The Aspiring Hypnobirthing Instructor Podcast

Not all hypnobirthing is hypnobirthing!

Welcome to the Aspiring hypnobirthing Instructor podcast. I’m your host, Liz Stanford, hypnobirthing instructor, hypnobirthing trainer, hypnotherapist mindset coach, author and owner of The Calm Birth School. In this podcast, we get to explore all the reasons why you should train to teach hypnobirthing. You’ll understand more about what the training actually involves, what it’s like to teach hypnobirthing, and also what it’s like to run a business in the birth world. I can’t wait to take you on this journey and give you all the information you need.

Before we get into today’s episode, I just want to remind you or let you know that I am running a free masterclass called, Are You Ready to Become a Hypnobirthing Instructor? Next week on the 28th of March at 7:30 PM So that’s British Summertime, 7:30 PM next week, and it’s a live masterclass. You’ll meet me and other people who are interested in training to teach hypnobirthing. I’ll take you through some of the key things that you need to know about teaching hypnobirthing the skills, the qualities that you need. Also, we’ll talk about how to teach and we’ll talk about the different values and beliefs that you might have and if you’re gonna be a good match for The Calm Birth School and if we are gonna be a good match for you. We’ll also do a behind the scenes, so you’ll get to see what the training course actually looks like, how you can access it, and we’ll do a q and a as well so that you can ask any questions that you want and you get a cheeky little bonus as well. So make sure that if you are interested in training to teach hypnobirthing that you sign up for that, I’m gonna put the link in the show notes. So visit the episode notes via your podcast provider, and you can sign up that way. Or feel free to send me a DM on Instagram. I’m @thecalmbirthschool or send me an email on liz@thecalmbirthschool. And I hope to see you next week.

Today’s episode has the potential to be quite juicy, so hold onto your horses and let me give you my point of view in terms of what I think and what I feel quite passionately that hypnobirthing is and should be. So to give you a little bit of context behind all of that, I first found hypnobirthing over 15 years ago now. I was pregnant with my first child, with my daughter, and I came across hypnobirthing just in a, in a Google search. I’ve explained this in my first episode, so if you want to hear more about my backstory, then go and check out my very first podcast. But the reason why that’s relevant is because I have known hypnobirthing now for over 15 years. I’ve been teaching it for over 11 years, and I’ve been training other people to teach it for five years, I think, or it will be five years this year.

So I’ve had quite a lot of exposure to hypnobirthing. I understand how to apply it, how to teach it, and how to teach others to teach it to others. And what I’ve noticed over the last few years is that hypnobirthing is a bit of a buzzword. It never used to be that way. hypnobirthing was something that you really had to explain and over explain and you would get people sort of looking at you like you were a bit strange if you said you were using hypnobirthing to prepare for birth, or if you, like, like me, if I, if I told people like the mums at school that I was a hypnobirthing instructor, I’d get some strange looks over the years, people not really understanding what it is. It hadn’t really gone mainstream. And although there’s still likely to be a lot of people out there who don’t know what hypnobirthing is or haven’t heard of it, it is way, way more mainstream now because celebrities are using it.

Hospitals are using it, midwives are training in it. It’s becoming something that is more accessible and it’s something that a lot of people are aware of and a lot of people know about. And obviously as something grows and becomes more in the awareness of others, then it is open to being diluted and to changing and to sort of getting off the course that it was originally set on. So hypnobirthing was developed in the eighties by Marie Mongan. The hypnobirthing program that she created was inspired by other things that she’d seen, that she’d taken part in that she’d been aware of. But hypnobirthing itself was something that she pulled together and she created, and that’s like a whole other story as well. The Mongan method was what I used to prepare for birth with my daughter, and it was what I originally trained in as well over 11 years ago.

The Mongan method had its prose and its cons, and ultimately I stopped teaching the Mongan method because it didn’t fit with my values and my beliefs about birth. But the program itself and the pillars, the core pillars and the elements that Marie Mongan used to create hypnobirthing are the things that I really passionately believe should be in every hypnobirthing course. Otherwise, I don’t truly believe that it is hypnobirthing. I’m seeing a lot more these days people using hypnobirthing as a term to describe classes that might just include relaxation or might just include affirmations or it, might just be a term that, that people think is in general use, and it might not be actual hypnobirthing, and therefore the people doing those courses aren’t going to get the benefits that they would get if they were doing an actual hypnobirthing course.

I’ve heard of people signing up to a hypnobirthing birth preparation course whilst they’re pregnant and it does not include any hypnosis. So to me, I am very confused about how you can have a hypnobirthing course, how you can call something hypnobirthing if it doesn’t include hypnosis. But hypnosis isn’t the only element in hypnobirthing. There are several core pillars, as I like to call them, which need to be in place, which need to be offered to your clients. So this isn’t about hypnobirthing instructors forcing different elements of a hypnobirthing course onto their clients. It’s more about the hypnobirthing instructor themselves, knowing and understanding all of the different elements of hypnobirthing, being able to teach them, use them, apply them, and then allowing the, the client, the pregnant woman or person on their course to decide what is best for them.

So this isn’t definitely isn’t about me or The Calm Birth School being prescriptive to our clients in terms of how they use hypnobirthing, but I really do believe that the people who are teaching hypnobirthing need to come at it from the, angle that this is everything that you get on a hypnobirthing course, use all these elements. And you know, that’s, that’s what we call hypnobirthing. So the first thing is hypnosis, as I’ve mentioned before. So hypnosis helps your clients to change their negative beliefs about birth, which means that they can enjoy their pregnancy more. They’re not living in fight or flight or being constantly afraid during pregnancy. They can actually start to look forward to giving birth. And it also lays the foundations for their labour. So if they’ve got these positive ideas and values and beliefs about birth in their minds, in their subconscious, then they’re less likely to go into fight or flight during their labour and experience an uncomfortable, frightening, disempowering birth.

So hypnosis to me feels like an element that we need as hypnobirthing instructors or people who want to be hypnobirthing instructors, we need to have an understanding of that so we can teach our clients what it is, why we use it, how we use it, and present it to them in a way that is accessible to them. That no longer sort of seems scary or weird or woowoo. And, obviously, if they don’t want to use hypnosis, once we’ve presented them with, you know, all of those things, then that is up to them, of course. Then the next thing to think about is affirmations. So affirmations help you or your client change their outlook to change the neural pathways in their brains and to help them to notice more positive things around them, and that helps them to feel more grounded, feel calmer.

But the important thing to note when it comes to affirmations is like, they’re not the magic bullet. They’re not the only thing that you need to do to attract positive things to you. You also, with any of these elements that I’m discussing, you also need to take action as well. So visualisation is the next thing that needs to be included in a hypnobirthing course. So practising, having a pre-run of your labour in your mind, encouraging your clients to imagine the birth that they want to have and to repeat that in their mind, to think about the environment, what they’ll experience, what they’ll feel, what they’ll see, what they’ll hear. Involving all of those senses so that they can create a really powerful picture in their minds. And then they can repeat that over and over again.

So sometimes if people are frightened of giving birth, they find visualisation really hard to do, they’re like, I don’t want to imagine what kind of birth I will have, because the only birth I can imagine is going to be a horrible one. But if they’re using hypnosis and affirmations, then they’re coming at it from a different place. They’re, they’re changing their beliefs and their thought patterns when it comes to birth. So they’re more able to create that positive visualisation and to revisit it and ensure that it’s something that they enjoy thinking about. So that’s not to say that we only focus on the perfect birth that we want to achieve. Of course, we want to visualise what we want, but we also want our clients at The Calm Birth School, we really want our clients to be prepared for when things might not go to plan or things might change course.

And so we encourage our clients to not only create a plan A, which is the plan that they’ll be visualising, but also to take time to create a plan B, which for example might be what happens if they’re induced, if they accept and they go for an induction and plan c an abdominal birth or caesarean birth, what happens in those situations so they can create a plan for those that can run through in their mind, what that might feel like, what that might be like. They can discuss that with their birth partners. And they can also know from the person teaching them hypnobirthing, especially if it’s at The Calm Birth School, that all of the things that they’ve been learning, all the techniques and the tools and the mindset and the education, they can apply to those plan Bs and plan C as well.

The next thing that we really want our clients to learn and to focus on is breath work or breathing techniques. So this is really helpful for nervous system regulation because it helps us to calm ourselves, ground ourselves, it helps us to connect with our bodies and to connect with ourselves. And sometimes when we’re afraid or when we’re feeling vulnerable or if we’ve had negative experiences in the past, our energy, this is going a little woo woo, our energy can get stuck in our bodies. And using breathing and breath work helps to expel that energy out of the body and helps you to reconnect with yourself. It’s not just for pregnancy. We teach three breathing techniques at The Calm Birth School, and one is a great tool to use during pregnancy. Which can also be used during birth.

One is specifically during the surges, which is a very practical breath because it works with the body at, at the time that the person is experiencing surges. But it also helps to ground and centre the person during labour as well. And then also we teach a breathing technique for giving birth. That’s birth breathing and that technique again, like works with the body, but it’s also a wonderful grounding technique as well and helps you to, to go within, in that moment and in that time where it’s, it’s really, really needed. The other thing to consider is relaxation. So relaxation could be all of those things that I’ve mentioned, like breath work, visualisation, affirmations, hypnosis and helping your clients to understand that relaxation is a really key part of birth preparation. Helping their bodies to feel relaxed, to learn the skill of relaxation, to build muscle memory allows them to more easily experience that sense of relaxation during their birth whilst they’re giving birth.

So it is really important for clients to think about how they can bring relaxation into their day-to-day lives and provide them also with other relaxation techniques aside from breathing, visualisation, affirmations and hypnosis. So at The Calm Birth School, we have a technique which we love called The Dial Down method. We also have a technique called light touch massage. These are just some of the things that we would teach our clients at The Calm Birth School that would help them with relaxation. But other things as well, people find movement like yoga or walking relaxing, and they’re also very beneficial in lots of other ways as we prepare for birth. Meditation. Some people enjoy meditating and various other things that can support them to feel relaxed and calm during their pregnancies as well. And then the other thing, the other key thing to consider is education or knowledge.

And so that’s, that’s a really big part of teaching hypnobirthing as well. So educating our clients about their bodies, about how their bodies work during labour. Teaching them about the birth companion’s role, teaching them about the importance of birth hormones, about the environment that they’re going to be birthing in and the importance of that. And also encouraging them and sign posting them to do their own research because that in itself is empowering as well to research the things that specifically affect them and are important to them so that they feel armed with knowledge and can advocate for themselves or their partners can advocate for them. And that’s also another really important part of hypnobirthing is that we are teaching our clients how to effectively communicate with their care providers by providing them with tools like Brains, which is a acronym which helps them to consider the benefits, the risks, the alternatives, what their intuition or instinct is saying, and what happens if they do nothing when they’re presented with different situations during their pregnancy and during their labours and whilst giving birth as well.

And it’s important that our clients understand what their rights are when it comes to giving birth. You know, a lot, a lot of people mis-misunderstand or maybe not misunderstand- things are communicated to our pregnant clients in a way that often feels like they’ve got no choice, but they do have a choice. So it’s important as hypnobirthing instructors to ensure that our clients know and feel like they’ve got a choice, that it’s, it’s every step of the way it is up to them. So those are the core elements of hypnobirthing. If you are offering a course which doesn’t include one of those elements, then it’s not hypnobirthing. So let’s say that somebody signed up with a hypnotherapist for example, and that hypnotherapist wasn’t trained in hypnobirthing, but obviously very skilled in hypnosis and hypnotherapy and used hypnosis to help that person prepare for childbirth.

So that is hypnosis for childbirth. It’s not the full package of hypnobirthing because it doesn’t include all of the other elements. The hypnotherapist may include other things like affirmations or visualisation, for example. But again, it wouldn’t be the full package. If somebody went to a course and it was called hypnobirthing and they got loads of amazing education and they got some breathing techniques, that’s not hypnobirthing. The situation with the hypnotherapist and the situation with the course, which just includes education and breathing, they’re probably wonderful, like amazing and really helpful at preparing that person for birth. I’m not saying it’s better or it’s worse, I’m just saying that it’s not hypnobirthing, it shouldn’t be labelled as hypnobirthing because it doesn’t include all of the core elements. And as I’ve said before, that as a hypnobirthing instructor, if you, if you train with The Calm Birth School, you get an understanding of all of these different elements of hypnobirthing.

You actually get to practise them during the training. So you’re not just understanding what they are, why we use them, how we use them. You are applying them as well to yourself and to other people who are willing to help you through your training. And that really helps to embed the understanding and the importance of these different techniques. And then you present them to your client during your hypnobirthing course which is at least 10 hours . And it is up to your client then to decide if they want to practise the hypnosis tracks. We want them to because we know how powerful they are and how amazing. But there might be other reasons why a certain person doesn’t want to do that. Maybe it could be somebody who has some neuro divergence and relaxing or lying down to listen to a hypnosis track, is just incredibly, incredibly challenging for them. And in that case, of course, you know, we find a different way to help them to feel less afraid of birth and to change how they feel about birth. And there may be hundreds of other different types of situations where people don’t feel like they want to use affirmations, for instance, or visualisation. Sometimes it can be resistance to trying something new and sometimes there can just be a very, very good reason why that person doesn’t want to do it. And as hypnobirthing instructors, we, as we gain more experience, we get to understand that and we get to work with our clients in a way that feels good to them. And ultimately I feel like our clients, the people that we’re teaching hypnobirthing to, they take from it what they need and they apply what they need. Our job is to ensure they know the importance of each element and why we are presenting it to them throughout the course. So, soapbox moment, little bit, I think. Thanks for listening this week. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I’ve been discussing. So please feel free to drop me a DM on Instagram or send me an email on liz@thecalmschool.com and I’d be happy to continue the conversation.

So before you head off today, I have got an exciting opportunity for you. If you are a birth passionate person, you are really interested in starting your own business and making a difference in the world, then maybe you would like to come to my free masterclass, which is called Are You Ready to Teach Hypnobirthing? And that masterclass is going to help you understand the different skills, qualities that you need to teach hypnobirthing. It’s going to help you understand a bit more about how the course is arranged and how it all works. You’ll also get a behind the scenes of the course as well and loads of information about what hypnobirthing is from the perspective of The Calm Birth School and why it’s so, so needed as well. So that workshop takes place on the 28th of March, 2023 and it’s at 7:30 PM so it would be so, so great if you were to sign up and to join me. I’d love to meet you. I will pop a link in the show note so that you can register and you’ll get all the information that you need. And I’ll speak to you next week.

Bye.

 

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