The power of positive thoughts: can your thinking change your birth?

I imagine that some people who hear about Hypnobabies and HypnoBirthing think that we teach that if you want a natural, pain-free birth you can have it, simply by believing your birth will be just like those calm ones you’ve seen on YouTube, kind of like the Law of Attraction a.k.a. “The Secret.”

While I strongly believe in the power of positive thinking, I also stay open to the nuances because if that “law” were literally true all of the time, bad things would never happen to good people, and we know this is just not the case. So here’s how I choose to interpret this instead (and this is also what we teach in Hypnobabies classes):

If you want to achieve a goal, in this case an easier, more comfortable childbirth, you need to spend your time thinking about the ways you can achieve that goal rather than dwelling on what you do not want. If I spend a lot of time thinking about: I do not want x, y, or z, my mind still hears all that “noise” except that it doesn’t pay much attention to the part about “I do not want.” Think of it like this: if you tell kids, “Don’t run!” they aren’t likely to hear you, but if you say, “Walk, please,” they will often slow their pace.

The power of positive thinking and language in birth is so important, but it’s not the whole story. I think it’s the results of the positive thinking which matter most. Thinking about what you do want leads you to take actions steps to be able to get what you want. So within the Hypnobabies course, that often takes the form of the following:

  • Keeping up with your daily Hypnobabies practice sessions
  • Finding a care provider and a birthing facility that will support your wishes
  • Eating healthy foods every day and exercising frequently
  • Listening to your body and resting when you need to
  • Doing what you can to keep negativity away to help minimize your stress levels

Ah ha! Now the idea of the “law of attraction” starts making more sense. Positive thoughts lead to positive behavior, leading to positive results. So if you want to see positive results, think positive thoughts! This certainly does not negate the importance of holding space for all birth stories, even if they didn’t turn out exactly how we’d hoped. But it does help us focus on what we can do to help ease the birth process in both big and small ways. I’ve been so pleased over the years with how well the Hypnobabies course does this for birthing people.

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