Friday, August 27, 2010

Try by Not Trying

In hypnotherapy I see all kind of people, but they fall into two main categories, one category will melt into my couch at any such suggestion. The other kind will feel more tense if I tell them to relax because it implies that they have to do something--to try. So for these roughly 50% of people, I use a different approach. It is amazing how much better results I get when I tell them they don't have to try, but just allow. Gravity is one force that we are all subject to and it will help us, if we allow it. If we don't allow and resist gravity for too long, it will eventually force us down to earth--but that is a whole other topic.

I have several pregnancy clients right now and one of them told me that when she took her Hypnobirthing class she felt frustrated because she didn't feel she got as deeply hypnotized as some of the other couples in the class. "And I was trying so hard," she said.

When I realized that she was a trier, is when I gave her permission not to try--in fact, not to feel any pressure to listen to anything I was saying because her unconscious mind was hearing it all and she could just drift and float away. If was after this, in our last session that she got very very deep. I'd say she got to somnambulistic state. Not that depth matters so much for hypnotherapy--some people don't feel they are deep, but they are very receptive and the therapy works and that is what matters. But for medical hypnosis, depth does matter somewhat because the deeper you go, the more hypno-anesthesia is in the body.

I'd say that the same try by not trying concept applies to birthing, even if you don't use a hypnosis for childbirth method, labor is a naturally hypnotic state. If you feel that you are fight-flight mode, or are trying to figure out what to do--or how to do it "right", this is when you need to think about giving yourself the suggestion: "Try by Not Trying." This will allow you to escape into the hypnotic or trance state some people call Laborland.

The truth is that the body-mind knows what to do. It has a check list of things that is already doing and has done since day one without your having to tell it. The conscious mind just needs to get out of the way. This is not a loss of control. In fact, when you are overloaded and in fight-flight, you have a limited number of options and responses, but from a calm place, you are able to be more flexible, make better decisions and be more open to spiritual promptings.

Monday, August 23, 2010


image courtesy of

Pregnancy is a time of upheaval and reevaluation. During pregnancy, many women (and men) find themselves with unexpected feelings about the past and contemplation about the future. Evaluating who you are and where you are going is a normal part of pregnancy. Through this process, however, many old wounds may be exposed and forgiveness and/or repentance may be necessary.

Pregnancy and fertility issues can bring up sadness about old losses or old transgressions, guilt, shame, anger (at prior caregivers, family, spouse, self), and a number of other feelings.

Pregnancy is also a time when many women re-evaluate their faith or lack of faith, and have a desire (and a deadline) to be better. This almost always requires forgiveness of self and others.

For what might you need to repent/forgive yourself?
Here are just a few thoughts:
  • years of selfishness
  • poor care of your body
  • disobedience to commandments
  • prior miscarriages (it is not your fault)
  • bad decisions
  • bad behavior toward family or spouse
  • jealousy
  • omissions
For what might you need to forgive others?

  • omissions
  • rejections
  • inconsiderateness
  • abuse
  • scaring you about birth
  • wasting your childbearing years (this comes up a lot when there are fertility issues)
  • not being who you want them to be
  • dishonesty
  • breaking the commandments
This where the second principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so important. Repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand with healing, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ is what makes it all possible.

In D & C 64:10, God says, "I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." Forgiving others takes time, especially when the hurt is deep or the offenses grave. Don't beat yourself up if your heart doesn't fill with forgiveness right away. However, if you diligently pray and leave a space in your heart for forgiveness, I promise that one day you will notice it has gradually filled in.

I also want to mention v. 13 of that same section--because while turning the other cheek gets a lot of mention in Christian thought, God has also instructed us that at times it is necessary to bring some people to judgment "not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver— ." I think this applies not just to the Heavenly lawgiver, but also the earthly constitutional lawgiver. I don't envy you if you are dealing with these dynamics, but I know from some experience that forgiveness is possible, even in this situation.

On the other hand, if you feel that it is you who need to need to be forgiven, start now. Kneel down and allow yourself to believe that loving Heavenly Parents want to give you all the blessings they have. Repentance is so worth it. I can't say that with enough emphasis. And if you don't even know where to start or what to change, take Elder Neil A. Anderson's advice and "humbly petition the Lord 'Father, what wouldst Though have me do?' The answers come. We feel the changes we need to make. The Lord tells us in our mind and in our heart."

Just like baptism is a rebirth (a water birth!) and literally symbolizes the death of the old self and rebirth of the new, so is pregnancy. Some part of your old self must die and be buried in order for you to be reborn as a mother. But even though baptism (and the moment of birth) happens in just a few seconds, the journey to getting there is personal and has different levels of difficulty for everyone.

Another great lesson I just learned is about why we remember our sins and regret them so long after we have forsaken them. Elder Anderson says in his October 2009 conference address:
"The scriptures do not say that we will forget our forsaken sins in mortality. Rather, they declare that the Lord will forget. The forsaking of sins implies never returning. Forsaking requires time. To help us, the lord at times allows the residue of our mistakes to rest in our memory. It is a vital part of our learning. "
If you have some sadness or regret about things you have already cleared up, allow yourself to believe that it is because great blessings are coming. Sad memories may be a gentle reminder to use the lessons we have learned in a new situation.

Many of life's big issues come up during pregnancy to give us a chance to heal and transform. Everything you are feeling right now has a purpose and if you aren't sure what it is, then ask the Lord. Seek answers in the scriptures. Meditate. Try to greater understand the Atonement. It works if you work. You will find the answers you need and feel the healing forgiveness brings.

Remember that any time a woman does something to positively change herself, her entire family will be blessed.

If you have a story you'd like to share about forgiveness or repentance, please share it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yoga and Hypnotherapy Saved Me This Week

Can I just say how much I love teaching pregnancy yoga and being a hypnotherapist and all the other empowering work I do. I had a tough week this week, but because I had to teach yoga, and see hypnotherapy clients, I had to put my own stuff aside and pull it together--hard day or not. Migraine or no migraine. And I felt awesome afterward. I teach a pregnancy yoga class on Thursday nights to a group of mostly LDS ladies. One woman hosts the class in her back yard. It is very secluded (for LA) and in the middle of the yard is a a beautiful sixty-year-old tree. There is also a fountain of running water and two cats that like to come out and meditate with us. It is so rejuvenating and lovely to look up and see the sky, and to do cat-cow with real cats.

It is getting darker earlier and earlier and one week soon we will have to move inside, but I am going to cherish every moment of it. If you are in the LA area, I would love to have you come. Email me for the info and address.

Also, I did a phone hypnotherapy session with a woman in Utah this week and it went really well. (Hopefully I can get her to blog about how awesome it was.) I used to be skeptical about phone work, but it works just as well* because once the client closes their eyes, it's all auditory anyway. It may even be a little easier on the client, because they can be in their own environment, and depending on the presenting issue, coming in might not be comfortable.

Being able to hypnotherapy for anyone anywhere with a phone or Skype opens us a whole world for me as far as people I am able to help. This thrills me. So in an act of shameless self-promotion, I am going to link my hypnotherapy website, Tree of Life Hypnosis in my helpful sites sidebar.

Hypnosis is such a wonderful tool, not just for enjoying birth but also for fertility, eliminating fears, creating good habits, communication, confidence, relationship enhancement and so much more. On my website it a list of 101+ ways that hypnosis can help you.

*The University of Washington did a study on phone counseling sessions and found that the were just as effective as face to face therapy, but the attendance was twice as high--meaning, people showed up. (I will link the study when I find it.)

Heather Meets Her Hero

Heather got to meet her hero this week. Sister Beck, if you don't know, is the General Relief Society President of the church. She went to represent all of us and talk to her about the book we are writing.

I don't know what I am more happy about, that she knows about the book, or that Heather is the one that got to go. I don't think anyone else would have appreciated meeting her quite as much. God has definitely put each of us in the right places for the right reasons. If you want to know more, you can read Heather's blog post about it.

Thanks Heather for doing such a good job representing us and our mission. Though I didn't meet her, I think that you radiate almost as much love and light.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Ponderment - Speaking to Attract the Birth You Want

After and series of random health issues this summer, I had to step back and survey what was up. I looked up all of my ailments in Louis Hay'salphabetical dictionary which lists possible emotional causes for illness. I realized that all of my physical problems were caused by serious emotional malnutrition, or the way I was talking to myself. Since we are most suggestible to ourselves, how we talk to ourselves matters tremendously more than we realize. Even though I was saying things like, "I don't want X to happen," I was still shaping what I wanted in negative terms. It's like when you tell your child not to fall, the mind has to first imagine falling to then not think about it. And the images we play in our mind often become reality, and she falls down right after you say it.

I have blogged about this before in my post on Mantras, and I recommended choosing new and better mantras for ourselves. That sometimes works. I have had success with doing that. But this time, it wasn't as easy to switch my language to the positive. And I realized it is because if you are sad and you try tell yourself, "I am very happy" the unconscious mind will reject it if it is too far fetched from reality. Sometimes we have to go at it from a softer, or a back-door perspective.

So I came across another cool technique that I thought I would pass on. It is called a ponderment, which is basically a moment of pondering and thinking about what might be positively happening or about to happen. Here is an example: I get a huge unexpected bill in the mail and am tempted to tell myself something like this: "I am so tired of getting bills. Will they never end? I can't pay this." But instead, I take a moment and tell myself: "It's interesting that this bill is coming to me now. I must really trust that I have the ability to pay it."

Just changing your own mental energy around, shifts energy around you in unexplained ways. Well, if I had to explain it, I think it could be called faith. I started this experiment only about week and a half ago and suddenly all this money is coming to me from unexpected places. But that is not all. I have just been generally happier.

I have found that it works really well in all situations. For example, I was having a lot of feelings of sadness come up recently about some things I have long repented of and not thought about in a long time. After about half a day of this sadness, I read some words of the prophets and then I tried a ponderment. I said: "It's interesting that this is coming up for me now--something really good must be coming to me and this is God's way of reminding me to take the lessons I learned from that other situation into the new one." I suddenly felt very happy.

So there you go. Try it out and let me know how it works.

*I got this idea from Carol Tuttle, Master Energy Therapist at LightBeam Acadamy. Here's the video if you have 5 minutes.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Three Different Care Provider Relationships

This guest post comes from Sheridan at Enjoybirth.

There are three types of care provider relationships.

Often when a mom thinks about choosing a care provider for her birth she thinks about 2 things, what kind of care provider she wants and where she wants to give birth.

• OB vs Midwife
• Hospital vs Birth Center vs Home

I think it is equally important to look at the type of relationship* you have with your care provider.

Here are the three types of relationships:

Authoritative – In this relationship the Care Provider (CP) is in charge. CP tells the mom what will happen. If the mom has any questions or concerns about it, CP may not even take the time to address them. Instead, because CP is not used to being challenged, CP will try to scare her or shame her into doing what CP wants.

Partnership – In this relationship the Care Provider sees him/herself as a partner with the mom. CP may tell the mom what s/he would like to happen or what CP’s normal routines are. If mom has any questions or concerns about it, CP takes the time to listen and answer questions. S/he treats the mom with respect, and s/he is open to doing things outside of his normal routine if it is what mom wants. (CP may have restrictions within the bounds of a certain framework- for example if mom is having a hospital birth, her care provider may be bound by certain hospital rules, etc)

Mother-Led – In this relationship the Care Provider takes his/her lead from the mother. She tells CP what she would like and CP provides it. If mom has questions or concerns CP is happy to discuss them with her and will support and trust her intuition as she finds a solution. CP is a resource for mom to go to for support.

What might this look like?

Let’s look at what this may look like in a hospital setting with a mom discovering her baby is breech at 36 weeks.

Authoritative – Mom discovers baby is breech. Care Provider says, “We will have to do a cesarean.” Mom questions if there are any other options? Care Provider says, “The baby is breech and can not be born this way. Do you want your baby to die? The safest thing to do is have a cesarean.” If mom does research and finds out about External Version and brings that idea to her Care Provider, CP may get angry that she did research about it and may or may not help her try external version. If baby doesn’t turn CP will force her to have a cesarean, by using scare tactics instead of treating her respectfully. (If you think I am exaggerating about this, just go read some of the quotes from “My OB said WHAT?”)

Partnership – Mom discovers baby is breech. Care Provider says, ‘We may need to do a cesarean.” Mom questions if there are any other options. Care Provider says, “There are some different things you can try at home. We could try External Version, there are some pros and cons to that.” He then explains those and lets moms choose what she feels is best for her. If baby does not turn they have more discussions, if mom really wants to try a vaginal breech birth, the care provider may not be able to attend mom due to hospital restrictions, or lack of training. CP will be honest about the situation, “15 years ago you would have been a good candidate for vaginal breech birth, but today our hospital is not comfortable with that risk.” Mom is left with little choice and has a cesarean. She hopefully feels respected through the process and this helps her adjust to and accept her cesarean.

Mother-Led – Mom discovers baby is breech. Care Provider says, “What would you like to know about breech babies?” Mom asks her questions and does some additional research and lets her Care Provider know what she wants to do. If baby does not turn they have more discussions. If mom still wants to try a vaginal breech birth, her Care Provider will help her to do so. CP may not be able to personally attend (due to hospital restrictions, or lack of training), but will help her find a care provider that can help her have a vaginal breech birth.

What affect could this have?

Can you see how these different relationships could affect a mom’s birth experience? Will her birth be a positive experience for her, or a negative one? Will it empower her or break her down?

We read in Proverbs 12:18
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Care providers should bring healing, starting with their words, which will greatly affect the kind of relationships they have with the women they care for.

What kind of relationship do you have?

Interestingly enough most people assume that OBs have authoritative or partnership relationships with their patients and Midwives have partnership or mother-led relationships. However, that is an incorrect assumption. You need to look at your relationship with whatever care provider you have. There are authoritative midwives out there, so don’t assume because you have a midwife you will have great support. There are also some OBs out there who are mother-led.

It is important to figure out what kind of relationship you want with your Care Provider and then determine which kind you have! Ask questions and follow your intuition to determine if the relationship you have is a good fit for you. If you are not happy with it, you can change to a new Care Provider that will give you the type of caring relationship you want and deserve.

***I did not come up with this idea, however I did change the names of the three types of relationships – you can read a 21 page paper on the Technocratic, Humanistic and Holistic Paradigms of Childbirth, by Robbie Davis-Floyd or a simpler version about the Philosophical Options of Birth.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

He Gets It

Today I got some not-so-happy news and it spun me into an ugly depression. Spinning is really the best way to describe it--like being caught in a whirlwind and also having that same tornado in your head and stomach. I write a lot here that is meant to be happy or inspiring--but I want it to be known that I get that life is hard--that there are moments that I just don't want to go on. But I also know that if I stop swimming I will drown. There is no one else for me hold on to.

Or is there?

I have been thinking about the Atonement of Jesus Christ lately. We talk a lot about it in church and we all sort of theoretically get that he descended below all and some way, which neither chemistry or physics can explain, took upon Himself all of our sins, suffering and pain. I've used the Atonement many times in my life, for repentance, but mostly for the healing from sorrows and pain. And it amazingly works. But each time something new and painful or sorrowful comes up in my life I have to stop and think, is this something God understands and cares about? And then, each time, I wonder: How do I do this? How do I access the Atonement?

I am writing this to remind myself and anyone reading that yes, this is something God cares and he does get it. Even though we can't possibly comprehend with our mortal brains how the Atonement actually happened, somehow, it did, and Jesus Christ did actually feel all the sorrows and sins and physical pain of all the people in the all the world ever. But just thinking of all the pain in my own lifetime is enough for me to get weak at the thought of it.

There is a cool quote one of my collaborators sent me that I can't find right now, but it's about how we can't think of the Atonement generally--because it is very specific. Jesus Christ didn't just take on the "sins and suffering of all the world." He took on the pain of my abusive marriage and abandonment and divorce, so that when I think about it, it pains me no more. Jesus Christ understands more than anyone what is like to watch your mother deteriorate with cancer. He understands the anger of learning that your ex-husband molested all of your daughters, of losing all your savings in a bitter custody battle, losing your two year-old because of E coli in the spinach you were feeding her to grow healthy and strong. He knows what it's like to bleed through your white shorts on a date, to throw up 12 times in one day, the shock of your unplanned and unmarried pregnancy, the bittersweet miscarriage of that pregnancy, the stress of an overdrawn bank account, the sadness of another year without a baby, or another year without having a husband, because he died at thirty-four. He knows what it's like to watch people you love take the wrong path, to lose your house in foreclosure, to lose your dancing career because you had a baby. He gets it.

Jesus Christ has felt and knows all of this personally. I think sometimes we get wrong messages from outside or inside that tell us every sin or additional sorrow we experience is adding more to Jesus' pain. It's not true. He already went through it, and He did it so we don't have to--if we can accept and use the Atonement. So how do we access the Atonement?

My friend Sara used to say, "Just throw it on Jesus." I like that image of physically lifting the burden off my back and throwing it at Jesus' feet. But as far as how it is actually done, that is one of the most personal and difficult to describe things.

For me it involves a lot of prayer, meditation, and reading about the life of Jesus Christ. It is not instantaneous. It takes time and real faith in the Atonement. It also takes forgiveness. Of myself and others. But that is a whole other blog post. Maybe tomorrow. I am still trying to spin myself up.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy News

I started this blog in the hopes to positively change one woman's birth. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to get emails from readers who I have never met saying that they are grateful for my words and that they have in fact, changed their experience.

Aside from blogging, I also teach pregnancy yoga and do one on one healing with hypnotherapy. These are all things that people either find accidentally or seek me out for. In general, I don't do much proselytizing about joyful birth--but on occasion, I will. When it comes to people I love, I can't sit by and know there is something better and not try to bear testimony of it. I have this beautiful cousin who has been trying to conceive for years, and after much tribulation, is finally expecting.

When she first got pregnant, I just sent her my blog link. Then when I heard she was taking a one day Childbirth class at the local hospital, I urged her to look into Hypnosis for childbirth. Then I sent her the link to buy the homestudy course on Amazon and demanded that she buy it immediately.

Yesterday I got this email from her.

Hey Lady!

I got the hypnobabies stuff on Friday and have been loving it! My honey has really enjoyed going over it with me too. It's great because it involves him. I feel like in my little bubble of peace I have this great secret about birth and how wonderful my birth is going to be! Church seems to be the place that I get bombarded with the most negative birth stories and I just smile cause I know mine will be different. I feel so empowered!

Thanks so much for recommending it. It has really helped me feel much more prepared and joyful about what is going to happen in a few short weeks.

I am so happy for her. Being empowered is so much better than being terrified, which she was just a few months ago. I know what ever happens, she'll be truly prepared now and have a positive experience. The part about church makes me sad, though. When will this change? When will LDS women realize that an empowered birth is their birthright? Because it is a divine power. And more than ever, during one's pregnancy and birth we are entitled to spiritual guidance and wisdom and the Holy Spirit which is also called "the comforter."

I can't wait for our book to be out so more women can have access to all the great wisdom and birth stories that will be available in it.

On that note. I have more happy news. Not 1 but 3 of my collaborators are pregnant (that I know of) and due around next February. So I am taking this as God's clear deadline for us. So our ambitious goal for a 100% finished first draft is Thanksgiving. That will give us a a few months to edit and revise. So, if you have been anxiously awaiting this book, know that it is coming, and look for updates soon.


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