Blimey, becoming a parent is SUCH an anxious process! HypnoBirthing is about allaying parents’ fears of birth. However, once that is done, they move onto their fears of parenting. And you know what? The issues are the same. HypnoBirthing teaches us to follow our instincts, and enjoy the process, by trusting our evolved bodies. With parenting, likewise, it’s about following our parenting instincts and enjoying the process, by trusting our intuition. I’ll give you an example using a riddle.
Question: “What is the definition of a jumper?”
Answer: “Something your mother tells you to take off when SHE is hot”.
I’ve always chuckled at this, which my father used to say – because it’s true!. The point is, a good mother is alert to when baby might get hot, and she is following her intuition, and deciding when to remove jumper from baby or toddler. She uses information she has to hand, intuitively. So I was a little taken aback today when a couple asked me whether they should be worried because their thermometer is reading a room temperature of 22 degrees centrigrade. They are considering buying another thermometer because they aren’t sure they can trust this one. The question was, what should they do if the room is too hot? Well, these are highly intelligent, conscientious, caring people. Yet they ask what I thought was a dumb question. I couldn’t help but answer “remove some blankets?” And add “what do people do in India?”
Of course, the couple aren’t dumb. But what has happened is that their confidence and intuition has been eroded by too much information, from books and magazines. The “machine that goes ping!” (Monty Python) takes precedence over human judgment and sensitivities. This is incredibly undermining, and teaches that a woman can’t trust her instincts to keep her baby safe, but that she needs machines and teaching to help her do a proper job. Further more, the “teaching” is anxiety provoking, because of the message it imparts. (It’s the same with childbirth).
They aren’t alone. I’m not dumb either, but I did the same. I learned this lesson to my (baby’s) cost with my first born. 10 years ago, we weren’t being told to put thermometers in rooms, but we were “warned” of the dangers of babies overheating. So, I diligently made sure my baby didn’t get too hot, by feeling the back of his neck (not his hands, as outlined in all the current literature). If his neck felt warm, he was warm. I kept on and on testing, anxiously feeling his neck. I couldn’t quite believe that he was warm enough. I talked to a colleague about it, who said “kids can sleep in all kinds of cold weather. My baby would sleep through when there was ice on the windows”. So I thought, I mustn’t worry. He’s fine. But it turns out, my intuition was right (the part of me that was anxiously checking). He was cold, and that is why he was waking repeatedly in the night. I followed the “experts” and my “logic” and in doing so, I didn’t follow my intuition. Me and my baby lost much sleep over it!
During the process of being given “advice” and buying machines to help us, we lose sight of the process of parenting, and we lose sight of what our intuition is telling us. The 3 hour parenting class which I offer as an adjunct to the HypnoBirthing helps couples get the trust and enjoyment back by releasing the anxiety. My couple can worry about the thermometer, they can continue to take readings, buy a new and better one. But in doing so, they forget to look at baby and follow their intuition. I trust their intuition way more than the blooming thermometer. I just wish I’d trusted my intuition too all those years ago.