The One Where Rachel Has a Baby

October 25, 2021

The One Where Rachel Has a Baby

No...not me! 

You've seen it, right? (If you haven't, this picture tells you a lot of what you need to know!) Of course Friends is a comedy, not a documentary, but this episode is not that different in its content and feel to most of what we see on the TV when it comes to birth. 

And that's the trouble - because when we see this type of birth a lot, we think its pretty much how it is. That's what birth looks like, right? 

Wrong! So much of this episode is totally unrealistic, and totally unhelpful for birth in real life! Let's look at some of the issues...

She's rushed straight off to hospital as soon as labour starts

Yet there is absolutely no need or urgency for her to be there! What does this mean? It means a likely longer labour, in an unhelpful environment - which of course becomes true for Rachel, as she watches countless people leave with their babies before her!

The lights are all on

Bright lights are completely unhelpful when it comes to producing oxytocin. No oxytocin means a slow, or stop-start labour, and more painful contractions!

She's already in a hospital gown

Like she's a patient! About to have an operation! She's having a baby. She's not ill. She's doing a completely, normal, physiological function. Something as simple as the change of clothing speaks volumes to the viewer about her status in the scene though. 

She's on her back on a bed

...because aren't they always?! What does this mean for Rachel? A longer, more painful labour, where Rachel and her baby are unable to move and work together through the labour. This also means a greater risk of assisted birth and tearing. 

She has a totally unhelpful, flappy birth partner! (Sorry Ross!) 

We assume that there's little for a birth partner to do, other than take abuse, watch her being in pain, and have his hand squeezed! Because this is all we see on TV isn't it. And that's without the old joke about birth partners fainting.... Never do we see a birth partner who is calm, knows the stages of labour, protects the environment, gives massage or other physical comfort measures, knows their way around the birth bag and generally has their sh*t together. 

...The theory vs the reality...

I suspect that you already knew that some of these things were unrealistic and unhelpful. But the trouble is, you're still seeing it. You've had a lifetime of seeing it. Of seeing birth as a painful, scary, medical scenario. And that is why we all default to going to hospital, to getting on the bed, and to doing as we're told (rather than doing what feels right for us). 

There's a difference between knowing something in theory, and actually believing it. In labour, we act emotionally rather than with our rational mind. So all the theory goes out the window if you've not done the work mentally. To really change your perception of birth. That is what the 'hypnobirthing' bit if about. Changing the subconscious. Through all the myriad of ways that we use - understanding physiology, relaxations, affirmations, visualisations... 

When I work with my clients, there's a lot of information, tips and tricks that I impart on them - but the main thing that I want is for them to empower themselves. To really transform their idea of birth and what our bodies are capable on. To trust themselves. To say no to what they don't want and to give birth how THEY want to. 

Want to know more about how you can approach your birth like this? Click here to find out when my upcoming group hypnobirthing & antenatal courses are, or here for information about a private hypnobirthing & antenatal course. I teach both in person and face to face - its entirely your choice. And I'm really proud to say that my course has wonderful feedback, with many incredible birth stories. Have a read of what they say about my courses, and get in touch to book your place!

Rachel xxx

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