A Dad’s perspective of Hypnobirthing- Mark’s Story

Like many, I knew very little about pregnancy, birthing and babies and had never heard of hypnobirthing prior to attending classes. To say I was initially sceptical about the concept is an understatement but I quickly changed my train of thought on attending a taster session. I’m not entirely sure what it was that changed but I’m confident that hypnobirthing gave me the tools necessary to support my wife Rachel in having a calm and positive birthing experience.


For me the journey started prior to attending classes. Finding out that we were expecting our first child was hugely exciting, so much so that I didn’t really consider what I needed to know and what I needed to do in preparation for the arrival of our child. I didn’t realise the extent to which Rachel was anxious about birth, something that I now know many women face as a result of years of media focus on the the negative aspects. This could’ve eaten away and hindered the birthing experience that Rachel desired from the outset. It was during the first hypnobirthing class that the penny dropped and I became aware of my responsibility to be more actively involved.. this wasn’t Rachel’s pregnancy, this was our pregnancy.


Hypnobirthing equipped me with a greater level of knowledge about birthing in general. No question was ever a stupid question and I found that if I was unsure about something, no matter how trivial, the other Dads in the group were likely to be unsure as well. This helped me greater support Rachel in the latter stages when we were faced with some special circumstances. I was able to stay calm and work with Rachel and our medical team to make the right decisions for us and our baby. We didn’t always get to the decision that we wanted but we knew that if our desires were to be challenged, it would be for the good of our baby.


Hypnobirthing enabled me to have a positive impact on our pregnancy throughout the duration of our gestation period but most importantly 30 minutes before Sebastian was born when Rachel needed some additional support with her breathing and pushing. Faced with some discomfort, Rachel started to panic and the Consultant was keen to perform an instrumental delivery, something that we wanted to avoid in our birthing preferences. I knew from our classes that if needed, additional support may be required but that breathing techniques could and should be used first. I was able to calmly communicate with the Consultant whilst supporting Rachel with her breathing and pushing techniques which resulted in Seb being born without the need for intervention. Without prior knowledge of these techniques, Seb would’ve been born in much different circumstances.


Finally, hypnobirthing armed Rachel and I with a level of empowerment that would’ve been impossible without attending classes. We were able to ask questions and ensure the decisions made over the duration of our pregnancy suited us and our baby. Most notably in putting together our birthing preferences, some of which were very personal to us and not necessarily in keeping with the traditional direction the NHS usually use. I made our birthing preferences sheet personal to Rachel and I by including some photographs of us and our pets so that our Midwives and Consultants could have a better understanding of who we were. This doubled up as a great comfort to Rachel when she started to miss her home comforts. All midwives involved in the delivery of Seb commented on our birthing preferences document filling us both with confidence that our preferences would be considered where possible.


Whilst these aspects stand out as most insightful for me, the greatest aid to me was the understanding that it was ok for unforeseen circumstances to challenge our birth preferences. Hypnobirthing was never about doing sufficient preparation to guarantee a predefined set of outcomes, it was more about using hypnobirthing techniques to overcome challenges and still achieve a positive outcome in calm surroundings. I found that even though we weren’t able to follow most of our birthing preferences, hypnobirthing gave us the knowledge and unity needed to remain calm even though special circumstances arose.