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An hour at the hypnobirthing "taster session" felt like an eternity

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 28 April 2016

Hypnobirthing is apparently a way to make pregnancy less painful and stressful and so the Mrs and I went on a "taster" session with a private company charging an arm and a leg for full courses. I would rather have spent an hour watching paint dry as it was from beinnning to end both excruciatingly awful and also a really unpleasant sales pitch for old rope.

We were one of five couples. I was the only person in the room who has been through this birth process business before and the naivete of the other members of the Bristol middle classes present was jaw dropping. We started in a session where we split into three groups and had to say how many weeks we were, what our names were and what we brought us to the session. Honestly, I relayed that I thought the whole thing was a total con and I was there becuase my Mrs wanted me to be there. Our group spokesperson had to summarise what the 4 folks in our group thought but for some reason omitted my remarks.

This was a session about beng "nice" to everyone. A woman who was 28 weeks and had a face like a horse yacked on about nothing and like the others I applauded as if she had just relayed book two of the Aeneid in its origainal latin from memory.

As the salesperson woman with a whiny voice droned on showing slides which claimed scientific backing for theories about relaxing and showed slides proving points based on very small data samples I found myself dosing off. I awoke to hear that we were going to learn a relaxation technique for when we are about to give birth and were warned that this might cuase us to fall asleep.

Oddly at this point I felt wide awake as I struggled to supress an impulse to laugh as the woman intoned in a nasal drone with the emphasis placed on all the wrong words about how we were to relax. My Mrs was taking this all very seriously so I suppressed my laughter as the woman talked A grade poppycock. At the end she asked if the group all felt refreshed. How could they after six minutes of mumbo jumbo fake hypnotherapy meditation and pretending to fall asleep? But all profressed themselves utterly refreshed, no-one daring to challenge the hypno-emperor to point out that she was wearing her birthday suit.

At that point we had to watch a video of a woman giving birth? Is this a bit sexist but while I cannot wait to see my own wife waddling along to give birth seeing some whale from Essex in the altogether as she sprogs a little chav really is not my scene. My toes were curling.

Finally we were told what the full course would offer other than a chance to part with several hundred quid. Some more breathing techniques. Wow. Like that seems like a bargain. Instructions on things you need to know before the big day like making a Birth Plan? At that point I piped up and said "but the NHS does that with you anyway does it not?". I got a stern look and was told this was not the case. Oddly enough if you go on the internet you will find that I am right and the salesperson wrong. I rather knew that because, uniquely among the 10 would be parents there, I have actually been there before. If I think about it hard enough I could probably do a birth plan from memory.

However, I had by this point lost the will to live so did not argue. The high pressure sales techniques continued. Go with hypnobirthing and you will use fewer drugs on the day we were told. What? You pay these charlatans vast sums so that you get to turn down free drugs? Who would be mad enough to go with that option. Hmmm. Tempted by the hard sell £35 discount if you book within 48 hours of the Taster session it seems that every single couple was in, my Mrs included.

The sales techniques were almost those of the loathsome charlatan Darren Winters. It was hard sell wrapped up in nicey nicey cotton wool. The product remainds me of Winters offering in that early all of what is offered is availlable either from the NHS or on the interweb for sweet FA. But the Mrs is nervous. It makes her happy. And so was I going to kick up fuss? Naturally I did not. that is about my own urgent need for a relaxing life.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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