By Cathy Davis
Co-Owner of Doulas of Fredericksburg/HypnoDoula
One recent Sunday morning I was in church when our worship leader started singing a chorus of Hallelujahs. Instead of merely being moved, I started grinning. In my mind I saw a scene from the movie Shrek. Though not the intention, I had been moved instantly from our beautiful sanctuary to the Ogre Swamp with only words. I could tell by my husband's grin I wasn't alone.
This experience really made me reflect on the importance of the words we choose in everyday life and in this business we are building. Language can convey what we are feeling, but also transport us to places we never intended to be. It is powerful enough to move us from a beautiful church service to an irreverent (and hilarious) movie scene. Its also why I decided to become a HypnoDoula.
As a doula for five years and a mother of nine children, I may have a little experience with childbirth. But when I was approached by a potential client looking for a doula who was using the Hypnobabies method of childbirth, I was interested in learning more. We didn't have any HypnoDoulas in Fredericksburg, and the more I heard the more I wanted to bring this method to the city.
She explained how Hypnobabies uses different terminology than we are used to using in most childbirth circles, and wondered would I be willing to learn the terminology to support her? I said “of course," because I am willing to support my clients however they need me.
Full Disclosure: I was initially a bit skeptical and, well, maybe a bit cynical about the process. Why did it really matter if you call it transition instead of transformation? I hadn’t seen a Hypnobabies birth before, or been to the class. I was certainly willing to learn even though at that point I was very uneducated.
And then I saw the confidence with which women who are trained through Hypnobabies birth. I was very, very impressed with how confident and prepared they felt. It opened my eyes to a new process, and a light bulb went off in my mind. *This* is why they change the terminology in Hypnobabies! Our mind hears words and associates them with other experiences, even if they aren't our own. Language is powerful!
When a woman in labor hears the word "transition", her mind can go to every single story she has heard about transition, every single episode of “Baby Story” she has seen and every negative thing in every book that she has read. It can cause stress, it can cause tension, and it can cause fear. It can take you to a mental place that is not necessarily a good place. Or it can take you to a scene in a movie while you are sitting in church!
I decided to jump in and take the HypnoDoula course, which is offered through Hypnobabies. I am currently in the middle of the curriculum, and its been very interesting! The power of the mind is really pretty amazing. By changing the language I use to discuss birth and assist my clients, I can help set their minds in a more positive place from which to labor.
While we at Doulas at Fredericksburg support anyone’s choice in childbirth methods, I personally feel much more equipped to help out Hypnobabies clients now, and am grateful for this extra "tool" in my "doula bag of tricks" to be able to use with ALL of my clients!