Posts Tagged ‘Mia Scotland’

If you don’t pee in front of your partner, think twice about having him at the birth of your baby.

July 21, 2016

 

We are on a girlie week-end, climbing hills in the Derbyshire dales, and staying in a bed and breakfast. We are all escaping motherhood for a day or two. Over breakfast one morning, a conversation begins about peeing in the company of our husbands. I am surprised to hear a few women say they have never had a pee with their husband in the room. It turns out they have never broken wind in front of him either. I kind of think this is an awesome feat of bodily control that I wouldn’t be able to achieve!  It reminded me of how different we all are.

But it got me thinking, that if you feel embarrassed to go to the loo with your partner in the room, what must it be like to try to have a baby with him in the room? Having a baby is not particularly alluring, it involve body parts, it involves smells and noises, it is not “lady like” particularly, or “sexy”.

I have been thinking these things for a while, but not had the courage to write them down. There is something, even in our modern day liberated lives, that is not okay about writing about women’s bodies as functional rather than objects of desire. So, as you read this, notice any discomfort you might feel, and ask yourself “why is it not okay to read about my body in this way?”

Dbirth stool labouro you pee in front of your husband? Do you change your sanitary wear in front of him? Do you break wind in his presence? Do you orgasm freely and loudly with him? If so, birthing in front of him might be easier. Because birthing is about your body parts, and it is about things coming out of your body, and it is about letting your body be released from your mental inhibitions.

To orgasm freely, we need to feel uninhibited. We need to feel that we are not being judged or watched, to not feel self-conscious. Birth is the same. I’m not talking about orgasmic, hippy dippy births (yes, orgasmic births actually exist). I’m talking about all births without drugs, or knives. Because your body needs the hormone “oxytocin” to birth without a drug or a knife, and oxytocin disappears if we feel judged, self-conscious or worried.

So, it stands to reason that if you get very self-conscious at the thought of your partner seeing you being anything other than sexy and alluring, you might struggle with his presence at the birth. You might not want him to see you grunting or sweating. You might not want him to see you breaking wind, weeing, or even letting out a little poo. Having some-one in the room, who makes you feel anxious or inhibited is not good for birth. So think very carefully about your partner’s presence, and if you’re not sure, then  my advice is to address it, discuss it, think about it, as part of your birth preparation. Sophie Fletcher, in her book  Mindful Hypnobirthing, is one of the few birthing books to even talk about the fact that he doesn’t have to be there. It is a choice. If you know that you do want him there, prepare for that. The Mindful Mamma classes spend a lot of time of partners’ role. Learn how he can help you to elicit and release your oxytocin via his connection and love. Mark Harris talks about this in his book “Men, Love and Birth”. Ina May Gaskin maintains that the kissing that got baby in there, can get baby out too 🙂 Michel Odent argues that men’s presence in the birthing room might account for the rise in intervention. There’s no right and wrong. As I said at the beginning, we are all so different. But if you’re preparing for your birth, don’t prepare without addressing what it’ll be like for you to have him there, and what role he is going to play.

Mia Scotland

Birth Doula and Mindful Mamma hypnobirthing practitioner

http://www.yourbirthright.co.uk

What actually happens during a therapy session?

May 12, 2016

MiaI’m excited about this referral because the money has been arranged by a health insurance company, so neither of us need worry about money. They have released money for 6 therapy session. She enters my room. I have no idea what I am going to hear, or what I am going to do. I begin in the same way that I always begin. I hear her story and watch her and help her feel comfortable in my presence. She is wringing her hands. She sits bolt upright. She is tense. I digest her story, process it, try to make sense of it, quickly enough to be able to feed back in that one session what I think might help her. As I listen, I mentally pick out her strengths, they will come in handy at some point (a technique from positive psychology and hypnosis). I teach her some calming and relaxation techniques, after helping her to understand why this is so important to do (when we are stressed, our thinking changes – it becomes narrower, more judgmental, more skewed, less rational, and things just seem much worse than they are. This is a change that is real, and has been demonstrated on brain scans). We record a relaxation session on her phone, tailored just for her. She told me she never relaxes, but in that five minutes, she did. She takes away the recording to listen to regularly (this activates the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering a calming response, helping her to think more clearly and calmly).

She comes in again the following week. She tells me that she has a major challenge on that week-end, so can we please help her cope with that. We do some cognitive work (challenging her negative beliefs about the stressful situation). We do some reframing (helping her to think of it differently). We do some behavioural strategy work (helping her to develop alternatives) and then we do some imaginary rehearsal (or rather, hypnosis, to get her to imagine herself actually acting out the coping behaviours. The brain needs to visualise to realise. Just talking isn’t enough).

We do some role play to cement the new cognitions (I give voice to the scary thoughts, and she answers them with the new ways of thinking). This bit is quite fun, and it gives me a really good idea of whether the work we have done so far has been understood by her. It has.

I then finish off the session with an NLP/hypnotic technique (neuro-linguistic programming technique) to cement at a deep level, the new behaviours. It’s called the Swish pattern technique, and I use it quite a lot. I can see in her face that it has worked supremely well (because she looks confused as she tries to bring up the old image of her previously anxious self. Her brain can no longer access it).

The next session, she comes in smiling. She relaxes onto my sofa. She tells me she is feeling good. She tells me she had a good week-end. It all went fine. It’s not that she coped with, or managed her anxiety, it’s that it wasn’t there in the first place. She tells me that it just didn’t really figure in any way. She doesn’t really know how it changed. I tell her that we had “reset the system” back to her old, relaxed happy self (that was the strengths that I had picked up on in the first session) but I don’t think she understands. This happens a lot. People get better, but they don’t know why or how. I do, but I don’t bother trying to explain it, as that would somehow take the magic out of it.

So, there’s no need to arrange a further session. She will call me if she gets any symptoms back again, and we will hypnotically release the past traumas that trigger her anxiety (using the Rewind technique). But we won’t do that now, because she chooses to just enjoy life and get on with it again (I did give her the choice).

So, the planned 6 sessions became 3. This happens all the time. Because when I introduced hypnosis and NLP into my cognitive behavioural model of working, change began to happen super-fast. And super easily. The adage “no pain no gain” is simply not true.  This super speed may not be good for my income ( I lost out on three sessions worth of pay), but it’s great for my work satisfaction.

Mia Scotland, Clinical Psychologist

www.miasscotland.co.uk 

 

“I’m scared I’m going to harm my baby…”

April 28, 2016

mia brochure photoWhat do you say when you hear the words “I’m terrified that I’m going to harm my baby”

Those words are ones that would be hard to say if you’re a mother. But if you’re a professional, be it a midwife, a health visitor, a doula or a counsellor, they can be hard to hear too. Those words represent an ultimate taboo.  A mother wanting to harm her own baby…..

But just wait a minute. If you are very astute, you will have spotted my deliberate error there. Can you see it? They are not the same thing. “I’m terrified I’m going to harm my baby” is not the same as “I want to harm my baby”.

If you hear a mother say “I’m terrified I’m going to harm my baby” the chances are she is suffering from an anxiety disorder, and she is not a danger to her baby. She is about as dangerous as some-one with fear of heights, who stands near(ish) a cliff and says “I’m terrified I’m going to jump off”.  You wouldn’t call the crisis team in this instance would you? Instead, you might say “no you’re not, you’re just scared”. It’s the same with mothers. If a mother is anxious (and especially if she is suffering from perinatal or maternal Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) then she might talk about suffocating her baby, but she can be reassured that she isn’t mad or bad, she is scared.  And of course, if you make the mistake of reacting like she is mad or bad, and call the crisis team, you certainly aren’t going to ease her anxiety!

To find out more about perinatal mental health problems, come to my workshop for birthing professionals on Friday 10th June 2016. For details, click here 

Mia Scotland, Author of “Why Perinatal Depression Matters” and Perinatal Clinical Psychologist.

Why did Kate Middleton Choose to do Hypnobirthing?

October 8, 2013

ImageGuess Why Kate Middleton Chose to do Hypnobirthing…..

  1. She wanted to be relaxed during her labour?
  2. She was really frightened, and desperate for reassurance?
  3. A friend strongly recommended it?
  4. She wanted to feed her baby relaxation hormones throughout her pregnancy and birth?
  5. Her husband (do we know him?) wanted clear guidance on how he could be a part of it, not just a by-stander?
  6. She had had hypnosis for morning sickness, and realise how powerful a tool it can be?
  7. Her mother-in-law urged her to do it, and paid for the classes?
  8. She wanted to do it naturally?
  9. She is allergic to pain medications?
  10. She wanted to celebrate and enjoy her pregnancy, and not be swamped with negativity.

Which do you think are true for her?  Which would be important to you?

Is it normal to be anxious when you have had a baby?

April 25, 2013

ImageThere’s an article about this going into Mother and Baby magazine soon.  They have asked me to comment. If a new mum was confiding in you, and telling you that she feels really anxious, what would you say to her to reassure her? 

Anxiety is normal after having a baby, don’t worry about it, or fight it.  It’s all part of the crazy but amazing journey that is motherhood. Lots is happening to you physically and emotionally, so it would be strange if you didn’t experience some anxiety along the way.

Physically :  your body has gone through childbirth, and continues to go through dramatic changes, as well as coping with disrupted sleep. It will take some time to adjust, and these adjustments can create anxiety.  Go easy on yourself and grab every opportunity to eat, drink, and rest.

Hormonally : When you have a baby, your levels of prolactin are high – especially if you are breastfeeding.  This is your “mothering” hormone, and is designed to make you more protective of your baby.  As well as making you more loving and putting your baby’s needs first, prolactin can also make you more snappy and anxious.  This anxiety is nature’s way of keeping  you on “look out” and making sure nothing happens to your baby.  It can make you feel like you are going a little crazy, but relax.  It’s only natural!

Emotionally:  You have suddenly taken on a twenty four hour job, with little sleep, no previous experience, and a huge amount of responsibility.  Of course you are more anxious.  Who wouldn’t be? Once again, go easy on yourself, and allow yourself to feel anxious or overwhelmed sometimes. 

Socially:  In some cultures, women are told to rest for 6 weeks after they have had a baby.  She doesn’t do any cooking, cleaning, or exercising.  All food is cooked for her, drinks are brought to her. In our society, it is very different. Women go home after they have had their baby, and are expected to carry on regardless.  The house still needs cleaning, visitors need cups of tea made for them, and you are expected to be up and about quickly, regain your shape, your social life, and your sex life, while looking after a little baby who needs all your time.  This adds pressure to women, and can make it a very anxious time.  Go easy on yourself, and accept every little bit of help that comes your way, or “buy” in help, in the form of a cleaner, a  post natal doula or whatever will take the burden off you.   

How to help yourself: Plan in advance, by getting as much support and help as possible, and ensuring that you have time and space to get used to being a mother.  This isn’t just about you any more, you aren’t resting and eating well for yourself, you are doing so for your baby.  In an airplane, you are told to sort out your own oxygen before helping your children with their oxygen.  It is the same when you are a mother.  Don’t feel guilty for prioritising your needs.  You have to take care of yourself, so that you can then take care of your baby.  A relaxed mum helps to create a relaxed baby. If your needs are to talk to friends, join mother and baby groups.  If your needs are to take a bath alone now and again, ask some-one to have the baby for half an hour.  If your needs are to have a clean house, get a cleaner.  Meet your needs as far as you possibly can. You are much more important now than you were before you had a baby. 

When to see your GP: Anxiety is normal, but it is worth seeking help if you, or some-one else, is worried about you.  If you think you are okay, but others tell you that you are not, then listen to them. Often, we don’t know how bad it is until we are recovered, so it is always worth just talking to some-one. If it is disrupting your life, it is also a good idea to talk to some-one about it.  For example, you are too anxious to leave the house, or you can’t let any-one else hold your baby, or if you are scared that you are going to hurt yourself or the baby, or you are cleaning the house obsessively, or it is affecting your relationships, then talk to your health visitor or GP.  There is nothing to be ashamed of, you are being responsible and taking care of yourself, and others are there to help.

What would you have added, if you had been asked to comment?  Please share.  Sharing always helps.