This is my review of the HypnoBabies Home Study Course from a Christian perspective. These are my personal thoughts and experiences only, not directed or encouraged by any outside person, group, or organization.
Note: HypnoBabies is written to be spiritually neutral, allowing participants to bring in any practices that they find helpful. When I read the HypnoBabies webpage about Christianity and Hypnosis, it was clear that I would be incorporating scripture and Biblical imagery in my use of the program.
HypnoBabies, Week 1
Our angel blogger sent us the complete HypnoBabies Home Study Course, which included the following:
- HypnoBabies Home Study Course Workbook, 6th Edition
- Home Study Supplementary Booklet: Quick Reference and Birth Partner's Guide, 6th Edition
- Six Disc Home Study Course CDs
I read the intro to the Workbook and the Quick Reference the first day. I enjoyed the letter from the founder, Kerry Tuschhoff, discussing the program, how it was developed and how it is different from other childbirth techniques, including Bradley. The balance of the intro discussed the program itself, how to use the materials, the Bubble of Peace concept, and facts about hypnosis. I felt that this information provided me with good discussion points when talking about HypnoBabies with my family and friends.
I really liked reading the Quick Reference, which gave me a glimpse at how HypnoBabies will be in use during our birthing time. There is also a great section about posterior babies, how to turn them and a birth partner guide on how to administer counter pressure. Good page on breastfeeding, too. The rest of the booklet contains information for the birth partner on how to support the mother during her birthing time. I will review the booklet in more detail as we get closer to our birthing time.
It is recommended that both the mother and birth partner review all of the provided materials, including the CD tracks.
Workbook Class 1
The workbook pages for Week 1 consist mainly of articles about hypnotherapy and how it works. It also introduces some more key words that will be used as a part of the HypnoBabies program:
Guess Date/Due Date
Pressure Waves, Pressure Sensations, Birthing Waves/Contractions
Pre-Birth Waves/False Labor
All of these vocabulary changes are meant to remove any fear one may associate with childbirth and are generally easy to use. I have found myself using these terms already in my conversations and they feel very natural.
The best part of this chapter, for me, was the article discussing how fear effects childbirth and how the muscles in the uterus are built in such a way that they respond to fear. The basic is that the muscle fibers in the uterus run both horizontal and vertical. When you are calm and relaxed, these fibers work together to dilate the cervix and move your baby out. When you are in the pain-fear-tension cycle, these fibers naturally work against each other to cause contractions to be less productive, slowing or stopping labor until you are/feel safe again. This was very powerful for me and helped me recommit to the importance of staying comfortable and relaxed during my birthing time. I seriously LOVED this section!
Also included in this chapter is the first script for your birth partner to read to you: Bubble of Peace. R had the opportunity to read this script to me twice and I found it very relaxing. I really enjoy how HypnoBabies takes the time to include your birth partner in the program in this way!
The Bubble of Peace reminds me of the Armor of God. I have always resonated with the shield of faith and find this imagery very helpful here.
Disc 1: Your Special Place
This is the first of two hypnosis tracks used during Week 1. This track focuses on creating a safe place in your mind, whether a real place or imagined, that you can retreat to for mental/emotional safety or to calm yourself.
The track begins with a relax/peace scenario meant to bring you into hypnosis. Beginning with breathing deeply, you are then walked through steps for quieting all the extra "noise" in your mind, becoming peaceful and calm.
When this track first began leading the participant through the use of the word peace and accepting peace/peaceful energy into yourself, I knew immediately that the phrasing would have to change. Thankfully, the Lord readily brought this scripture to mind:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
This worked wonderfully! I ended up switching these, using "Peace I give to you" on the inhale and "My peace I leave with you" on the exhale.
The next stage of the track uses imagery of light. The light is relaxation/peace gathered at the top of your head, could be any color you wish, and flowed down your head and shoulders until it reached your heart, which then pumps this colored light to the rest of your body. Again, I needed to make some changes.
Immediately, I went to John 8:12: Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." I also used 1 John 1:5: God is light, in Him there is no darkness. For gathering the light at the top of your head, the image came of the Spirit of God descending on Christ like a dove at His baptism. With the dove traditionally symbolizing peace, this worked perfectly. With these scriptures in place, I was able to imagine this peace/light moving from my mind to my heart and then filling me with each heartbeat. For color, I used purple for Christ's royalty.
Once these cues are done, the track then walks you through the creation of your safe place. It emphasizes that this place can be real or imaginary, a place you have visited, a place you want to go, or a new creation all your own.
At first, I struggled with creating this place and just in general feeling like this exercise would not be helpful. However, after listening to this track several times, I have been able to see the usefulness of this exercise. I think that it will be very effective if I need to retreat during my pressure waves, especially during our hour long drive to the birth center.
My safe place ended up being Bellows Beach in Hawaii. This is a beach located on an air force base, so it is only open on weekends and is relatively under visited. Our family often visited this beach on our trips to Hawaii in order to enjoy some peace and quiet by the water. It has great waves for body surfing and a very close tree line for shade. I picture myself curled up in the warm shade, listening to the roll of the waves. I enjoy using beachfront imagery with the term "birthing waves" and how they build and recede. I think this will be very helpful later, especially the concept of these waves being just background noise and a part of an overall relaxing experience.
Once you create your special place, you are instructed to "[take] your baby by the hand and bring your baby to your special place." I was very uncomfortable with the concept of touching my child's consciousness and then taking them somewhere. It reminded me too much of out-of-body experiences or astral projection. Instead, I pictured Aaron's first trip to Hawaii and napping with him in the shade at Bellows while R and Little K play in the waves and my parents read in the sun. The people I love surrounding us, you know?
The track ends with a count up from hypnosis at 1-2-3. Overall, this track is very relaxing but required a fair bit of editing.
Disc 1: Comfortable Childbirth
This is the second track for week one. It begins the same as the first track with narrative cues for peace and light. This track takes the deep breathing a step further, breathing in to a count of four and breathing out with a countdown from eight. This deep breathing goes on for quite a while and has put me to sleep* so many times, even sitting up! It is a very relaxing experience.
Once the breathing/peace/light is done, the remainder of the track focuses on rejecting any negativity or pain associated with childbirth. This includes reality t.v. shows about birth, movies or television shows dramatizing birth, and vocabulary traditionally used when discussing childbirth. (I have also chosen to avoid any online un-medicated birth videos that do not use HypnoBabies.) The track stresses the importance of rejecting these notions of birth as being painful or traumatic and, instead, focusing on the productive nature of your pressure waves (contractions). The focus is on enjoying these sensations with the anticipation that each pressure wave brings you that much closer to meeting your baby.
I did not feel much need for additional scripture or edits for this track, with the exception of the passages already mentioned with the initial peace/light cues. One statement on the track did remind me of a scripture:
"After your baby has been born, your strength will be complete."
Hello, 2 Corinthians 12:9!
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
I love this reminder of my weakness versus God's strength. I know that, by myself, I cannot have an easy, comfortable birth. But by doing the work now, both mentally with hypnotherapy and spiritually with scripture and prayer, that my weakness will be nothing when compared with God's strength during my birthing time. Amen!
*Based on this article and discussion, it is possible that I'm not falling asleep during this track but rather going into deep hypnosis. I tried listening to this track and fast forwarding through the hypnosis cues. Surprisingly, the rest of the track was very familiar to me. Perhaps I really am in hypnosis after all!
Disc 5: Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations
This is track two on disc five, which you are supposed to listen to every day. It is NOT a hypnosis track and is the only track that can be listened to in the car, although I usually listen to it as I eat breakfast or do my hair/makeup. I have also turned it up loud and listened to it in the shower.
The track begins with affirmations about pregnancy and slowly transitions to affirmations about your birthing time with the purpose of sustaining your positive thinking about pregnancy and birth. For the most part, I find this track spiritually neutral and can listen to it without many internal edits.
Statements I really enjoy on this track:
Pregnancy is natural, normal, healthy, and safe for me and my baby.
My job is to relax and allow my baby's birth to happen.
I see myself birthing beautifully, calmly, and with confidence.
I love my pregnant body and accept it every day.
I enjoy eating healthy food for my baby.
I have faith, courage, and patience.
There are some statements, however, that create dissonance with me spiritually and require editing:
I deserve an easy, uncomplicated birth. Lord, I believe You can give me an easy, uncomplicated birth.
My body gives birth in its own perfect time. My baby will be born in the Lord's perfect time.
I believe in myself. I believe in You.
And still a few more statements feel self-centered, not taking into account the partnership of marriage**:
All decisions about my baby's birth are mine to make. All decisions about our baby's birth are ours to make.
Still in all, I feel this is a good and helpful track. I have found myself enjoying the look of my pregnant body more and admiring my belly in the mirror. I have been more mindful about choosing healthy snacks and avoiding junk food. I am looking forward to an un-medicated birth with the feeling that it will be an empowering, calm, and joyful event.
**HypnoBabies was created for mothers in all situations, not specific to marriage. I completely understand these single-person statements and would rather have to edit these for me than create guilt or shame for an unmarried mother using the program.
Week 1 Impressions
Recorded Materials: I found that there are more universal concepts in the recorded materials than I was expecting and it definitely has an all-inclusive theme. Some phrases toe the line of what the Bible identifies as dangerous. However, scripture and imagery came to mind easily to make the program comfortable for me and at no point did I feel that I was at risk. I do think that the program could be misleading/confusing for a new Christian or anyone who has not prioritized the study of scripture. I'm definitely glad we went into this program prayerfully.
Written Materials: At this point, all of the written materials focus on how hypnosis works and the medical/scientific support for hypnotherapy. A common complaint in reviews about the written materials is the layout and bolding, italics, and underlining of the text. I agree that a there is a lot of this but, for me, it wasn't distracting. I can see how this could be very frustrating for someone who has a passion for design or publishing.
Price: While I don't feel this program is priced well on the website, I am very comfortable with the price I paid for it in used condition.
Impact to Date
- I have found myself using the new, gentle vocabulary more and more.
- I am getting better at implementing my Bubble of Peace. Examples: Reminding myself during the birth scene at the beginning of Man of Steel that it is just a dramatization, not real birth. When a woman in bible study shared the very dramatic, unplanned un-medicated birth of her second child IN HER CAR, reminding myself that such situations were very uncommon. Cutting myself off from any "natural birth" videos online that do not use HypnoBabies.
- I find myself looking forward to birth and already being a little sad knowing that it will all be over in a few months.
- I had a wonderful dream Wednesday night about giving birth to two babies. In this dream, I delivered in a comfortable bed with about an hour between births. I slept between the two deliveries and didn't really push them out - I breathed them out. While I wasn't silent, I was not experiencing any pain or making noises related to pain. A male nurse commented later that the HypnoBabies didn't work because I wasn't silent - I asked him if he ever heard me request medication. He said no. I told him that, in that case, it worked. I also dreamed about nursing the babies right after birth and seeing their mouths fill with milk. I woke up feeling very confident about my birthing time and breastfeeding!
- The section of the workbook regarding the uterus and the fear-pain-tension cycle was AWESOME. It also gave R a lot of confidence in the program as a whole.