08 May

Many women, like my client Katie, develop a birth plan that outlines their hopes and dreams for their perfect birth experience.  Often this serves as a guide to a birth that is completely aligned with their hopes and dreams.  Sometimes, however, things do not go to plan, which can result in sadness, disappointment and self-doubt.    Despite her plan for a calm and peaceful home birth, Katie had a difficult and traumatic birth experience which resulted in an emergency C-section. Her son was healthy, but the birth was chaotic and frightening, and Katie ended up feeling that somehow she failed, that her body failed, and that she did not give her first baby the birth that he deserved.   

I met Katie about 8 weeks before she was due to have her second baby.  She reported that she has flashbacks to her previous experience and thus finds herself with feelings of anxiety around the upcoming birth.  Additionally she feels a sense of guilt about having a C-section.  As with many women, she is her own worst critic and in this context she feels that her own body let her down and that the C-section is somehow her fault.   

As a Mom, I immediately identified with Katie.  I understood the pressure that she had put upon herself and how that was affecting her.  I also could see that the trauma from her difficult experience was trapped in her mind/body system.  I  explained to her that a combination of tapping (EFT) and hypnosis would help prepare her to approach and experience this birth differently - whatever that might look like.  I recommended a series of sessions so that we could do the work slowly, safely and intentionally.   I could see that she was stuck in a place of pain and I knew this work could release her from that and would allow her to experience her next birth in a completely different way, free from the past trauma and guilt.   

The guilt around the C-section was giving Katie more emotional intensity when we started than the birth experience itself so we started our work there.  Working through that guilt helped to build rapport and to get her comfortable with our process.   She had some amazing cognitive shifts as we processed.  Initially she said that her feelings around the C-section are representative of her perfectionism and that in her mind a C-section was equal to failure.  As we worked, as we tapped .. she acknowledged that having an attitude of gratitude is THE most important thing and that she should thank her body for helping her have her healthy baby to the best of her ability.  She realized that mindset is the most important thing and that she wanted to move into her next birth experience feeling more relaxed, open and accepting.   This was a theme that we continued to revisit and reinforce in our sessions.   

When she was ready to move into processing of the birth experience we used an EFT technique called ‘Tell the Story”.  She recounted the story to me, starting from a neutral place in time.  When we got to a point where she felt emotion we would stop and tap.  I used words and phrases that reflected calm and safety ..things like ‘right here, right now, I am safe’  It was intentional, slow and progressive work, and by the end of our sessions she was able to tell the entire story .. from beginning to end with no emotion attached.  It was a beautiful example of guiding a client to a place of peace, self-forgiveness, and acceptance.   

Throughout our sessions I also incorporated hypnosis and visualization.   I designed a recording for her which she listened to daily as her next birth approached.  It was a vision of her future self, walking into the hospital feeling relaxed, peaceful and calm.  It tapped into the way she wanted to see and feel herself giving birth.  When we finished the work together we both shed tears of gratitude for our experience together and for the journey we took.  As is always the case in the client practitioner relationship we learn and grow  from each other.  I felt so honored and privileged to do this work - it felt as if I was gently and preciously holding she and her baby.   

Although Katie would have liked to have had a vaginal birth, she had a scheduled C-section and gave birth to a beautiful healthy boy.  I received this text from her the day before the birth.   

“Got your head in my voice for tomorrow.  It’s not my first choice.  But it’s the best choice at this point.  And it will be beautiful.  And I deeply and completely love and accept myself”  

Seeing these words from her were humbling and beautiful - moving through difficult experiences and emotions with self love and acceptance is the power of this work.  It is empowering for someone to move through this transformation, to see and understand the power of thoughts, and to see and recognize their own strength and resilience.    

And in this case, the ripple effect is precious.  The baby that was born that day came from a space of peace and calm.  We all deserve that nurturing.  It is meant to be.     

More texts from Kate:

“Thank you again for everything.  I am always so revitalized and one step closer to my best self after our sessions”   

“Feeling more impatient than anything today.  Listened to your recording this morning.  AMAZING … LOVE it.  Thank you !!!! Excited to listen again tonight”  

“Just wanted to send an update … still pregnant.   Considering a scheduled C-section.  Not from a place of fear but from a place of self love and empowerment.”  

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