Pregnancy

Review of Your Baby, Your Birth – Hollie de Cruz

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Your Baby, Your Birth is a hypnobirthing guide designed to help expectant mothers think more positively about the birthing process. In society, there is a lot of scaremongering amongst women and the media on the trauma of birth; pain, cesareans, episiotomies, epidurals and foreceps are the most common stories you hear, but most births are actually natural and can be very positive and empowering experiences.

The book includes two audio files; one with positive affirmations about the birthing process and another as a relaxing meditation. The idea is that you listen to each of the meditations daily, and you associate these sounds with a relaxed body. Then during the birth, you play these audio files to help you feel relaxed and calm. My partner and I have been listening to the relaxing audio before we fall asleep each night – and we have never made it to the end!

Key takeaways:

  • The importance of staying calm in childbirth where possible. Going into fight or flight and releasing adrenaline moves all your blood into your limbs ready to flee, but staying calm and relaxed keeps the blood where it should be, in your uterus, facilitating a smooth birth.
  • Laughing and love help to release endorphins and oxytocin and keep you in a relaxed state. Touch from your partner, watching comedy programmes or anything that makes you feel good can help reduce the adrenaline your body produces.
  • Putting the onus on your partner that he/she is fully part of the birth and has an incredibly important role to play. Yes they are not birthing the baby, but they are your advocate and number one support. They are responsible for ensuring your needs are met and that you feel safe, informed and comforted. This to me made so much sense and made me feel much more relaxed by sharing the responsibility of what’s to come with my partner.
  • The book has a set list of new vocabulary and reasons why it’s good to start incorporating these into your pregnancy talks. Things such as ‘surge’ instead of ‘contraction’ and ‘pressure’ instead of ‘pain’. The idea is to begin to associate more positive words with pregnancy, and re-train the sub-conscious mind to be optimistic for the challenge ahead.
  • There are multiple exercises set throughout the book to help you identify your fears and to get you thinking about what you need to do to prepare for the birth. I found some of these to be emotionally challenging, as I multiple fears about the upcoming birth I was not consciously aware of. But for identifying, voicing and working through these fears with my birthing partner, I felt much more prepared and settled about the upcoming event.
  • De Cruz finishes the book with a fantastic quote by Ina May Gaskin: ‘We are the only species of mammal that doubt our ability to give birth. It is profitable to scare women about birth but let’s stop it. Giving birth can be the most empowering experience of a lifetime – an initiation into a new dimension of mind-body awareness. Wherever and whenever you intent to give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body and your spirit for the rest of your life. So even if it has not been your habit throughout life so far, I recommend you learn to think positively about your body. ‘

Criticism:

This book requires an open-mind. The fear around childbirth has been deep set in our society for a long time and I found that often when I read something, I would roll my eyes and think the author was too ‘out-there’. However, when I moved past these feelings and bought into what she was saying, I did feel a sense of relief that actually, maybe she is telling the truth/ she is right and I really will be fine. That was for most things – the paragraph about eating the placenta was definitely not for me!

Overall, I am so glad I was recommended this book prior to childbirth. I would recommend it to anybody who is soon to be giving birth or who will soon be supporting somebody in this position. It can be started in any trimester, but the earlier the better to give you more time to practice the techniques. I look forward to incorporating De Cruz’s advice into my upcoming birth.

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