THOSE HUMAN BEGINNINGS
Throughout our lives, we experience many endings – the death of a loved family member, friend, pet; a divorce; leaving a job; finishing school, university. But these have all had beginnings which in some cases we haven’t taken particular notice of. Maybe we happen to meet someone – somewhere unremembered - and they gradually go on to be a really good friend. But, other beginnings have a big impact on us, and I guess particularly impactful is the birth of a baby. A beginning with an impact that lasts a lifetime.
People often ask what led me to become a hypnobirthing practitioner. I guess the main reason has to be that I am a great believer that there HAS to be a better way of birthing than is so often shown on OBEM (One Born Every Minute). I was also influenced by giving birth myself. I felt that both births were sort of taken over with things ‘being done unto me’. This remembering has led me to recalling the incidents involved, many of which were amusing, so, as am writing whilst feeling grotty and need this to be something light …..
WAY BACK WHEN ...
I was the wife of an RAF pilot, so moving around was very much part of our life, therefore of my pregnancies too. We were delighted to have our first posting as Cyprus – wow – especially for someone who had only been out of the UK once before. As you do, we drove to Cyprus – well, to Piraeus and got on a boat from there. It was a belated honeymoon which saw us share a double bed on the first night, then at each stop, we moved further apart until on the boat we were in male/female cabins – all in the name of affordability. We were broke! The females in my cabin included two midwives from RAF Episkopi (Cyprus) who assured me that I would be going home pregnant. They were right.
The picture shows me on the beach on Christmas Day 1972 and three months pregnant. In fact, this is one of only three pictures of me during the whole 9 months of baby growing. I loved Cyprus, but pregnancy wasn’t easy for me as I had what is now recognised as hyperemesis gravidarum. In other words, I threw up a heck of a lot for the whole of my pregnancy. When I wasn’t actually throwing up, I simply felt nauseous. Preparing food for my non-cooking husband became quite an art form! I struggled to eat many foods and on bad days could only manage yoghurt – and this carried on for the whole 9 months. How wonderful the good days felt ... and I couldn’t face yoghurt for years afterwards.
I was still thrilled to be pregnant. However, I found the antenatal appointments something that had to be endured. With being a service wife, I was simply a number, my husband’s service number along with wife of Flt Lt... and never just me... or me and my bump, me and my baby. Boy, did that ever bug me.
It turned out that my (very much estimated) due date was on our tour-ex date ie when we were due to leave Cyprus. Bad timing which meant that I had to be shipped (or rather flown) home early. This had to take place before the third trimester as we weren’t allowed to fly after that.
I, a large bump and three huge cases arrived at Brize Norton. We were taken to Swindon Station by RAF transport, then I was on my own. No problem, except that the station was being re-vamped. There were no trollies and suitcases didn’t come with wheels then. I had to negotiate my way to what I am sure was the furthest platform. Great. The only way that this could be achieved was to shuffle one case a short distance, go back and repeat with case two, then case three. I was already exhausted from the flight and feeling nauseous, so you can imagine my delight when a lady stopped me, firmly sat me on one of the cases and took over the process for me. Not one of the passing men had offered to help. Maybe they thought I may give birth there and then so they hurried by as quickly as they coud.
We had been allocated a Married Quarter as my husband was on exercises that involved him spending the next few weeks between Cyprus and Lincolnshire. RAF Swinderby had empty houses, so there we were sent. Of course, I, as a mere wife, was not allowed to move into the house, it had to be my husband, so I had to await his arrival in the UK before this took place.
We had to buy an old banger for me to get around. It went. Not very quickly or smoothly, and the road could be glimpsed through gaps in the carpet, but it went. Of course, we are very much pre MOT days!
I had to attend the Military Hospital at Nocton Hall for my appointments and here began the indecision about my due dates – when I saw one person, I was told June, another reckoned August – long story short, I had a hospital bag in the car boot from June and they decided to induce me at the beginning of July.
NEXT STEP –
Nocton Hall was a lovely place, but funny how I went off it when four of us arrived for inducement, were given enemas (as happened back then) and pointed in the direction of the toilet. Note the lack of an ‘s’ on that word! Shall we say, the four of us got to know each other quite well, very quickly! I hated the inducement – I had no control as they turned up my drip, then down, then back up again. At a time that turned out to be about forty-five minutes before my son was born, I was tucked in to my bed. I told them I really didn’t want to be tucked in, but was assured that I had to be a matron was coming round on her inspection! I let them do it, then yanked out the sheets as they left the room.
I was shuffled through to the delivery room –and then I began giggling. Not because of the gas and air, but because every time I grabbed it, the mouth piece flew off and my husband had to try to catch it, or dive under the bed to retrieve it!
OK, on reflection, it was quite funny but not the beginning I had envisaged for my baby. Maybe this beginning led me to a beginning many years later and my decision to become a hypnobirthing practitioner.
WHAT GOES ROUND COMES ROUND
If you experience a beginning in a negative way, it can influence other similar beginnings throughout your life. How this happens depends on your character. You could convince yourself that it will be so again – that good old self-fulfilling prophesy steps up to the mark. Or you could tell yourself that you made a mess of something, things didn’t go as you wanted or hoped so you’re not even going to try going down that road again. Or you can learn from your past experience in a positive way – stick two fingers up to said past and have another go...
Giving yourself positive messages helps with this. I did this with pregnancy and birth number two – so in fact using some of the techniques I was to share with mums on my courses. We were in a different location and the sickness didn’t happen this time.. thank goodness as that would have been even harder with an active toddler and two house moves involved. OK, I did have to resist telling the doctor who popped in to check on me where to go. He was obviously wanting to get home, so his visit was cursory and when I told him that I wanted to push – he turned to my husband, assuring HIM that I didn’t. Suffice it to say – I DID.
It’s good to allow yourself to ask for help – as I did as the doctor beat his retreat! Wiping the slate clean and approaching the beginning without a lurking sense of failure. Rather with a sense of you deserving to be in receipt of support no matter what form this takes. Maybe you simply do a YouTube search, or you actually phone a friend for advice or the support of their presence and a helping hand. I wonder are you first in the queue to offer support, but last to ask for it?
Showing self-compassion, self-cherishing rather than the cussedness of ‘I can do it’ that I admit to finding difficult to shake off – even if I know that asking for help would be a really positive step.
GIVING UP ON BEGINNINGS
It’s that time of year when many will already be giving up on the resolutions set not many days ago. Don’t beat yourself up – just dust yourself off and start over on a more realistic target using those baby steps towards your ultimate goal. Maybe build in some stepping stones. Stepping stones that may lead to a branching path rather than the straight one originally imagined. You may feel that you are in reverse gear at times, but that is OK. You may have to include this in order to learn something new, revisit a long set aside skill before you move on from a new starting point. New starting points are always a good excuse to build in some kind of a reward – so more than OK!
Having started, made that beginning, you may decide to abandon ship on this particular track. Don’t beat yourself up and label this a failure. Rather put on a positive spin for it to be something that you have learned you don’t want to become more skilled with, achieve with, spend time getting more deeply involved with. You have still learnt – and who knows you may make a new beginning with what you have just abandoned in months, years to come when you may feel differently and have the finances, time, skill set to move beyond the beginning baby steps.
For other beginnings made, you have probably invested a lot of yourself, so feel that you have to keep on going until you reach a finishing point. Maybe a relationship or a job that you have started which is making you far from happy, taking up too much of your time. Down to considering what you can do – either to move on, or to adapt your feelings towards the situation. Unfortunately, when considering a job, we are not all in the position to take up Prince Harry’s suggestion that if not you aren’t happy in your job – leave! Bless.
It’s all part of that cycle of life. Of your way of life with its many interwoven beginnings, middles, and endings, with the abandoned bits thrown in to further complicate the picture. It’s amazing that more of us don’t constantly get into major knots or become bewilderingly lost in the mazes of our making. It says a lot for human resilience that we work to untangle ourselves if we do.
And don’t forget that each new day gives us a new beginning – time for holding your head high, putting your shoulders back and giving it your best shot!
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