the breathing techniques shared will be different, but they will be specifically for birth.No matter which technique is shared, the most important message will most likely be that you don’t need complicated or complex techniques. The techniques are simple and easy to remember, and if you innately find a breathing pattern that works better for you in the moment, then trust yourself and your innate knowing, to go with that. The taught techniques are there for you to turn to when you need support.While perhaps the same breathing will not be applicable to the postpartum window, everything else we learn about using our breath in birth we can bring with us into our sacred window.There may be times, both in birth and in postpartum, where a mother may feel out of control, not grounded or in her own body. A mother may feel pain, physical or emotional, in either situation. In postpartum, a mother can use breathing techniques to regain control of her mind, her pain or her body, and come back to her body and the present.

Breath practices to consider for postpartum - Ujjayi Breath - Bhramari Pranayama

Visualisations

In hypnobirthing we often use the power of visualisations to help our mind and body align. In birth this may be for example, envisioning a flower opening, perhaps a rose or a lotus. Each petal slowly opening, in its very own time. Watching and waiting for a flower to bloom, you couldn’t imagine pulling the petals to force it open. Just like a flower, your baby will be born in its very own time. Envisioning your body opening slowly, petal by petal, making way for your baby.Bringing visualisations into postpartum, we retain the calming effect that visualisations have on our bodies.

Visualisations to consider for postpartum: - To assist in breastfeeding, as you feed your baby at your breast, visualise your breast as the ground, full of roots of a tree. With the trunk of the tree being your babies mouth and your nipple, and the branches forming your baby. Visualise the roots of your tree, drawing from the nourishing earth (your body), up into the roots and then letting go of that nourishment, sending it out into the tree, to your baby, making green leaves appear everywhere. - To calm your mind, visualising a calm ocean and a peaceful shoreline. Each breath in, as the waves gently stroke the shore, each breath out as the waves pulls back. Putting this shoreline in an environment that aligns with you, if that is a tropical beach, smooth cliffs or a beach of pebbles surrounded by pine trees.
Bringing hypnobirthing into the postpartum window

Light touch and massage

In hypnobirthing, we love emphasising the places where the birth partners can assist the birthing mother. This is one of those places. Light touch and massage are incredibly useful tools in both birth and postpartum. In cases where the mother has an intimate relationship with the birth partner, offering this loving touch may give the couple the opportunity to express love and care, while having an intimate moment with each other in a time where there might not be many other opportunities for intimacy.

Touch to consider: - We might ask couples to decide on a ‘grounding touch point’, a place to touch to ground both mother and support person during a hypnobirthing course. It might be on her shoulder, chest or on her hand, anywhere that feels good for the couple. Bring this touch into postpartum, where grounding touch can still be incredibly powerful. - When supporting a breastfeeding mother, offering light, warm and loving massage of the shoulders and neck can help give mum letdowns. This is because relaxing and dropping her shoulders will release tension holding back anything that needs to be released, like milk, and it will assist mum in releasing the right hormones to release milk.

Affirmations

We often say that the things you might say to a labouring mother may sound cheesy when said out of context, but in the moment they will sound completely natural and true. Providing both the mother and the birth partner with affirmations which can be used during birth, we can also provide affirmations for postpartum. The affirmations we provide might just start the ideas, and the couple will land in affirmations that work for them, in the language that they speak with one another.

Ways to affirm:

- Affirmation cards are commonly seen in birth bags, and even around homes leading up to birth. We can make our own affirmation cards for postpartum, and then placing these around your home when baby is born, like on the fridge, bathroom mirror, next to your bed and so on. - Affirmations for the birthing partner is perhaps not where the mind goes initially, but these can be useful in postpartum. Where the mother is in an intimate relationship with the birth partner, these affirmations can be very helpful, as the dynamic of the family will change with each new baby. These affirmations can be written down in a letter written before birth, affirming the partner in the importance of their role, the trust we have in them and how proud we are of the parent they are becoming.

Empowering yourself

Hypnobirthing is all about making sure expecting parents feel empowered to make their own decisions regarding their birth. We hope that parents come out the other end of the birth portal, and even if things did not go to plan, every decision that was made was an empowered decision. We use acronyms that can help us make thought trough decisions in stressful, unknown situations, like BRAIN for example. This acronym will take you through your benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition and (what happens if we do) nothing. But after the birth of your baby, you will be making many more decisions for many years to come. And these decisions are often going to be related to your child, at times when they are unable to make their own decisions. Making sure that parents are empowered to, not only make decisions regarding their birth, but also future decisions regarding their child. We can use many of the same acronyms, feel empowered to seek out alternatives or second opinions to recommendations, to say no, and trusting your own innate knowing and your knowing of your own child.

Physiology of birth

Most hypnobirthing courses will speak of the physiology of birth. In a western society when talking about birth, we tend to think about the physical changes that ‘need to happen’ for the baby to be born, and we forget that in fact birth is all about our hormones. In hypnobirthing, we often speak of the way that we can assist these hormones to be produced, like oxytocin and melatonin, as an example. Just the same, we can also share about hormones and how they affect us in postpartum. And no, not just the hormones that can cause us to feel emotional or fragile. Let us also talk about which hormones we need for lactation, bonding, rest, and recovery, and how we can help bring on these hormones.

When applying these techniques, please remember that the birth partner can also use many if not all techniques. Birth partners too, no matter gender, also experience hormonal shifts postpartum and should, just like the mother, challenge themselves to understand in which way they can support themselves in postpartum, while they support the mother.

I pray that this blog post can help you in your coming postpartum season, or help you support others during their postpartum window. 

If this evoked any thoughts which you would like to talk about, or raised questions, I would love to speak with you.


Website: verathedoula.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mother.birth.tsv/

Facebook: Mother Birth Postpartum, Townsville

Vera Skough

Hi, I'm Vera!

I run Mother Birth & Postpartum, as a pregnancy, birth and postpartum doula. This is a field that my own experiences during matrescence led me to.

I am passionate about the wellbeing of mothers and the freedom of their choices.

The offerings I share with mothers in my community are ever evolving, encompassing pregnancy, birth and postpartum support, hypnobirthing, ceremonies such as mother blessings or placenta burial ceremonies and more.

My work is a huge passion for me, and I love continuously growing with every experience. Every mother I meet is my teacher.

Book an appointment with Christine HERE!
Link for our free class is HERE!


Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.


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