9 Ways Anxiety makes you Better at Hypnobirthing

Steph McGee

I’m a Trauma Informed Clinical Hypnotherapist on a mission to help. Hypnosis feels like a magic wand. But in truth? The real magic is you.

I teach Hypnobirthing and I specialise in working with people who are anxious, scared or traumatised. And people who are worried about pain.

I’M REALLY GOOD WITH PAIN

And I’d like the world to stop beating you down for having fear.

Fear isn’t a barrier to good birth. And when you are really good at something (in this case fear) you can use it to your advantage.

So I hope this blog inspires you!

Anxiety is a Superpower

She’s a anxious girl wrote my Dad. And he was right.

But he was right because that was all I had ever been told about myself. Or more to the point?

It was all I had ever listened to about myself.

To begin with…

Because anxiety didn’t hold me back. Sure it threw me curve balls. But when you grow up an ‘anxious child’.

You’ve gotta turn fear into a super power.

So I faced my fears. And I did it anyway.

 

Here’s a (slightly random) example:

I was scared of answering the phone. It wasn’t a phobia. I just had a feeling of dread. As if it was always going to be bad news. So what did I do? I became a 999 call handler. Those calls are always bad (capital B). And trained to handle all that B.A.D? That feeling of dread VANISHED. And I never worried about answering my own phone again!

And pregnant?

I did Hypnobirthing of course!

Worried about the head coming out and ready to do anything to avoid an epidural. I changed the way I felt.

I learnt to still my mind, switch off pain and focus my energy to have an efficient birth.

WITH HYPNOSIS

Because while you can walk away from the birth scare mongering and the stupid people who think birth horror stories help?!?

You can’t walk away from YOU

So the way you talk to yourself matters.

And the way you feel about yourself matters.

 

So if you are suffering with anxiety? Worried that your anxiety will inhibit labour? That your anxiety will make birth worse?

Knowing that anxiety can make you BETTER at hypnobirthing better will help.

Start using your anxiety like the super power it is!

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Does anxiety make Hypnobirthing harder?

Hypnobirthing teaches you that “a calm mind means a calm body means a calm birth”

FAB. Said not a single anxious person EVER.

And worse still…

Fear leads to tension leads to pain. So the aim in hypnobirthing is to loose the fear to loose the pain.

Fear in hypnobirthing is bad (capital B).

So if you are struggling with anxiety?

This nugget of information could make your anxiety worse!

But here’s the thing.

hypnobirthing oxford woman having a water birth at the spires maternity unit oxford

Anxious people have good births all the time!

You read that right.

I’m here for the birth anxious and the birth scared. The people who are worried about pain, worried about tearing or are worrying that their worrying will make their birth worse!

If you’re not worrying about anything (not even a bit?) I’d be worried too!

I’m your cheer leader, your power ranger, your sat nav.

And my clients have good births all the time!

Anxiety is not a barrier to good birth. It never has been. Unless you let it.

 

dark haired pregnant woman wearing white sports gear sitting in a corn field relaxing

How can I calm my anxiety before giving birth?

While most Hypnobirthing will tell you to squash the anxiety and banish the fear.

Acceptance is a helpful first step.

The subconscious mind helps. Thats what it does.

So if your subconscious has decided that over thinking, over analysing or worrying about birth is good?

Forcing it to stop will make it work harder!

 

So below are 9 ways anxiety makes you better at Hypnobirthing.

Because if Hypnobirthing reframes how you feel about birth?

Let’s start by reframing how you feel about you.

AND USE THE SUPERPOWERS IN YOU

9 Ways Anxiety makes you better at Hypnobirthing

1. Anxiety makes you MOVE

Babe. Give yourself some CREDIT.

Do you know how many people DON’T do hypnobirthing? How many people don’t prepare for birth?

BUT YOU DO

Even if this is the first thing you’ve read about hypnobirthing? (and I doubt that it is)

You are better prepared than 90% of other pregnant people.

So the fact that you are moving. Doing. Getting ANY hypnobirthing done.

You’re better off than putting your head in the sand.

And all hypnobirthing is good hypnobirthing. So even if you’ve just started and you’re just one hypnobirthing anchor in?

Remind yourself how much you DO KNOW rather than what you DON’T.

2. Anxiety means you do your Hypnobirthing practice

Be honest. Not doing your Hypnobirthing practice feels like hell. 

WORRY AND PROCRASTINATION MAKE IT WORSE.

But that horrible feeling motivates you to either move:

  1. Away from the pain (of fear and anxiety)
  2. Towards the pleasure (of less fear and anxiety)

So like a heat seeking missile. YOU HUNT DOWN ANYTHING THAT HELPS

Adrenalin is a rocket fuel that makes you move!

So any hypnobirthing practice feels good.

Whether you procrastinate a bit at first? Squashing down that voice that says“I can’t practice hypnobirthing until I know how to do it right” . Making a start with something as simple as breath helps.

You’ve done it before. You know the pattern. Getting your hypnobirthing timetable together and getting your hypnobirthing practice done feels good!

3. Anxiety makes you write lists

Sequencing reduces pain. YES you read that right. Like no hypnobirthing course taught you that EVER?!

Really – they DON’T teach this and it drives me nuts! 

But this is the kind of honey-jam secret sauce my Autonomous Hypnobirthing courses are filled with.

Sequencing reduces mental and physical pain. So if you’re a list builder, a note taker, an over planner or over thinker. Consider it a GIFT. 

Doing anything in an organised and methodical way reduces fear, stress and PHYSICAL PAIN.

How?

The amygdala can’t sequence. So when you sequence the amygdala can’t activate. Bye bye fear. Bye bye fight/flight/freeze response. BYE BYE PAIN.

And we cover this in loads more detail in Autonomous Hypnobirthing. Because it’s too good not to know! 

4.  Anxious people think more

You think about birth going wrong. Thinking of all the medical interventions and risks. Maybe you’re stuck on the problem of perfect birth vs natural birth?  Maybe you’ve been worrying about pain relief? Maybe your terrified of tearing or forceps, epidurals or c-section?

Use that questioning mind to think about the good stuff too.

Consider what WILL help. What will make you more comfortable. There’s no winging it for you.

Use that curiosity you already have to think about water births and positive birth. Think about calm births and unmedicated birth. Positive epidurals and hypnobirthing for cesarean birth.

Research your breathing techniques and gem up on your hypnobirthing techniques.

Get your good stuff together. Keep it simple. Or geek yourself out.

But use that amazing ability you have to think. And think about the good stuff.

 

5. Anxiety makes you creative

Ok. Maybe a bit of a stretch. And not actually true because creativity . But here’s the thing. My anxious clients demonstrate this time after time:

You can turn anxiety on its head – BECAUSE YOU ARE YOU.

Creativity lives in your long wave Alpha and Theta brain waves. It’s where positivity and solutions live too.

But anxiety keeps you stuck in your shorter Beta brain waves. BUSY BETA. Which says it all!

And when you’ve been running your brain at 100mph for way too long?

YOU BRAIN IS GLAD TO SWITCH LANES.

It has more scope when it goes there.

It’s like your brain is begging for permission. When you find yourself a good quality hypnobirthing method and harness the power you already have?

Everything changes…

And wow does Hypnobirthing make sense to you.

 

6. Anxious people ask Why?

Anxious parents rarely sit on their laurels and fret (for long). They talk to their friends. Dive into google. Pick up the phone and fire me email after email.

This is what I love about you most!

I call you the WHY KIDS.

You speak up. You ask if something is possible and if not, why not? You ask how things can be done your way or a better way. In a way that makes you feel less anxious!

You ask how things works and how it can work for you.

And wow do you do your Hypnobirthing research!

Anxious in pregnancy. You spend time looking for the right hypnobirthing course, the right hypnobirthing teacher and the right place to invest your hypnobirthing budget.

And if you ask me lots of questions? I can relax.

Because I know you’ll ask your midwife questions too!

7. Anxiety makes you smarter

I’ve never met a brainiac yet who isn’t a bit anxious. Anxious people think more.

And this one is about fluffing our feathers rather than good broad science.

But a little study in 2012 based on just 26 people suffering with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and 18 people without concluded after comparing with other studies and taking candidates through various assessments that both high and low anxiety predicated high IQ and that “intelligence may have co-evolved with worry in humans”.

Coplan JD, Hodulik S, Mathew SJ, Mao X, Hof PR, Gorman JM, Shungu DC. The Relationship between Intelligence and Anxiety: An Association with Subcortical White Matter Metabolism. Front Evol Neurosci. 2012 Feb 1;3:8. doi: 10.3389/fnevo.2011.00008. PMID: 22347183; PMCID: PMC3269637.

 

8. Fear makes you more resilient

You’ve got tools babe.

And you know how fear rolls. 

You know how to sooth your fears. And turn down your stress. You know when to listen to fear. When to ignore it. And when to box it in.

You know how you’ve managed in the past and what works for you. You know your hacks.

So write a list of the things that help. The things that have helped in the past. And the things that might help you now.

The things that will help you during birth.

Self awareness is a slice of heaven.

So be pleased that you know who you are.

Be proud of how much you DO know about yourself.

And be smug that you know so much.

9. Gratitude gives you Happy Hormones

Bugaboo or no.

The best things in life aren’t made from plastic or precious jewels.

And with a busy mind you feel those good moments more.

You notice them more.

So you save the good stuff you learn. And signpost your friends.

You are the ones who pass the love on

So when you have a good birth

EVERONE WINS

Because you tell the good birth stories & share the best tips. You are the ones who put the happy in birth. And put the happy in your Hypnobirthing teacher too.

You make calm Oxytocin as you do it.

And happy Serotonin too.

So from me back to you.

THANK YOU.

Conclusion

Whatever your doubts. Whatever your fears. One thing is certain.

You will birth your baby.

So now you know how wonderful you are. Get your Hypnobirthing boots ON and and get going!

If you are just starting out or teaching yourself?

I recommend starting here:

What do I need to practice for Hypnobirthing?

Feeling inspired?

Let me know or comment below!

Steph x

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Clinical Therapy

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