A few months ago I was at a party and one of the other mums there was telling me how wonderful the birth of her baby daughter had been. Yeah right, I had thought. Thinking back to my experience, I found it hard to imagine how anyone could find giving birth wonderful. Life changing yes. Momentous. Totally worth it. But wonderful?
Another mum there had also had a similarly positive time with her children and I found myself returning home that evening with a copy of Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan.
The cynic in me sighed wearily at the thought of ploughing through the book but pretty soon I was hooked and with each page turn, I began to feel that maybe, just maybe, I could have a wonderful birth too.
The idea behind hypnobirthing, if you haven't come across it before, is not, as you might imagine, to hypnotise yourself or be hypnotised so you are in a trance-like state during labour. Rather, it is about learning breathing and imagery techniques to keep calm and relaxed. The theory goes, you only feel the pain when you are scared of feeling the pain. While the muscles in the uterus do their work shuffling the baby down and out into the world, any additional tension caused by fear makes all the muscles spasm against each other and this is the pain we feel. I have watched YouTube clips of women giving birth quietly and calmly. Sometimes these mothers are so horizontal in their approach, their midwives are convinced they cannot be in full labour until suddenly a baby appears.
So I have enrolled in a four week course, starting tomorrow with a lovely woman called Rose. I don't know whether it will work or not but it seems to me certainly worth giving a go. What's more I have a commission from an editor to write about my experiences which feels such a positive thing to do because, if it does work, I will be wanting to shout about it from the rooftops. Watch this space.