Below are my answers to a few questions I get asked a lot.
If your question or answer does not appear here..please don't be shy contact me and ask!
What is the point of visualizing our birth or writing a birth story beforehand?
It is all part of re-wiring the brain. We are biologically primed to have a negative bias so it is really important that we start to think about the perfect birth in our head...if we say it out loud and actually write it down it makes us visualise it more and we start to believe what we are thinking. It is what is called the ‘head edge’. How we imagine birth makes part of the brain associated with birth light up. So our brains cannot tell the difference between what’s vividly imagined and what we are actually doing right now. So, if we have imagined giving birth hundreds of times beforehand our confidence will have improved. We will also start to be more careful with what we allow our brains to see/think: is what I am thinking about now going to make me more anxious or excited? We have a choice! When it comes to the real event we will have done it so many times before in our heads. More and more today we are reading about sports stars and musicians using visualization techniques.
Is it possible to have a completely pain free birth?
I get asked this a lot..and my answer is I cannot and would not ever guarantee a pain free birth ..every labour is so individual. Every woman describes it so differently also, some get a feeling of pressure, some get 'sensations' some describe the feeling of pain etc..I will however ensure that before the 2 days of workshops are complete couples will have a very good understanding of the process of pain and will have many tools to practice long before labour begins to train their brain! They will be using a mixture of brain training such as mindfulness, hypnosis, affirmations alongside CBT. Physical comfort measures, negotiations and will hopefully be very focused on positive birth stories and practising their CD/MP3 training by the time labour comes...so they can make it as comfortable for themselves as possible. Gentlebirth is a programme the more you put in the more they will get out of it.
If i want to breastfeed are there people to help in my area?
Yes..Lots! At the end of the two days workshops i will follow up with a pdf by email and it includes a list of local resources helpful to expectant couples and new parents. Below are just two of the groups that run to support new mums feeding, all groups are always delighted to meet with mums before babies arrival also to answer any questions you may have.
- Cuidiu- the new baby group run by Lucy Glendenning (breastfeeding consultant) meet every Wednesday from 10:30-12 at Kilkenny tennis club.
- The Cuidiu toddler group (where babies are welcome too meet in the Scouts Den every Friday morning 10:30-12
- La leche league hold information evenings the 2nd Monday of every month at 8pm in the Palliative Care unit, St. Lukes Hospital. They also meet the last Wednesday of each month for coffee at various venues in Kilkenny i.e. Ormonde hotel, Jellytots, The orchard, it changes month to month, txt 086 662 7290 to be on the group txts or contact Linda O Leary on 056 77 0894
I listen to the CD’s but i fall asleep every time. Will they work?
That is great! The CD’s are a really important part of the programme. Some of them will induce a deep state of relaxation and most people will find that they don’t really hear them within a few days. You will be hearing them subconsciously however I would encourage mum and partner to not only use them late at night when they lie down tired after a long day. Mum should practice her CD’s in the shops, bath, at hospital appointments, places where she is alert and there are distractions as it will be good practice for if there are any distractions on the day/night. The more she practices and knows them and follows the programme the better they will work. There is also a CD for listening to whilst driving (this is the ONLY one that you should use in the car) which is good for when out and about. And of course partners have their own CD's to listen to and relax.
Is GentleBirth changing the way women are birthing in Ireland?
I believe that GentleBirth Is changing birth in Ireland. It is giving women back the right to have empowered and dignified birthing experiences. Women learn that they can trust their own bodies and babies to birth themselves, that they can have an uninterrupted natural physiological birth (once everyone is healthy). When couples start thinking and talking about the ideal or perfect birth experience for themselves, this is amazing as they are taking ownership of the whole process and it immediately gives confidence that they can do it and will have the tools to do so as the programme will teach them to advocate on their own behalf’s. No matter what type of birth a couple wishes to have be it homebirth, hospital, caesarean, there are tools in the Gentlebirth programme to prepare them for this, and also to be prepared for if they do not get their ideal birth.
There are three main areas within GentleBirthing I feel that are changing birth in Ireland
- The Irish Maternity System. It teaches couples about the Irish maternity system and how to have the best experience within it. They will have an understanding of how their body works in labour, how hospitals work and what options they have. What’s routine and what they are likely to be told/offered/put under pressure about. It also gives the partners the tools to deal with this side of things in hospital/at home so that the woman’s job is to labour and stay in this special space. Also we are led to believe that hospitals always follow best practice and guidelines however there are no national standards in Ireland for the care of healthy women and babies and hospitals throughout the country differ so Gentlebirth ensures that people are up to date and know how to find out more information and how to ask questions in order to protect ourselves and have a positive experience.
- Tool Kit; there are so many tools in the kit to use from brain training, which is really important if a woman wishes to have an unassisted birth, Mindfulness- for pregnancy and parenting and building emotional resilience for the future. Visualisations and birth rehearsals i.e. my baby is the perfect size for my body. Hypnosis helps us to relax and distorts time throughout the process. Birth preferences-they will know what they want and why and how to get it within the system. And many other practical tools such as water emersion, acupressure and birthing balls among others.
- Wellbeing; GentleBirth is emphasising to women that the brain changes throughout pregnancy and at birth and beyond, and that we need to be aware of our overall health; our emotional, spiritual and mental health. We need to ensure that our needs are being met to make it a positive and fulfilling experience and not rely on others to do this as often hospitals are understaffed and not consistent in whom you meet. If people are feeling confident which they will be after the programme they will be more likely to speak up if they are feeling depressed, anxious, other concerns. It will help lift stigma for women and couples which shouldn’t be there in the first place.