My body remains still and limp: My first experience with Hypnobirthing

If you’re not familiar with hypnobabies, then look into my eyes.  Are you getting sleepy?  Yes.  You’re getting sleepy.  Very sleepy.  You’re entering the deepest sleep you’ve ever felt.

A drawing by Rob Pollak hypnobirthing and hypnobabies

When I snap my fingers, you will have an uncontrollable urge to share the link to my blog with everyone you know.

In the meantime, while you sit in a blissful state of heightened relaxation, let me tell you about hypnobabies.  To my surprise, hypnobabies has nothing to do with this Pokemon:

Nor does it have anything to do with a bunch of boozy babies slugging back this:

As I now understand it, Hypnobirthing is a French cult that brainwashes pregnant women with hippie-ish tendencies into believing that they will have a carefree and pain-free childbirth.  In other words, it’s the epidural without the shot or pain relief.  It achieves this by stealing your Friday nights during the height of Spring and placing you in a windowless corporate room with other terrified parents-to-be.

For the first hour of class, our Birth Professor read from the Hypno-manual and told stories that were meant to calm the nerves.  She told us that we don’t have to listen to friends who share the horror stories from their 91 hour labor.   “Thank god,” I thought as I listened to her proceed to tell us all the bad things that can happen if we don’t follow her instructions.

Or even if we do follow the instructions, how sometimes hypnobirthing can be so relaxed that the baby might slip out and become injured.  Like the time a Pilates instructor hypnobirthed and became so vaginally pliable that, while in labor, she went into a squat so deep that her baby cartwheeled out of the birth canal and hit his head on the ground.  Thankfully, the child was fine and he immediately found himself in happy baby pose while the doula checked his vitals.

Here’s how Hypnobirthing actually works.  You’re supposed to repeat certain affirmations in order to train your brain that the experience of labor is not a war between the body and the baby.  We practiced in class and discussed the way the affirmations can truly change your mindset.  It really did seem relaxing.

Here, try it with me:

My body remains still and limp

My body remains still and limp

My body remains still and limp?

Well, gee.  Wasn’t that empowering emasculating.

Here, let’s try another one together:

My cervix opens outward and allows my baby to ease down. 

My cervix opens outward and allows my baby to ease down. 

My cervix opens outward and allows my baby to ease down. 

Ahhhhhh!  Pure bliss.  I’m feeling better already.  You?

For me, the highlight of class was the first snack break.  Professor Placenta distributed these amazing French cookies.  The pregnant moms looked on in horror when I took two from the box, especially the mom at the end of the circle who may have gotten no cookies because of me.

It may have seemed like a dick move at the time, but as you’re about to see, proper nourishment can be very important for hypno dads.

After the break, the teacher explained that we would be moving to the video portion of the evening.  She wheeled in a sweet flat screen and popped in a DVD from 1974.

We watched two videos.  The first was an amazing five-minute birth, edited to make it seem as if labor involved no blood, no screaming, no pain, or no crying.  It’s exactly how I imagined labor to be when I imagined it involving a stork.  I felt better about the process and even started to wonder if I could stray from the North end zone in a few months when we’re in the delivery room.

That feeling of wonder was quickly shot down.

Video two:  A very relaxed mom and her husband wait for the big moment in the delivery room.  They laugh and joke as if they didn’t have a care in the world.  They probably didn’t, but the second film was directed by the Stanley Kubrick of Hypnobirthing videos.  A quick cut sent us from the laughter and joking to the inside of what’s medically known as “up in the business.”  There, a brand new child with a head the size of rottweiler began corkscrewing its way through an opening the size of nostril.

As the child moved down the birth path, the temperature of the classroom suddenly increased by 12,400 degrees.  I looked up to my left to see how Anne was taking it.  All three of her seemed to be taking it quite well.  Those buttery French cookies that earlier had been so delicious now felt as if they had lodged in the portion of my esophagus just north of digestion and south of regurgitation.

On the brink of collapse, I put into practice all the tricks I had learned during the first hour of class.  I bobbed my head in rhythm and recited every affirmation I knew:  Mycervixopensoutward Mycervixopensoutward Mybodyislimp Mybodyislimp.

I felt much much better until a second later when a pool of blood gushed out of the birther’s upinyourbusiness and then the other things that come out came out.  I don’t know what these were, but one looked like an alien with an eel connected to it, one looked like a sac of breast implant, and another looked like this turkey chili Anne once cooked for me.

Pass out

Frenchie walks over and turns off the video and says, “so, Vhat did zoo theeenk?”  At least that’s what I think she said.  It was hard for me to hear her voice, which was being drowned out by the birds circling my head and chirping.  I stared up at her and tried to respond, but I could barely see through the bright light that I was slowly gliding towards.

At that moment, I leaned forward in my chair and took hold of my head.  Anne emerged from her state of hypno-meditative bliss and finally caught a glimpse of me.  “Why do you look like the guy from Powder?”  She asked.  “Are you okay?”  She reached over and gently rubbed the top of my head, a move she instantly regretted when she felt my sopping brow.

Amazingly, I didn’t faint, but I was brought back to full consciousness by Anne’s audible laughter at my expense.  I shared with the class that I had just almost passed out, and everyone had a good laugh at my expense.  Although I was embarrassed, I like to consider my light-headedness as an act of macho bravery.  You see, after mocking me for a few minutes, each of the moms went into reassurance mode and explained to me how I had nothing to be afraid of and how the whole thing’s not so bad or scary.  In other words, by nearly passing out, I effectively allayed all of the fears that these women had expressed in the pre-cookie portion of class.  You’re welcome ladies.

Before we were dismissed, I asked the teacher if anyone had ever fainted when they saw those videos.  She responded with a curt “non.”  That’s French for “no, you pussy.”

Technically speaking, the answer to my question remains the same.

Suck it, Hypnobirthing.

Interview with a Dad: Sock-er Mom edition

Last week, I began a new interview series where I learn everything there is to know about being a dad.  Ryan was a real sport during that interview, but unfortunately he answered all my questions.  So even though this is only week two, I’m mixing it up a bit and interviewing a real mom.  Don’t worry though, she kind of has a boy’s name.

Without further ado, let’s get to my interview with Andriana Caradimitropoulo Spence, better known as Andy.  See a boy’s name.

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Real Answers to All of My Ridiculous Parenting Questions

Although my moula search rages on, many of my questions about parenthood remain unanswered.  To stay on top of things, I’ve decided to go right to the source.

For the next few weeks – or until I run out of willing participants – I’ll be conducting a series of interviews with dads.  They have kindly agreed to answer all of my ridiculous questions about my quest to become the perfect father to the perfect PGA tour golfer.

First up in the series is Ryan. Ryan is a dad of a Parker, a rambunctious 3 year-old boy.  This is Parker: Continue reading

Men – The Answer To All Your Concerns About Pregnancy Is Here.

Everyone knows that pregnancy can be an anxious and trying time for women.  For years, savvy people have created profitable ideas for helping women navigate the process.

A wise person once said that behind every heterosexual, pregnant, egg-donor-free, “traditionally”-married, monogamous woman is a man.  As one of those men, I can assure you that we can use just as much help as our counterparts.  That’s why today, I’m thrilled to announce the greatest business idea I’ve ever created.

Introducing:  THE MOULA

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Operation 80 to Baby.

Although it would have been hilarious for me, a lot of people would have been angry if last week’s big announcement was an elaborate April Fool’s prank.  Thankfully it wasn’t.  Neither is the sympathy weight I’ve been packing on.  That’s why yesterday, when I re-entered the world after a nice baby-free vacation, Anne and I launched our latest project.  Operation 80 to Baby.

Operation 80 to Baby is an elaborate workout program that I developed to make sure that my future kid does not have a morbidly obese dad.  Here’s how it works.

Step one:  Make a chart.

photo (17)

 

Anne’s participating as well, but she’s stuck on step one.  Her chart has to be all pretty.  Mine is purely functional.  I used construction paper and a blue pen.

Step 2:  Write 80 numbers on the chart, one for each day that you plan to work out.  I chose 80 because the baby is due in about 20 weeks.  If I can work out an average of 4 days per week every week until the baby’s supposed to arrive, then I will have successfully created a habit that won’t go away post baby.  When I was moping around saying to Anne, “Blah blah I’m so lazy Blah Blah,” she reminded me that it will probably be easier to start now and continue than it will be to restart from nothing in a few months.  Point taken.

Step 3:  Every time you work out, cross one of the numbers off.  I like to do this in order, but you really don’t have to.  Anne’s still trying to figure out what she should put on her chart.  This morning she thought that taping 80 little pictures of babies would be “fun.”  I told her it was creepy.  But she didn’t hear me.  So she won’t get mad that I said that until right now when she reads this.

WARNING – BLATANT PRODUCT PLUG ABOUT TO HAPPEN – WARNING:  

For my first work out, I did a little yoga at home.  Recently, YogaJack, a company that has developed a line of yoga products specifically targeted to manly men like myself, was kind enough to send me one of their mats to review.

mat1_1024x1024

As a man (and a particularly sweaty and chubby one), I can say that I’ve put this thing through the ringer.  My initial impression was that I wanted it to be a little stickier.  The more I use it, however, the better it gets.  Apparently yoga mats have a weird sheen on them at the beginning that wears off over time.  This one was no exception.

I don’t know what makes a yoga mat manly (but why would I?  I don’t even know what makes a man manly), but here’s why I like this mat:

  1. It’s long. 
  2. It’s thick.
  3. It feels good in my hands.

Uh.  Hm.  Jeez.  That really didn’t come out right, did it?

I do know one thing that made it manly.  The mat clearly has a top and bottom.  When I used it, I correctly placed the mat so that the “top” was facing up and the “bottom” was touching the dirty floor.  Anne tried the mat, and she had it upside down.  Women, right???

Final note, before I started using the YogaJack mat, I had a lululemon mat.  In all fairness, this mat was “stickier” than the YogaJack mat, but it smelled like a plastic fart, which is not a smell that is nice when your face is literally pressed against the mat.  I’ll take care of making a mat smell like death in my own time, I don’t need it to start out that way.  But not only does the lululemon mat smell like fart, it also sounds like fart if it gets wet and your skin touches it at all.  So basically, if you use the lululemon mat, everyone will just think you’re ripping away, and they’ll believe it too because it will smell like that.

Step 4:  Share your plan with the internet.  Let them hold you accountable when you slack off.  When you see me, if it looks like I’ve gained 80 lbs of sympathy weight, remember that’s not how the plan works.  Feel free to poke my belly.  If I laugh like a doughboy, the plan’s not working.

Step 5:  six-pack abs.

And that’s it.  If you’re interested in a personalized plan for yourself, please email me.  How much would you guess such a plan would cost?  10,000 dollars?  One million dollars?  No dollars?  Oh no, you can have a plan of your own for just $199.99.  That’s right.  For just $199.99, a mildly successful blogger will create a plan exclusively for you.  You can pick the color of the construction paper and the color of the pen to match all of your fitness needs.  But wait, there’s more.

I couldn’t think of anything to offer for the more part, so forget I said it, okay?

With just a little bit of work, this could be you in 80 days:

A drawing by Rob Pollak - 80 day workout plan for fathers to be