Birth is often approached as a medical event, but Amy Rickard believes it should be seen more as a life experience focused on a family. That is just part of her philosophy in her HypnoBirthing classes.
HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method, is a childbirth education class that focuses on visualization and self-hypnosis as keys to having a calmer, gentler birth.
Rickard, owner of Beloved Birth Doula Services, used HypnoBirthing for her own pregnancy in 2009. She later worked with clients who used the same method and knew she wanted to pursue a certification to teach it.
The timing finally worked out and she began her classes earlier this year. She said her classes provide tools for the entire family to prepare for the birth of a new baby.
“It’s a toolkit to pull out what you need, when you need it,” Rickard said.
A common misconception about HypnoBirthing is that it promises a pain-free birth. Rickard knows it’s more about finding relief through relaxation, and learning to trust your birthing instincts.
“It’s about not fighting the pain and allowing your body to just do the work,” she said. “It doesn’t promise a pain-free birth- just a calmer, gentler experience.”
Classes come with homework for mom and dad. There are exercises for parents to do together, daily affirmations, and meditation CD’s. Rickard said one father in her class drove long distances for work and was often frustrated by traffic. He used his HypnoBirthing CD’s in the car and found he was much calmer at the end of his trips.
Expectant parents may see a 5-week long class with homework as a big commitment, but Rickard said the HypnoBirthing curriculum is designed for even busy families. The CD’s can be listened to in the car, in the shower, or even while falling asleep for the night.
“Everyone is a good candidate, because everyone goes to sleep,” she said. “It’s meant to be user friendly for modern families.”
The term “hypnosis” may frighten some people, but Rickard said it’s not the type of hypnosis you would see on a Las Vegas stage.
“No one can make you do something you don’t want to do. It’s not stage hypnosis,” she said. “It’s not about being in a deep hypnosis state the whole time, or laying in the bed or being silent. You can move, make noise, just staying limp and loose and letting your body do what it needs to do.
Rickard teaches the sessions in her home and keeps class sizes small so she can provide individual attention. She recommends couples complete the course by 34 weeks gestation, but it’s not a requirement.
Rickard wants moms to realize that the media portrayal of birth is not reality. The screaming and crying shown in movies is not the only way to experience birth. She wants her classes to help moms let go of “FTP”- Fear, Tension and Pain, which she noted also stands for Failure To Progress in the hospital.
“If you can breathe and relax, you can birth,” she said. “That’s what this class teaches, the philosophy about birth that it is a normal process.”
The next class session begins January 23. Learn more at www.belovedbirthdoula.com.