Today’s Wisdom is dispensed by Eleanor Copp a Midwife & Clinical Hypnotherapist.
As a Hypnotherapist in Private Practice I meet with women and Couples during their pregnancy. These are couples who have recognised that some difficulties exist when contemplating their upcoming birth.
The Couple usually have an idea about the origins of their anxiety and discomfort but no way of knowing how to manage them and can feel very overwhelmed and upset by the prospect of the decisions ahead.
The work of the therapist is about support and goals are set towards their having a greater understanding of their shared history and why they have arrived in this situation as they have. This post represents my understanding of working in this special field.
I have been working with Women and their Partners now since 2004 initially as a Hypnobirthing Practitioner and then a Hypnotherapist, supporting them to have their ideal birth.
Since working with some more complex situations, I have gained insights into why some Women make the decisions they do. With support they can be helped during their difficulties, to emerge happier, more aware of all of their choices, assertive to ask questions if necessary and ready to take responsible decisions. This is a process that begins at their request, and their motivation to access the appropriate therapist for them.
For many women who feel successful and have an organised life having a baby is a huge upheaval, that is not to say they do not want to be a Mother but the very idea of not knowing precisely what will happen in the labour, at the birth and what they will feel is extremely unsettling .It leads them to thinking that an elective c section will be the answer because they can control the day, the time, the emotion, the fear. And it may be so. But that needs exploring.
As Dr Gayle Peterson writes so brilliantly in her article ‘Childbirth: The Ordinary Miracle: Effects of Devaluation of Childbirth on Women’s Self-Esteem and Family Relationships’
“an empowered birth can mean having an elective section or it can mean having a water birth .It can be at home or in hospital.”
The main point is that the Parents make their decisions with awareness and with sensitivity considering their babies experience alongside their own.
To get to a point of conscious awareness takes time, and involves meeting appropriately trained therapists who are familiar with birth work and have no bias or agenda and will support a couple with empathy and compassion. The couple will need to have bravery and courage, kindness towards oneself without blame. I always notice that when a couple can speak to each other honestly about their needs and limitations they are better prepared irrelevant of their choices. Their relationship with their baby and each other is more likely to stay intact and respectful
Sometimes babies are known to have problems, which will need immediate and potentially dangerous surgery, such as congenital heart conditions, and this worry can cloud the birth itself, as the fear of separation and loss is more overwhelming than the birth process.
It may be suggested that induction or elective is one way to manage the birth and make it more manageable or safer. It is crucial that the birth is discussed in its own right and not just as a route to getting to the baby to start treatment.
So why do women choose electives?
In my experience this is never due to one single element but several. The level of fear women hold within their bodies and their minds has a big impact on all thoughts and feelings so addressing these by acknowledging and naming them is the first goal.
Sources of fear can be:
- Experiences as a small child when a sibling was born and this signified a memory of loss and change.
- Sex Education classes at primary school being interpreted and recorded as frightening
- Our mothers and grandmothers experience of being born
- Traumatic experience relating to sexual abuse, rape or smear test.
- Body image concerns / inhibitions
- Back or pelvic injury
- Our own experience of being born
- Our expectation of pain
- Tocophobia (fear of child birth)
If the couple can access help to manage the existing trauma, via mind or bodywork and reduce it so that it becomes contained and reframed they can move forward with a calmer approach and a greater understanding and acceptance of all their experiences. They can build and grow confident with their relationship with the unborn baby, so that all decisions they need to make are with the best intentions for their baby.
When the body and mind is calm there is greater access to internal resources and creativity. There emerges an ability to learn and to solve problems when we are not under stress.
As Dr Gayle says:
“empowerment is a process not to be confused with the end product i.e. normal or surgical birth. The determining factor in women’s self esteem is having the opportunity to address her emotional changes about becoming a mother.”
If you’d like help or advice from Eleanor about childbirth you can find her on Greatvine.
So let us know, what were your reasons for choosing a c section? Are you about to deliver by elective section? or are you anxious about you imminent due date? Let us know