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Last week on the podcast I shared Lisa’s positive fearless birthing story. Lisa described herself as phobic when it came to childbirth and how it really hung like a cloud over her during her pregnancy.
I knew Lisa from a while back as she had attended one of my Reflective Repatterning courses way back. She got in touch with me when she first found out that she was pregnant because she had heard of the work I was doing in applying Reflective Repatterning to pregnancy and birth, and the results I was getting.
Unfortunately she got in touch with me just around the time of the birth of my youngest so I was a tad distracted! But I did send her some of my Fearless Birthing Meditations that I had created to help women clear some of their common birthing fears.
During our chat last week, she mentioned these meditations quite a bit, and after our podcast chat, we ended chatting some more about it all. I’ve had a few emails from some listeners since then asking me for more info, so I thought I’d try and answer the questions I’ve had over a podcast episode, and by doing it this way, you can hear Lisa tell you in her own words.
What is Fearless Birthing?
It’s a new approach to birth preparation that blends a number of techniques, but at its core it uses a derivative of Reflective Repatterning, an Energy Psychology technique.
The entire focus of the approach is to clear birthing fears so that mum is no longer distracted by troubling mental and emotional thoughts in the lead up to birth and during birth. This enables her to remain present and mindful, and importantly completely in her birthing zone and fully connected to her body and baby. Crucially, if things go off plan during birth, then this kind of emotional preparation will also help her to respond calmly and flexibly which increases her chances of her feeling positively about her birth.
Being fearful means that we need to arm ourselves with coping mechanisms to help us handle what’s happening to us. When we remove the fears, we remove the need for so many coping mechanisms.
What’s involved in Fearless Birthing?
It’s quite simple really and it goes like this.
- Identify your fears
- Clear each one in turn
Now some of our fears are pretty easy to clear with many being allayed simply by educating ourselves around birth and how our body supports us in birthing our baby. Listening to the experts on this podcast share their wisdom around birth is a great place to start. But some fears are deeper and these need more focussed action to clear them. That’s where the fear clearance technique comes in.
In doing the fear clearance work, you become confident in using the technique which means that if you need to use it during labour or birth you can. I used it during the crowning phase at my first birth because I was fearful of the ring of fire, I had been through 2 contractions already and the midwife said that if my baby didn’t come out on the next one, we would need to go to hospital because my baby needed to come out. In that moment I knew I was scared and I realised that it was the fear of pain from the ring of fire that scared me. So before the next contraction I cleared my fear of pain from the ring of fire. During the next contraction my baby came out and she was born.
I talk more about how to use this fear clearance technique in this podcast episode and I’ll be releasing a 3 part video training showing exactly HOW to do it very soon. You can sign up here.
Many of my podcast listeners, who have followed the instructions in the fear clearance episode have been using it and getting fab results already.
How does Fearless Birthing differ to hypnobirthing?
First of all I think it’s important for us to agree on what we mean by hypnobirthing. At its simplest, it is the use of hypnotherapy or self hypnosis to have a positive birth experience. Since it was originally conceived, it has evolved and is now widely accepted as being a holistic approach to birth preparation which INCLUDES self hypnosis for relaxation and fear release, but also includes birth education, partner involvement, breathing techniques and positive affirmations.
The crucial difference to hypnobirthing is the method used for the fear release or the fear clearance. Fearless Birthing does not use hypnosis or hypnotherapy but uses a derivative of Reflective Repatterning, which has a more focused clearance action that works much deeper. It works deeper because it clears fears from mind AND body, whereas hypnosis, works primarily on the mind. The reason it is able to clear from body too is that it works using our energy system – which is the interface between mind and body. When you clear using the energy system, you clear from mind AND body. This is very important for birth, because our body is a massive part of what’s involved.
Let me try to explain.
When you experience fear, you experience it in your mind, but also in your body. You might notice tension, a racy heart-beat, fast breathing, sickness in stomach… any number of feelings and we are all different so it’s very unique. I remember when I was fearful around birth, my legs would tighten with tension in my thighs and I’d cross my legs, tight!. You can imagine how that might impact by birthing body, if my fear of childbirth hadn’t been cleared before birth; one word = PAIN!
When Lisa shared her story, she said that she didn’t get on with hypnobirthing and that it annoyed her.. I probed her a bit on this after my chat and she was happy for me to share what she said.
Essentially she feels that hypnobirthing tries to avoid or deny some aspects of birth by renaming things, or using positive thinking, rather than be honest and embrace all aspects of birth as they are.
One thing that Lisa alluded to as well was that she felt that hypnobirthing tries to use positive psychology in a way that doesn’t feel honest, at least it didn’t for her. For example, it’s often mentioned that we should avoid the words contractions or pain. As a result of the more direct approach of Fearless Birthing, there is no need for us to ask others to change their language around birth, because we’ve changed how we’re responding to the language so it’s no longer troublesome for us.
If you’re scared of pain, then any mention of the word pain will probably trigger that fear for you. Once you’re no longer scared of it, hearing it doesn’t affect you in the same way.
That is not to say that there isn’t a lot we can learn from the principles of hypnobirthing. A lot of women go into birth with these fears so it can be really helpful for any birthing professionals present such as doulas and midwives to be mindful of their language in the presence of birthing women, then this can help mama massively. But I’m talking about how we as a pregnant mamas can help to take charge of our birth experience. And we don’t take charge by asking everyone around us to change… we take charge by taking responsibility and changing things within ourselves, changing how WE respond to what’s happening around us. Getting everyone else to do things our way can be super stressful and a lot of work – much easier to change yourself. THAT is what I mean by claiming your positive birth experience.
Fearless Birthing Meditations
During my chat with Lisa she talks about the audios I sent her. These audios are basically me going through the fear clearance process and just recording it. It’s what I do when I work with my clients, and what I did to clear my own fears. If you follow the fear clearance process, it’s exactly the same. I identified the fears and then cleared them one by one and recorded myself doing it. So some of fears I tackle include
- loss of dignity
- being exposed and therefore vulnerable
- weeing and pooing all over the place
So whether you clear your fears yourself, have someone do it for you, or listen to a Fearless Birthing meditation, the results are the same. You can hear Lisa talking about listening to these meditations and how they helped her during birth – especially when it came to pushing.
As I mentioned during the podcast, I will be launching a free video training series soon which talks you through doing this for yourself. If you would prefer me to help you, then you book a session with me here.
Do you have any questions about Fearless Birthing? Let me know in the comments.
Alexia supports families planning pregnancy and birth. She helps them to overcome their fears and feel calm and confident about birth and pregnancy.
Alexia also trains birth professionals in the Fearless Birthing, a unique approach to birth preparation that is ideal for those who have fears around birth.