thank you to everyone who submitted questions, there’s so much to cover that i’ve decided to break this up into 3 separate posts. this one will answer most of the logistical questions, the second post will focus on pre-natal bonding, and the final post will be devoted entirely to how trauma can impact birth and parenting.
how is what you offer different from pre-made scripts that i’ve seen for sale online?
pre-made scripts and programs offer a one-size fits all approach, and for some folks that might work for them and provide a more accessible option. at the same time, i recognize that a lot of information available to prospective parents and pregnant folks can feel presumptive and judgemental, leaving them feeling overwhelmed or even shamed about the choices they might be making for them and their child.
in contrast, i work with each person to develop a customized course of therapy, so you can feel empowered to navigate pregnancy and childbirth on your own terms, in a way that feels good for you and aligned with your values.
i usually start our time together by trying to get a sense of what messaging or ideas are impacting the birthing parent in a negative way, so that we can deconstruct those ideas and allow the parent to enjoy their pregnancy and approach childbirth without unnecessary fear or anxiety. we might examine negative birth stories or representations of childbirth in mainstream media, or we might address expectations and pressure that are being placed on the expecting parent by their family and social network. and those are just a few examples – obviously any time there is a significant transition in anyone’s life it will bring other underlying issues or relationship tensions to the surface, so any number of things might come up along with any worries about pregnancy itself.
i help expectant parents let go of internalized narratives about pregnancy and childbirth so they can be confident making the choices that are best for them and their child, and feel resilient enough to work with whatever happens rather than fixating how the experience ‘should’ go.
while there are certain themes i try to ensure are covered in every pre-natal program – pain management, releasing fear and anxiety, and pre-natal bonding – the amount of time we spend on each area, and the inclusion of any additional concerns ensures that you receive the individualized support you need to approach your due date with confidence.
i also customize my work to your learning style and language, so you can receive support that resonates deeply. i provide you with you lots of options and encourage feedback, so i can ensure you learn the tools and techniques that will be most effective for meeting your goals.
can you help with shitty pregnancy sleeps?
yes! i teach you variety of relaxation techniques – things like visualizations, self-hypnosis, and somatic tools – so you can manage physical issues like pain or discomfort and get to sleep quickly and easily. if sleep is a particular concern then we can spend more time on that and ensure you are able to fall and stay asleep and wake well-rested.
you are also invited to record our sessions and listen to them at home to help you sleep.
do you attend the birth, or teach self-hypnosis?
i don’t attend the birth. although i think births are miraculous and super neat, you probably don’t need your therapist there.
i believe that childbirth is a natural and healthy process. i trust that our bodies are able to communicate to us what we need to do and how to do it.
because i want you to be able to look forward to your due date with a sense of confidence and eager anticipation, i work to make sure you feel resourced, capable, and resilient. i teach you self-hypnosis, mindfulness, and visualizations so you can manage pain and stay focused and alert. i help you connect with the wisdom of your body so you can feel comfortable articulating your needs to the folks who are there to support you during this transition.
and, i invite you to bring a partner or support person to our last session, so you can associate their voice with feeling calm and at ease.
what happens during the partner session?
during the partner session i invite your partner or support person to communicate to you while you are in hypnosis, so you can associate their voice with feeling relaxed and supported. then, i guide you both through a visualization of the birth and labour, so you can create a shared vision of what that day will be like for you.
how do birthing parents benefit from a program like this? what are the potential outcomes?
hypnosis has actually been used to aid in childbirth for over a century(1) numerous personal accounts, clinical reports and research have shown that hypnosis improves the birthing parent’s comfort during pregnancy, labour, and delivery. it may also improve healing and recovery time and lessen the impact of post-partum depression.
hypnosis for childbirth has been shown to –
- decrease labour time (2)
- improve sleep (2)
- reduce anxiety before and after birth (1)(3)(4)
- reduce the impact of watching negative birth stories (3)
- improve relaxation and allow birthing parents to remain calm during labour (3)
- reduce pain and improve self-management of pain (4)(5)(6)
as a doula, i’ve known folks that did pre-natal hypnosis and didn’t really remember the birth. can you comment on that?
it’s difficult for me to comment on this without knowing the specifics of the work they did, so i can only speak to the way i work.
i always ensure that i am giving birthing parents suggestions that they will be alert and aware during the labour and birth. i try to make sure they feel that they have tools to manage pain while also being present and focused on what is going on.
in one of the studies i’ve read on pre-natal hypnosis, a mother reported that she used a lot of visualizations and went to a calm place in her mind during a lot of the labour (3), and when we are in deep trance or daydreaming really intensely we can sometimes miss out on what is happening right in front of us, so i would suspect that that’s maybe what folks are reporting to you. this study looked at some of the unexpected outcomes from a pre-natal hypnosis program, and includes qualitative data from study participants.
can you help me cut back on bad habits?
no one actually asked, but in case you wanted to.
i know it’s been taboo to smoke while you’re pregnant for quite some time, but, things happen. if you’ve become pregnant and you are struggling to quit smoking, or cut back on substance use, drinking, or any other habit that you think isn’t healthy for you and your babe, i’m here to help. my work is firmly grounded in harm reduction values, and i promise, if you contact me for support during your pregnancy i will welcome you with compassion and care.
the next post in this series will explore pre-natal bonding.