Getting into the right mindset for birth is something that is often talked about. We’re often hearing people say “Birth is mind over matter” and that’s because it’s true! So I wanted to dig a bit deeper into understanding what a great mindset for birth was and I’ve a great guest to help me.
On the podcast today, I’m joined by Ulf Sandstrom who is a mental trainer and hypnocoach who also happens to be a co-founder of the Hypnobirthing Society of Sweden. Doesn’t he sound like the perfect guest to help us to better understand the best kind of mindset for birth and how we might go about achieving that?
During my conversation with Ulf, we talk about many aspects of mindset for birth because quite frankly he has so much to share. He’s also very generously created some free downloads to go with our chat and help you to take some of the things we talk about further. See below for more details!
Here are just some of the things that we talked about…
How dads can play an active role during birth
Hypnobirthing places a great emphasis on the importance of dads during pregnancy and birth and Ulf shares some of the ways that he encourages dads to get involved including;
- Helping mum to relax during pregnancy by reading relaxation scripts to her. This has the added benefit of the baby learning to associate dad with being a calming influence THIS TIP IS GOLD-RATED**!! Why? Because once baby is here, dad will have a hugely calming influence on the baby which will not only help mum but help dad to feel super-involved with the little one. What’s great about this is that both of you are doing something practical, that gets results AND that can be used afterwards.
- Be a gatekeeper to all aspects of the birth where thought is required. This helps mum to stay focused on birthing.
- Helping mum get back to calm place during birth by using some tools and techniques he has learned during the pregnancy.
His advice to dads is this; Think of yourself as a sommelier at a top-notch restaurant and come from a place of service.
**Now, not only is this dad-tip GOLD RATED, but he’s also created a dad-script exclusively for you my podcast listeners. How fabulous is that? To find out how to get yours – see below.
How to handle your fears
If you’re afraid of something that hasn’t happened yet, it’s because you’re imagining what it’s going to be like. perhaps you read it, saw it or heard about it. Or perhaps you have a vivid imagination that prefers to look at possible dangers.
Ulf reminds us that “if you develop a fear or a phobia, it’s not your will; it’s a response by your nervous system” and that a fear isn’t any less difficult for someone than a trauma based on something that’s actually happened.
“If you’re afraid of something that hasn’t happened yet, it’s because you’re imagining what it’s going to be like”
Ulf shares a great exercise which is great for both mums and dads. Write down anything you’re afraid of about the birth – or post birth. You don’t need to share it with each other. Once you’ve written your fears down, set fire to the paper. Setting fire to your fears like this can be really powerful; it can help you not only to acknowledge and accept your fears but also to feel like you’ve voiced them as well as helping you to let them go.
Getting into the mindset for birth
Ulf says this on getting into a mindset for birth; “The more luggage you can lose before birth the better”. I love how he uses the term “luggage”; I use the term head trash, but we’re talking about the same thing. It’s all that emotional baggage that can prevent you from being totally present during birth but can also kick off mental processes that could bring on anxiety or fear which could directly impact labour. BUT… and it’s a big BUT!
“If you haven’t lost your luggage, the better mood you can find yourself in, the better.”
This is a great point. We don’t all have the time or ability to shed all our luggage before birth, and so if you haven’t then the next best thing is to do what you can to get yourself into a great mood and stay there. Have people make you laugh and ask to be reminded of lovely life moments.
Focus your mind on success
Ulf shares a very simple approach to shift into a positive mindset for birth by using your list of fears that you’ve already captured. Take a second look at your list and translate each one into a goal instead. Fears are usually “away” things; things that you want to avoid, like pain or complications. So if a fear of pain is one of yours, he suggests flipping that so that it becomes a goal instead (a “toward” thing) of a pleasurable birth and focusing on that instead.
How stress and trauma affects us and can be released
Here’s a video of Ulf talking about stress and trauma, and how it can be released.
Ulf’s Hypnobirthing track and Relaxation Script
Ulf has very generously created a hypnobirthing relaxation track and a relaxation script that dads can read out loud to mum during pregnancy.
These are both available to my Fear Free Childbirth Community email subscribers – when you subscribe, one of the emails you will receive includes them both. But if you can’t wait and would like to get hold of the hypnobirthing mp3 track and relaxation script RIGHT AWAY, then don’t worry, you can. For a small nominal charge, you can obtain them immediately. All proceeds from this go to the charity that Ulf does a lot of work for, Peaceful Heart. So, it’s all in a good cause.
To subscribe to the fear Free Childbirth Community, go to the bottom of this page and look for the “Join the Fear Free Childbirth Community” sign up box.
To obtain the Relaxation Script & Hypnobirthing Track immediately click below.
(I’m sorry but this free guide is no longer available. If you are looking for super useful resources such as this then join the Fearless Mama Ship. Find out more here.)
About Ulf Sandström
Ulf Sandström is a mental trainer and hypnocoach who is extremely curious about what makes us tick. Tock. He works as a complementary therapist with in-depth knowledge and experience of principles, methods and procedures for treatment of a large variety of symptoms of emotional stress and trauma including flashbacks, addiction, chronic pain, cognitive dissonance, IBS, GAD, COD, grief, rumination and sleep. He is a co-founder of the Hypnobirthing Society of Sweden. With the Peaceful Heart Network he works with First Aid for emotional and traumatic stress in zones of post-conflict such as Rwanda, D.R. Congo and Lesbos, Greece.
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.