I’ve had a few close friends that have had babies, but there is nothing like knowing what mama life is like until you go through it on your own! I can’t say enough that every pregnancy, delivery, postpartum experience, and baby is completely different from anyone else. With all of the information online these days, I was able to do a ton of research to help me plan for my overall journey in becoming a mom. You can research all you want, but there is no way to know everything! Although everyone’s experience is unique, the tribe of mom’s that I know are beyond helpful in sharing their newborns journey and giving judgement-free advice. They say there is no hood like motherhood, and this is an absolute fact!
I am a super type A person, so naturally I wanted to dig deep into learning about my pregnancy and deciding the best preparation for myself. However, I quickly learned it is impossible to absorb everything you need to know and in fact it is quite overwhelming! I chose to focus the majority of my pregnancy on preparing for labor and delivery. I had a few girlfriends share their journey and they focused on hypnobirthing, which concentrates on mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation techniques to thrive during pregnancy and birth.
When I heard about hypnobirthing, I immediately thought of hypnotism and was turned off by it. However, once I learned more about what the practice actually is, I became very intrigued. I get stressed out and worked up pretty easily and knew I could use some dedication in managing that negativity. In December 2020, my husband learned devastating and unfair news about his job that caused both of us to become over the top panicked and concerned about our future and livelihood. I knew this stress was not good for me to carry while pregnant. My body was expending so much energy creating a baby and I did not need to waste the remaining energy. Coincidentally, I was starting to read more about hypnobirthing and realized not only could the techniques help me with pregnancy but also with managing the deep stress in my life.
I was introduced to Anuka Gazara-Anthony, founder of Janu Joyful Services, who focuses on hypnotherapy. In our first conversation, Anuka asked me questions about my life, health, pregnancy, and stress levels. I just started spouting off my feelings to her like a gushing fountain! Her professional guidance allowed me to unleash deep thoughts I had been brewing on and it felt so good to release them from my body. I knew instantly that I wanted to pursue working with her to prepare for my labor and delivery journey.
From there, Drew and I committed to a five-week hypnobirthing program where we met with Anuka virtually for 2 hours each week. The sessions were incredibly entertaining, while powerful and illuminating. Anuka has the most calming demeanor and it was easily conveyed through her teaching, even while online. Our class time went through hypnobirthing techniques such as learning how to breath during each stage of labor, practicing fear release strategies, watching videos of inspiring hypnobirthing labor experiences, shifting your vocabulary for words like contractions and calling them waves or surges, completing meditation practices, how to cope with a natural, intervention-free birth, applying ways for your partner to support you during labor, and creating an overall positive, relaxing environment for your birth.
These classes made me so excited for my birthing day to come. I felt so empowered and encouraged to have the best birthing experience possible because of what I learned from Anuka. She recommended that I listen to her meditation and hypnobirthing tracks several times a week during bedtime. I got to the point where I would listen for about 5-10 minute and drift off to a peaceful sleep (for a few hours because let’s be real the last trimester is super uncomfortable!). I also loved that Drew and I completed these classes together. It was vital for Drew to be on the same page with me about what type of birth I wanted for our baby. I couldn’t believe how hands-on Drew was during the classes and he really delivered during the actual main event! What I learned during these five-week sessions was easily translated and applied during my labor experience, which I will document in another blog, but also in my personal life.
Like I mentioned earlier, Drew had a pretty unexpected change in his job which sparked us to go ahead and officially make the move to North Carolina. In January, a position in North Carolina came available at my company. I was so torn in officially pulling the trigger to apply because I was in LOVE with my job in Texas, it could not have been any more perfect. My management and team were super understanding with my pregnancy and our families desire to work remote, however, I knew in the long term I would need to find a new job when I got back from maternity leave.
In my mind, it was better for me to look for a new position before I went out on leave, versus being worried during my leave on which job I would have. It was an incredibly hard decision, but I decided to go ahead and rip the band aid and apply for this North Carolina position. Thankfully, I went through the interview process and was offered the job! I truly feel that going through the hypnobirthing classes calmed my mind about was going on in my body and the obstacles occurring in our lives at the time. I felt that I was able to release myself from the heavy stress and exude confidence into the universe that whatever was meant to happen for me will happen.
The day before I went into labor (unknowingly), I reached out to Anuka because I was feeling pretty discouraged and uncomfortable. I had gone past my due date and was very ready to meet my baby, and candidly very tired of being pregnant. Anuka sent me several tips on natural labor inducing things to try and we decided it would be best for me to do another session to get my mindset right. We completed an hour long “childbirth induction meditation” session. I laid in bed while she guided me through a meditation. It was so incredibly calming, and I could feel my body relaxing as she was performing this session. I was able to drift in and out of sleep and feel the stress and tension escape my body. The next evening, I went into labor and I truly believe this session was a huge reason for that.
If you are interested in learning more about hypnobirthing and how it can prepare you for a more calming birthing experience, please feel free to reach out to me as I’d love to go deeper into my experience with you. I highly suggest working with a certified professional to prepare you for your labor and delivery experience. If you enjoy mindfulness and relaxation practices, I cannot recommend Anuka and her services enough! Anuka is incredibly flexible and can meet with anyone anywhere. From working with Anuka, I confidently went into the hospital to start my labor journey. I went from three centimeters to ten centimeters in about eight hours, all pain medication free. However, I did have to push for an additional four hours, which I’ll share in another blog more of the details of my labor experience. I labored pretty fast and calmly for a first-time mom and I truly believe what I learned in hypnobirthing enabled me to do so.