How do you prepare for a counterculture birth? Is there a difference? I’ll tell you my experience as we approach the big day.
Transcript follows for those that prefer to read:
Relaxation. Prenatal Yoga. Hypnobirthing. Here’s how I used these three things to prepare for my first baby and transform myself in the process.
Step 1 - Relaxation. When I first found out I was pregnant, I had literally just turned in my 2-weeks-notice to my job and was uprooting my family to move to San Francisco to take a challenging new position at a startup. Not an optimal way to start a pregnancy. As my pregnancy progressed, my family and I felt a strong distaste for the fast-paced city life. We knew that we needed to make a change and decided to re-simplify our lives. This meant moving (again) to a better place to birth our new baby, which would not require both my hubby and I to work two full-time jobs!
We did it. We bought our first home in the San Bernadino mountains of California. This move allowed me to move from a constantly frenzied state of mind to a more calming one. I began to relax and feel the shift of motherhood.
Step 2 - Prenatal Yoga. Prior to getting pregnant, I was one of those girls who pretty much stuck to female bodybuilding exercises and a bit of cardio…I kinda’ chuckled when I peered in at the yoga classes. After our move to the mountains, I began doing yoga 5x/week at about 27-weeks-pregnant, and it transformed my outlook on pregnancy. I learned the art of getting in tune with my body and breath. I learned how to quiet my mind. I learned how to embrace my ever-growing pregnant body.
Instead of focusing on clenching up and getting tighter muscles, like bodybuilding, I was opening up and making more room for the baby. I moved from rigidity to flexibility. Quite a shift. This practice led me to hypnobirthing.
Step 3 - Hypnobirthing. Sounds a bit on the woo-woo side, doesn’t it? When I came across hypnobirthing for the first time during my pregnancy, I thought, “OMG! Who in their right mind would try that?!” But, after reading Hypnobirthing, The Mongan Method, I’ve been practicing my hypnobirthing techniques for about 12 weeks prior to my due date.
What is hypnobirthing? I would describe it as a way to peacefully, mindfully bring your baby into the world using a variety of breathing techniques, meditation and calming music. Instead of viewing the birthing process as labor, pain, contractions and pushing…a hypnobirthing mom views birth as opening up, feeling pressure, having surges and breathing the baby down. This resonated with me. It all made sense.
So, here I am about to give birth. I made a lot of countercultural choices that Mainstreamers would consider ludicrous.
- Leaving a great career in SF, so I can actually rear my own baby.
- Swapping out my regular fitness routine for prenatal yoga practice.
- Choosing hypnobirthing methods instead of relying on fear-based pain management meds in the hospital.
Yeah. I’m a counterculture girl, and I’m proud of it!
Have you ever made a series of countercultural choices that seemed a little “woo-woo” to well-meaning Mainstreamers? I’d love to hear about your journey!