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    Having a baby on cloud nine; Mom is a fan of unique approach


    Bridget Watoriek caught herself snoring between contraction during the birth of her son, Connor.

    he Blenheim resident gave birth on Jan. 14 using a deep relaxation method called, HypnoBirthing, developed by U.S. award-winning hypnotherapist, Marie Mongan.

    "It's like you are on cloud nine," said Watoriek. "Through each contraction I could feel this pressure and when the contraction stopped, I felt normal."

    Sherrie Williams, a certified HypnoBirthing practitioner, worked with Watoriek for five weeks to teach her the relaxation and breathing methods and to discuss birthing process.

    "I find with HypnoBirthing, everything is positive about it. You are able to relax your body in a way that it remains relaxed through the whole experience," said Williams.

    In addition to learning the relaxation methods, expectant mothers also repeat affirmations that help to envision the birthing process from a painful experience to a natural, relaxed motion, she said.

    "You change your thinking from pain to (feelings of) pressure and intensity," she said. "It teaches you to look forward to every contraction."

    For example, Watoriek would repeat: "I see my baby moving smoothly through my birth canal" and "My body is made to birth," to help prepare her mind for the upcoming labour. Williams said many pregnant mothers envision themselves screaming and pushing during the birth, which makes it a tense and painful experience. "In society we are taught to fear birth," she said.

    HypnoBirthing also encourages the involvement of the father or birth partner, she said. Watoriek's husband, Alex, participated in the HypnoBirthing sessions. Alex admitted he was skeptical about whether the relaxation methods Williams had taught them would actually affect what would happen once they reached the hospital. "Bridget was sleeping through most of it," he said. "I was expecting her to scream and squeeze my hand, but she didn't." Williams said the HypnoBirthing process is not intended to replace doctor's instructions or any medical procedures. However, Watoriek claims most of her pain was eliminated using the breathing and relaxation methods and she didn't have an epidural. Lisa Uher, owner of Mother Nurture Childbirth Support Services and a doula, said there isn't a risk involved with practicing the HypnoBirthing process and is just another tool to use during labour. "There is a lot of philosophy around this mind over pain," she said. "In labour there is a fear, tension, pain cycle. It really builds confidence in the mother." Uher, who teaches child birth classes, said she is getting certified and will soon be teaching HypnoBirthing. Williams believes in the process, after having her first child using the methods and is currently preparing for the birth of her second child. "I wouldn't do it any other way," she said. Williams charges $275 for five HypnoBirthing sessions, which can be held in the client's home or in a studio in Blenheim, and Mongan's book and a compact disc.

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