The only way we can undo the mass psychosis about childbirth in North America is to invent new language and new images. Midwives must make a conscious and disciplined effort to become “speech magicians.”
I train my clients to ask for what they WANT rather than what they DON’T want. For example, the client doesn’t want an episiotomy = the client wants an intact perineum. Or a client says “I don’t want my baby taken away from me! = the client says “I want my baby ‘Velcroed’ to my skin from the moment he/she is born.” All my notes in my chart are what the client WANTS, not the “Don’t” instructions. This way, I am constantly picturing the image of what is wanted and so are my assistants. When everyone is picturing “Baby Velcroed to skin” then it happens. This technique is particularly effective at hospital births.
Another good way to create what you want with doctors is by using “indirect” hypnosis. For example, the doctor is starting to fidget as the baby’s head distends the perineum.
He reaches for the scissors and you know he’s getting ready to do an episiotomy. So you speak to your client, not to him, by saying something like “Linda, you are stretching beautifully; there’s lots of space for your baby to come through. Everything is healthy and normal — there’s lots of room to stretch even wider. Breathe some oxygen down to your muscles.” Everything you are saying to your client is really intended to chill out the doctor. Speaking to him directly is less effective (it makes him more resistant to your message) than speaking obliquely to him through your words to the mother. Once the doctor starts taking deep oxygenated breaths down to his muscles, you’ll see him put down the scissors.
You’ll notice that Dr. Odent does word magic, too. He talks about the “fetus ejection reflex” and the “ancient reptilian brain.” I don’t think anyone has ever located these things in the physical universe, but they are most useful concepts and ways of languaging that lead to better births for women and help undo some of the fear-based pseudo science that passes for obstetrics.
first published in Midwifery Today E News June 12, 2002
Volume 4, Issue 24