For her second pregnancy, The Wife and I have decided to pursue a course in HypnoBirthing. She’s seen it work with astonishing effectiveness, so we thought we’d give it our best shot. Sure, there’s some seriously squishy talk, and some overly wrought positive-thinking mumbo-jumbo, but it’s mind over matter, right? And besides, we’ve already mastered Bradley (I carry the gold Official Bradley Coach’s Card in my wallet, in case of emergency).
We arrived a few minutes late to join two other couples in receiving the book, the CD, the button (“Only happy birthing stories, please!”), and two pens marked with the plain message, “Hypnotherapy Works”. Unfortunately, neither pen works. They both click like a Bic, but no ink comes out. Ominous?
Central to the plan is careful reframing of key words and concepts to reduce tension and fear, and to avoid the negative language of the medical profession.
‘due date’ becomes ‘birthing time’
‘water breaking/rupture’ becomes ‘membranes releasing’
‘complications’ becomes ‘special circumstances’
‘mucous plug’ becomes ‘uterine seal’
‘bloody show’ becomes ‘birth show’
‘effacing/dilating’ becomes ‘thinning/opening’
‘false labor’ becomes ‘practice labor’
All of which works, and makes a ton of sense, until stuff starts to hit the fan. Toward the end of our class session, we watched a video where a placid mom birth breathed through her uterine surges and the baby’s head proceeded from the birth path, followed by the neck and a flood of red liquid.
“Oh, my God!,” exclaimed the first-time mom to my left as she clamped her fingers into her husband’s arm, “What is all of that blood?”
Our instructor remained calm as she moved into damage control mode. “That’s not blood, it’s birth fluid. And it’s not red, but pink,” she said, in her most soothing therapy voice.
But the mom’s expression said it all– she may have paid her course fee, but she’s not buying all of this. At least not yet.