Fear and Expectation
In our culture, women are often surrounded by negative messages about birth and grow up expecting birth to be painful and traumatic. Often, these messages come through stories in the media or on television. Women are conditioned to believe that birth is perilous and fraught with danger.
It is precisely this expectation of fear that creates the tension in a birthing mother, which in turn creates pain. This often happens at a subconscious, primal level. If a birthing mother senses or experiences anything that is unfamiliar her instinct is to protect her young and herself. So often where there is fear or apprehension, even if it is subconscious, it will inhibit labour as no mother would want her baby to be born where there is a threat to their wellbeing.
Hypnosis works at a subconscious level, changing instinctive perceptions of birth so that it is seen as a positive experience, enabling birthing mothers to trust their body. It also make mothers aware of how they can be in control and manage their environment, keeping it free of threats.
In other cultures, childbirth is regarded as a natural, normal event in a woman’s life. The women in labour is given support from other women, and children are often present to witness the event. In this way, birth is celebrated and honoured. Young girls then grow up with the belief system that birth is a positive event and their expectations of childbirth reflect this attitude.
As a result, their births are similar to their predecessors; without pain and fear. They have a positive expectation of childbirth. In our culture, it is very much the opposite. For many generations we have been told that delivering a baby involves many hours of painfully agonising work, to be faced with fear and trepidation. We have all heard stories from well-meaning friends and family that send shivers up our spines, and so the legacy continues. We experience pain in childbirth, in part because we very much expect to!