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Category Archives: Hypnobabies

Upcoming Class Schedule

The holidays wreck a childbirth educator’s schedule so I’m posting the schedule early.  If you’re expecting a baby in Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar, I encourage you to research your childbirth education options early because many educators break for Nov/Dec.

My next Hypnobabies class will be in Greenville on Tuesdays from 6pm-9pm.  The first class is October 16th and the final is November 21st.  I currently have room for three more couples/students in this series.

After the holiday break, I’ll have a Sunday class from 5pm-8pm in Greer beginning January 27th and ending March 3rd.

I’m working on the dates for another Natural Baby Parenting Series which will happen in Sept/Oct.  I’ll post those details when I have them.

Please contact me by email (j_byers@bellsouth.net) if you are interested in any of these classes.

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Classes and Free Events, July and August

Upcoming events:

NB Parenting Series:  “Try to See It My Way“:  Tuesday July 10, 6pm  “Why is my baby crying? Is this normal? I don’t understand what she is trying to say!”  Come learn about infant communication and cues. We’ll also discuss birth bonding, attachment theory, soothing skills, and finding balance. Plus lots of tricks for calm parenting. Babywearing lessons included!  

Greenville Babywearing Group:  Wednesday July 11, noon

Cloth Diaper 101:  Saturday, July 14, 1pm  I’m possibly teaching this class while the instructor is on maternity leave.  Join me as we discuss the many options for cloth diapering.  Dads are encouraged to attend!

NB Parenting Series:  “Breastfeeding“:  Tuesday July 17, 6pm  In our breastfeeding class, we’ll learn about the biology of breastfeeding. We’ll discuss common issues, finding help through community resources, and returning to work.

NB Parenting Series:  “Now What?  The First Six Weeks Postpartum“:  Tuesday, July 24, 6pm  The first six weeks can feel like a whirlwind of emotions and the learning curve may seem steep. Learn what to expect during the postpartum. For mom, we’ll discuss physical changes, healing from birth, and creating a postpartum plan. For baby, we’ll look at common issues such as jaundice and gastric changes. And we’ll learn about baby care basics, newborn procedures at the hospital, and vaccine choices.

Blessingways:  A Gathering of New and Expectant Families:  Saturday, July 28, 2pm.  It is my month to host!  Our birth story will be a Hypnobabies birth.  I will talk myths and truths about hypnosis for childbirth. Is it pain-free or all smoke and mirrors? Come find out.

NB Parenting Series:  “Sleeping Like A Baby“:  Tuesday, July 31, 6pm  *Yawn* Who came up with the phrase “sleeping like a baby” anyway? Learn about the physiology of infant sleep. We’ll talk about naps and nighttime parenting. And, of course, tips and tricks for getting restful nights for the whole family.

NB Parenting Series:  “Having a Baby without Breaking the Bank“:  Tuesday, August 7, 6pm  Having a baby does not have to put a giant hole in your wallet! Learn practical tips for DIY, saving money, and what is safe to buy used. In fact, saving money can also be a sustainable and non-toxic choice. We’ll talk about creating a lean and green baby registry. What do you really need to raise a baby?

New Hypnobabies Series:  Begins August 8 from 6-9pm in Greenville.  We’ll meet for six weeks.  I have two spaces remaining. 

NB Parenting Series:  “Parenting the First Year“:  Tuesday August 14, 6pm  What is baby-led weaning?  How can I make my house safe for a crawler?  Parents have many decisions to make the first year. This class will discuss solid-feeding, safety, teething, discipline, learning through play, and infant development

I also (still!) have doula openings for August.  Email me at j_byers@bellsouth.net

The Jedi Midwives

The last 9 months, I’ve been birthing new understanding about the power of words. As often happens, many areas of my life have carried the theme lately. Most notably, Star Wars.

You heard me. And I’ll come back to it.

My ears have been listening and my senses attuned to authority figures and their use of words.

  • A parent says, “I know you love your brother and want to make amends.”
  • A nurse says, “I want you to think of me as the Wicked Witch.”
  • A teacher says, “I can tell you are all listening carefully.”
  • A doctor doing a blood draw says, “It is going to feel tight and then tickle.”
  • A midwife says, “This is going to hurt.”
  • A mentor says, “You will make the right decision.”

What we say and how we say it matters.

This article written by a physician gives several examples of doctors influencing their patients with words. There are some crazy medical stories out there about patients cured and killed by words.

I’ve been reading all sorts of stories about linguistic placebo. And practicing on my kids, “Let me give you some magic medicine for that boo-boo” and “Your brain will tell your body that the carsickness is gone. Your tummy will settle. You will rest your eyes and sleep now.”

In January, I was poked and tested as we tried to diagnose my mystery tropical illness. A nurse said, as she was holding the syringe, “this is gonna burn.” Wow. It hurt so badly! Then came the flu test. I’d never had a flu test nor seen anyone else have one. I had no idea what was involved. The nurse practitioner said, “this is really going to be uncomfortable.” I panicked. How far into my nose was she going to stick it? I started sweating and saying, “Wait, wait!” I made her give me a minute while I found prepared my hypnosis cues. Good grief. It was not a big deal at all although I almost passed out from anxiety. If she had instead said, “I’m going to swab the inside of your nose and it will tickle some” the whole thing would have been a non-incident.

Give me expectations of pain and my imagination will run wild.

Cedar will freak out if I say, “It isn’t going to hurt.” Because her toddler brain only hears, “going to hurt!” When adults are anxious or groggy or in pain, sometimes our brain only hears in shorthand, too. Instead of using negatives, “this won’t hurt” could we say, “this will feel tingly?” Or could a nurse rub the IV site and say, “I’m going to numb your skin and you will feel cold on your arm.” Why must it feel like a “bee sting”? Who sits still and welcomes a bee sting?

You can see why birth language is so important. We have a few midwives in my area who don’t fancy hypnosis. That would be ok except that they speak words that undermine it. (!!) A midwife, whether she likes it or not, is an authority figure. She says, “I’ve never seen hypnosis work,” or, says to a woman using hypnosis, “This is going to hurt” or “Push past the pain” or “You might feel a burning sensation.” A woman in hypnosis is highly suggestible. What do these statements do?

Interestingly, I rarely see OBs interfere with hypnosis. Maybe they are curious or maybe they just don’t care.

I love quiet midwives. The ones who murmur, “you’re doing wonderfully well.” The ones who don’t assume they know what the birthing woman will feel next. What if she isn’t hurting and you tell her she will feel a burning ring of fire? Or that her pains will become more intense? Do you think that will impact her? Go hang out on any birth hypnosis forum and read how care providers derail births with their words.

So what does this have to do with Star Wars? Scott and I decided to watch the Star Wars Trilogy recently. I realized that this linguistic placebo is like a Jedi mind trick. I have seen this in action. I call them The Jedi Midwives.

You remember the Jedi scenes in the Star Wars movies? The Jedi speaks gently, “We are not who you are looking for. You will let us go.” And then the storm trooper says, “You are not who I am looking for. You can go.”

Linguistic placebo.

It works at births. The midwife whispers, “your cervix is dilating easily.” The woman’s instinctual brain intuits the message. And her cervix melts away.

I’ve seen it happen. Happen in ways that were as mind-blowing as some of the medical stories about the power of words. I’ve seen The Jedi Midwives influence the birthing woman’s body with their words.

I realize there are other care providers (midwives, nurses, and doctors) who use their Jedi powers. I’ve simply seen The Jedi Midwives use them most.

What can you do if your care provider does not know the Jedi tricks?

  • Help your doula and partner understand the importance of words. Teach them about the force. 🙂 Sometimes the medical care providers will catch on as they hear your team saying, “She’s doing so well” or “your body knows how to birth.”
  • Put it in your birth plan. Perhaps you don’t make it Star Wars themed (and certainly not Padme style!) but you could write, “Please do not tell me what I will feel or discuss pain.”
  • If you’re using hypnosis, play it up. Most care providers know little about how hypnosis for childbirth works. If you give them some “rules” they may take the high road and not say anything. (Those who have their mouths open all the time generally have their ears shut.
    Barriss Offee)
  • Ask for silence. Have music playing. Turn the lights out. People are quieter in such an environment. If you’re using hypnosis, have the scripts playing out loud. It might even put your care provider to sleep. I remember a hospital birth at which the nurse kept sneaking into our room to sit on our couch. She said our room was so peaceful and smelled so relaxing. She didn’t speak. Just crept in and chilled on the couch.

The more we learn, the more we discover how much we do not know.Yoda

Fear in Birth continued

My post on Fear during Birth received some insightful comments.  They deserve their own post.

Hypnosis:  I’ve only attended one birth, the birth of one of my Hypnobabies students and fears. She held on to some fear during her birth. Finally she decided on her own to take some time, listen to the fear clearing track, read a self-written affirmations sheet and then she really got into her active birthing time. Baby came super fast once she was able to release those fears. Pretty amazing.

Processing previous experience to prepare for VBAC:  I had feelings of failure following my first birth. I’ve worked through my fears through talking about it, processing and reprocessing my first birth w/ my son many MANY times. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. I’ve talked w/ people (you included) and allowed myself to experience the feelings that came after that first birth. Being pregnant again I don’t feel fearful. I have worked through my fear and KNOW that I CAN have a VBAC, natural birth. When I think about it, I am excited. Excited for what I know I can do, excited to have this opportunity again. Excited to be past my fear.

Preparing through education:  I prepared myself by reading a lot. For me, if I know what to expect, it isn’t scary anymore. So I learned all I could about the birthing process and what to expect, what was normal. Also, reading and listening to lots of birth stories of all kinds. I wasn’t afraid at all during birth and loved my experience. This time around most of my fears center on others and their involvement after the birth which was a big issue with my last birth. I’m trying to work through it by preparing them and also lining up my own support.

Talking about it:  I spoke about my fears with my husband, my doula, and the psychologist who did my hypnobirthing sessions. Talking through them and having a plan to deal with the possibility, made me more calm.

Expecting birth to be natural and normal:  I really didn’t have any fears. Part of that was ignorance of course, the first time, but I’d been raised to believe it was all very natural and normal. Not easy, but nothing to fear. I’m grateful for that since Mom went through nearly every scenario over the course of five births, including one that was painless, and a very traumatic emergency c/s (that was actually medically necessary!) and so much in between – she could have passed on very negative views of birth, but she didn’t. I read everything I could find, I was determined to go natural, but hadn’t even considered homebirth at that point. And by God’s grace, Mom was right about birth for me. My first daughter’s birth was amazing! Faster and easier than I thought it could be – but more painful than I expected, as well. Back labor caught me off-guard, but counter-pressure made a huge difference. I was checked all too early and all too often, but I had progressed each time, so that helped me stay positive. It was after my daughter was born that the fear showed up! I think I focused so much on the birth that actually having a child to raise was something of a shock.

Visualization:  I realized that my fear of pain, tearing, pooping, swearing was basically mind over matter. During the course of my pregnancy I gained strength from envisioning Mary giving birth to Jesus and how she had no anesthesia, no hospital, etc… It helped me know that I could do it. And I would do it. No. Matter. What. If SHE could do it, I could do it. I told myself this every time fear would creep in.

Redefining it:  I think for me, the scariest thing about the birth was my mother racing me to the hospital like a madwoman–traffic in Cairo never scared me so badly as my mom whipping in and out of traffic like she was! (Really, did the midwife *have* to tell us that an ambulance would take too long, and then tell my mom that she may have to pull over and help me birth somewhere along the interstate? Couldn’t she have just said “Go now, and go quickly”?)  Before the birth, my biggest fear was that my daughter would come early, and my husband wouldn’t have come from Egypt yet. That’s actually how it happened (which is why my mother was driving), but during the birth itself, I felt sadness for that, but no fear about whether or not I could handle it. In retrospect, even the fear of that happening before the birth wasn’t *fear*; it was sorrow for what he’d miss out on, and what we’d miss out on as a family, if that happened.

Choosing NOT to fear:  I ignored fear during my pregnancy. I reveled in my glow and bore my growing belly proudly. When I went into preterm labor at 34 weeks, all of the fears compounded and blossomed. The fears of the unknown, of the inexperience, and questioning whether my body would instinctively know what to do came pouring down right beside the new fears…will my baby be okay? How long will he be confined in NICU? Why is he coming now? What is the problem???
During active labor, I pushed my fears away. I made a conscious decision my baby was not going to be born into a feeling of fear. I would not fight him; tell him it wasn’t time–but in my mind embrace him and love him. I imagined fear during labor washing away like waves on the sand. Breathing, loving, crossing one bridge at a time, focusing not on what lay on the other side but what was happening at the present.
The whole time I wanted to/could have easily given in to fear. Instead, I mindfully decided to trust God and His Purpose. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,” Ps 46:1-2.

Writing down the fears:  With my first pregnancy, I wrote down an entire list of fears probably a couple of weeks before my birthing time. I still have the sheet and it is interesting to read them now.

More hypnosis:  With my second pregnancy, I worried that the birth might not be as great as the first one. I guess I just listened to the fear clearing Hypnobabies c.d. to remove some of that fear. The birth was super awesome, so the fear didn’t come true.

Identifying with other women:  With this pregnancy, I know in the beginning I had worries….1 in 3 women have a c-section, is my luck out? Then just two days ago I was reading Holistic Midwifery, Vol. 1 and I came upon a page that talked about that fear specifically for mom’s going in to their third pregnancy. I made me feel so much better reading that other women feel the same way. I’ve been listening to fear clearing more too.

Any others ways you want to add?

Business

Hypnobabies Class:  I have two spaces remaining in my June/July Hypnobabies class.  This six-week series meets in Greer on Mondays from 6-9pm.  We begin June 11 (a week from tomorrow–so do not dilly-dally!).  Have I mentioned how much I love Hypnobabies births?  So much so that I give a discount to doula clients who take Hypnobabies?  Because, as a doula, I have noticed that Hypnobabies births are generally shorter and easier.  Good stuff, that!

Doula Availability:  Because of those in-a-hurry- June births, I have space open in June.  I could take another client in July.  And I have space in August and September.  I’m used to busy birthy summers and typically take on more clients but this one wants to laze by.

I’ve never paid for advertising.  My work has grown through word of mouth and I am so incredibly thankful for my amazing clients, students, and friends for trusting me to serve the ones they love.  I remember the first time I stepped out on my own–away from my doula mentor–and thought, who will ever hire me?  And through this journey, I’ve learned to trust that the families I’m meant to serve will find me.

I hope the summer ones find me before they go into labor…

New Birth Story

I’ve added a new birth story.  Check out Rachel’s waterbirth at Covenant Birth Center.  Rachel is a first time mom who used Hypnobabies.

Here is a sneak peak:

The pressure waves were now seemingly right on top of each other and much, much stronger. As weird as it sounds, my heart felt gratitude towards them. I think this is one of the main principles of Hypnobabies that really became engrained in my mind and heart and helped me through labor. These powerful sensations were taking over my entire being in order to help our baby come to us safely, and soon! My “aah”ing became more intense, but again, as strange as it may sound, I can honestly say that pain was still not the sensation that I was feeling. 

Enjoy!  And congratulations Rachel and Colin!

P.S. I have only two spaces remaining in my June/July class.

NEW Hypnobabies Class (June/July)

I’m opening registration for my next Hypnobabies class.  We’ll meet Mondays from 6pm-9pm in Greer.  The first class is June 11 and we’ll meet for six weeks.

All materials are included.  The cost is 250.00.

Please contact me if you’re interested or have questions.  I have four spaces available in the class.  Email:  j_byer@bellsouth.net.