I Am Here, I Am Willing: How Attending a Curtis Method Hypnodoula Training Sold Me On Hypnobirthing

 Photo by Liybie Cerar

Photo by Liybie Cerar

I am kind of a doula training junkie.  If there is a training within 50 miles of me, I’m probably gonna take it.  I’ll take webinars, live trainings, seminars, workshops – if it’s out there, I’m throwing my money in it’s direction and spending my time at it.

When I think about it, being hooked on birth education is actually a pretty great habit to have.  Giving in to my education fix has led me to learn a ton, from how to build a successful doula business, to how to use music before, during and after birth, to how to properly massage a laboring woman. 

Over the past two weeks, I had the opportunity to attend a Curtis Method Hypnodoula training.  The minute I met Lauralyn Curtis, the creator and teacher of this training method, I knew I’d take any training she would offer.  Her energy, knowledge, and personality are magnetic, and I knew that I would learn a ton from her. 

 Lauralyn Curtis teaching the Hypnodoula class

Lauralyn Curtis teaching the Hypnodoula class

The training was spread over four days of watching birth videos, reading, listening, and doing hands-on practice.  The 18 or so women in the training were educated about how to use deep relaxation, hypnosis, touch, and affirmations to help laboring moms remain in a relaxed, calm, confident state throughout labor.  The Curtis Method is a little different from other hypnodoula trainings, which I really liked.

5 things that make the Curtis Method Hypnodoula program unique:

1.     The Curtis Method focuses on Active Birth.  To quote Lauralyn’s description in her workbook The Curtis Method of Childbirth Education, “Active Birth is a philosophy in which a woman follows her birthing instincts and intuition, while being actively involved in all choices regarding her birth experience.”  
What I love about this is that it doesn’t matter what type of birth a mom has, whether it’s unmedicated, medicated, or surgical – if she is actively involved in all the choices and decisions regarding her birth, she is having an active, empowered birth. 
During an active birth a mom may choose to move, walk, vocalize, sleep, ask for help, and bear down when she feels the urge.  She is in charge of her birth, and she follows her intuition regarding what needs to happen next. 

 Lauralyn Curtis explaining how the pelvic bones shift during childbirth. 

Lauralyn Curtis explaining how the pelvic bones shift during childbirth. 

2.     The Curtis Method focuses on Birth Instinct Anchoring. This is a technique in which the laboring mother’s own birthing instincts are used as hypnotic anchors.  For instance, opening and closing her eyes, moving around, changing positions, resting, vocalizing, etc. can all be used as anchors to encourage her to go deeper and deeper into relaxation.  This way, she feels able to do whatever she needs to do, knowing that her movements and actions won’t bring her out of her relaxed state. 

3.     The Curtis Method focuses on Evidence Based Maternity Care. This means using labor practices that have been shown through research to lead to the best outcomes for mom and baby.  To quote Lauralyn, “the goal of evidence-based care is to reduce the incidence of injury and complications, while using the least amount of medical intervention possible.”
An example of evidence-based maternity care is the Lamaze Institute’s compilation of six Healthy Birth Practices.  These practices have been clinically shown to lead to the safest, healthiest outcomes for moms and babies.
The six Healthy Birth Practices are:

  • Allow labor to begin on its own
  • Walk and stay active in labor
  • Bring a doula for continuous labor support
  • Avoid medically unnecessary interventions
  • Avoid laying on your back in labor, and follow your body's urges to push
  • Keep your baby with you as much as possible after birth
 Practicing light touch with the rebozo to increase endorphins and promote relaxation. 

Practicing light touch with the rebozo to increase endorphins and promote relaxation. 

4.     The Curtis Method offers Daddy (Partner) Doula Training. In this training, dads/partners learn many of the doula tips and tricks to help labor progress comfortably.  They learn about positions, counter-pressure, acupressure, and more.  This helps them to feel empowered to be an active participant in the birth.

5.     The Curtis Method uses a unique approach to Birth Hypnosis. In the Curtis Method, hypnosis is taught to be used as a tool before and during labor.  But if the laboring mom decides not to use the hypnosis during her labor, it still works!  As Lauralyn puts it, “using hypnosis to prepare for childbirth is like practicing yoga to prepare for a marathon or other physical feat of endurance: the yoga will thoroughly prepare your mind and muscles for the work you are about to do, but you won’t necessarily be doing yoga as your cross the finish line! Similarly, we use the hypnosis to train, prepare, and re-program your mind and body for a healthy, positive birth.” 
I love this! To me, it takes the pressure off of the laboring woman so she doesn’t feel like she has to use hypnosis during labor.   Instead, she knows that she has prepared, and she has hypnosis as a tool in her toolbox if she chooses to use it.

 The amazing group of women who took the Curtis Method Hypnodoula training with me. 

The amazing group of women who took the Curtis Method Hypnodoula training with me. 

All in all, I found this training to be super educational, fun, emotional (18 birth-loving women watching a beautiful birth video = pass the tissues), and inspiring.  I left the training with a new outlook on how hypnosis and deep relaxation can be used during labor.  I also left with the drive to continue on the path to becoming a certified hypnodoula!  This training was the start of what I hope will be a long and winding road into the world of hypnobirthing.


The title of this post references a mantra - "I am here. I am willing." This mantra was shared in the training by Kylie Flinston Power, a doula in Salt Lake City.  Kylie makes amazing gemstone necklaces, check out her work here.

To learn more about Curtis Method Hypnobirthing, visit www.hypnobirthingutah.com