The Benefits of HypnoBirthing with Fear and Now Documentary Director Liat Ron: Podcast Episode #230

Kristin chats about the Fear and Now Documentary with Liat Ron, producer and director.  Kristin and Liat discuss how HypnoBirthing impacted her second birth and why she decided to create a documentary about her experience along with the experiences of other families captured in the film. 

Hello, hello!  This is Kristin with Ask the Doulas, and I am so excited to chat with Liat Ron today.  Liat is a filmmaker, among many other things.  She’s also an actor, writer, producer, Middle Eastern dancer, and co-founder of Techealthiest.  Welcome, Liat!

Hi!  I’m very, very excited to be here.  Thank you for having me!

Yes!  Gold Coast is all about HypnoBirthing, and we’ve been teaching the HypnoBirthing childbirth preparation method since we launched the agency in 2015.  So when you approached me about your new film, Fear and Now, I was all about chatting, and not only about the HypnoBirthing method, but also about birth trauma and some of the other topics that your documentary covers.  I’d love to hear a bit more about your background and why you chose this particular topic for your new documentary.

Well, I think the topic chose me.  I did not intend to become a documentary filmmaker.  I mean, I do come from the film, acting world.  I’m a producer.  I produce theater.  I haven’t considered becoming a documentary filmmaker, until my second birth.  I’ll take you back a little bit before my second birth.  Not just a little bit; my whole life I was scared of birth, I would say more than anyone I knew.  And it was, I think, in the level of phobia if somebody had to analyze me.  And then I was pregnant for the first time, and I thought I did all the proper preparation, and that birth wasn’t a good birth, but I expected it not to be good.  But what happened is that the fear intensified after the first birth.  In other words, when I got pregnant again, I was more terrified.  So when I came across HypnoBirthing – actually, the first time I came across HypnoBirthing was in a Barnes & Noble when I saw the book, and I really dismissed it, although I was really drawn to it.  I just basically browsed it in the store, and I was like, okay, this is too good to be true; bye bye, in my second trimester.

And then when I was in my third trimester – actually, week 30-something – somebody mentioned a class opening, and again, I just – it just sounded too good to be true, really.  And I only signed up for the class because it was becoming – I had nothing to lose.  It was my last resort.  Let’s see if something good can happen.

Yeah, what could hurt in trying the class?  You can always take something from any class or book that you read or podcast you listen to.  There’s always a good takeaway.

Yeah.  And I was still resistant.  Actually, the first class, I was like, okay, this won’t work for me.  I’m sorry.  I’m not someone who meditates.  I’m not – I can’t, like, sit and let go.  And the teacher told me, Liat, it’s not about letting go.  It’s about hyperfocusing.  I can do that.  I can hyperfocus.  Actually, I feel like HypnoBirthing is so beneficial for Type A, even more so.  We’ll get into that in the name.  It’s like the crunchy mama, but all the elements of HypnoBirthing are very mainstream, very scientific.  It’s just that it hasn’t been exposed to mainstream world.

Exactly.  I do agree that it gets a different reputation, almost like the crunchy, only want a homebirth or unmedicated.  But HypnoBirthing is for everyone.

Totally.  What I love about HypnoBirthing is it gives you so many tools, and you choose what works for you.  Everything about HypnoBirthing is customizing your experience to what works for you and being in the driver’s seat of your birth.  So I’ve come a long way from someone who lets people make all the decisions, because they really know best, to really learning what makes me, Liat, feel safe.  What makes me feel supported; what makes me feel fear-free.  So that birth was incredible.  I blew myself away.  My son was born – and by the way, my feeling about what’s right for me was birthing in a hospital, but in a birthing room that won’t feel like a hospital, so I feel safe if there’s special circumstances.  There are all the interventions available, but I don’t want the atmosphere of a hospital.  And I got that.  I found that hospital.  I chose the people who would be my providers and my doula.  But I still didn’t expect it.  I applied all the tools, and the tools are actually fun because it made my experience of pregnancy more enjoyable.  You relax.  You take your time.  I loved rainbow relaxation.  I came to the birth.

My son was born in that room, not in the water, which, again, water, I thought – it’s about in the moment.  And HypnoBirthing, it’s about being in the moment.  My body did not want water.  My doula actually was very wise to do let me touch water, to put a little water on me, before we went into the water, and my body just rejected it.  So water would not work, but for other people, it does.  So I really led myself into this birth that was intervention-free.  I would say as pain-free as could be.  My son was 9.6 pounds, and after that birth, I really came to the conclusion that that was just a rare miracle and those things don’t happen, and how lucky and amazing it was.  And then I realized – I learned.  I did a lot of research.  That’s actually a typical HypnoBirth.

And did you stay in touch with any other students?  Did you hear their birth stories, or did your instructor facilitate any communication?  I’m curious about that.

We were in a small class, and I did not stay in touch, but I do know that at least one did not go with a provider that honored HypnoBirthing, and that – you know, the tricky thing with providers is that they can tell you, oh, HypnoBirthing, no problem.  But when you get to the moment of birth, they totally take the agency away from you and they take charge.  So you really need to choose your providers, and they don’t have to be experts on HypnoBirthing.  In fact, we filmed providers who you can see they don’t know exactly what HypnoBirthing is, but if they’re not conducting themselves based on their big ego, then their job is easier.  They love it.  You know, doctors that really don’t operate from ego, they love it.  They’re not the god of the birth.  They’re not the owner of the birth.  And it makes it more enjoyable for them.  So there’s really no reason for providers not to support HypnoBirthing.  But yeah, in my case, it was that I did have the right providers, and I think it says a lot.  We should all have access to these providers, and all providers should consider it.  But I think that a film like my film will show that there’s nothing weird or esoteric about HypnoBirthing.  And we’re also going to make our choices, and then providers that don’t support HypnoBirthing maybe won’t do so well.  I mean, we live in a capitalistic, patriarchal system, so we’re just going to make our choices.  That is really my goal.

But after that birth, when I realized that that is HypnoBirthing and it wasn’t just a rare miracle, I decided that the world should know about it.  It should be in what I call mainstream consciousness so people can make the choice, and also that HypnoBirthing should be accessible to all is another goal of mine.  But how do you do it?  That’s the next step.

I love that your personal experience translated to wanting to create this very important film.  So how many different couples did you interview?  What was your process in creating the film?

My process was very intuitive.  Maybe like HypnoBirthing; my husband keeps saying that the process and the film itself is almost like HypnoBirthing.  Intuition from the gut was very visceral.  I did not – I just – I would meet one person.  They would lead me to another person.  And you know, in the beginning, it was very difficult to find people who were willing to be vulnerable on camera, to share their births, to let us follow them.  It was hard as it was, but somehow our first day of filming after maybe a year of pre-production was scheduled for the end of March of 2020.  So that was a hurdle!


So everything was delayed, and actually, we restarted that summer, social distancing, and being very creating.  Actually, the pandemic made the film more creative than it would have been if it wasn’t for the pandemic, and once we got vaccinated, we started flying and really traveling and we were less limited.  But we traveled across the country.  We just followed different families with different experiences, and somehow everything I wanted to show in the film just happened organically.  I knew that, for instance, HypnoBirthing works for every birth, right?  You could birth free; you could birth in the OR.  And somebody asked me, does that mean that you don’t use anesthesia?  Well, exactly.  You need a film to show you.  It can be HypnoBirthing along with a C-section as it’s done in the hospital.  But we didn’t follow anyone who wanted a C‑section, and I don’t wish a C-section on anyone, so we ended up having what we call in HypnoBirthing special circumstances with a few of our couples, and you can really see the difference.  It’s amazing.  I’m very excited for the world to see it.

Another thing I wanted to show – I remember this nurse friend used to tell me, well, HypnoBirthing works for a second birth.  It worked for you.  But it doesn’t work for first births.  Well, half of our couples were first birthers.  There you go.  So it’s really incredible.  And the providers we met along the way – just, really, everything that I had in my mind that needs to be shown in my film happened and happened on camera, except for the things that we made a lot of discoveries, and some discoveries, we weren’t prepared for, and that happens when you make a documentary, especially a personal documentary.  But those, of course, ended up in the film, and I’m also very excited for the turns that the film took to become what it is right now.

Yes, I cannot wait to watch it!  It’s so needed, and I do feel like you having these organic journeys with couples where it’s not a predictable documentary, does make it even more perfect, and adapting as you do in HypnoBirthing to whatever comes your way and using the tools that you have.  We have students in our HypnoBirthing classes that have a fear of a surgical birth and need to have a planned Cesarean birth due to medical issues, and they used the relaxation and the pregnancy practice to overcome those fears.  So as you mentioned, it really is for everyone.

Totally.  This is the platform I’m comfortable with, film, but we just need to get it to the masses.  We just need to get this knowledge to the masses, and in the form of entertainment, I think, is pretty optimal.

Agreed.  And people do love consuming video, and there’s so many ways to access films.  I’m sure you’ll be having many launch events for the film in different locations, especially involving some of the couples that you filmed.  It’s got to be so fun to have them see their journey on film.

Yes.  All the couples that we filmed and followed were people who are normally private people, people who don’t like to be exposed to the world with their vulnerabilities, with their most intimate moments of giving birth.  But they were so dedicated to the idea that this is really the only way to show the world what HypnoBirthing is.  And the film is not a birth video that you would Google and see on YouTube.  The film is really an entertainment piece.  It follows a journey.  It follows stories.  There are obstacles that we all meet and conquer, and really, it took the people’s comfort level to be as high as can be, to be in this film.  And they were comfortable because they wanted this film to be out.  I’m very honored that they chose to share those moments with us, with the world.

Definitely.  And did you get in touch with HypnoBirthing International, or how did you collaborate with the – because there are similar methods, like Gentle Birth or HypnoBabies.  But you’re specifically talking about HypnoBirthing?

Yes.  I am talking about the original method.  The reason I’m talking about the original method is, A, I create from what I know.  I don’t know anything about the other methods.  I know what I was trained with, and it wouldn’t make sense for me to create from another viewpoint or needing to learn about other methods.  And it was also the first one.

Exactly.  They all were offshoots of the original concept.

I’m just putting it out there; it’s also on homage to Marie Mongan, who started this revolution.

She was amazing.  So birth trauma is a topic that you’re passionate about.  How do you feel this film and awareness can prevent some future trauma or help people in processing past trauma as they’re preparing?  As you had even mentioned, your first birth didn’t go the way you wanted, so you had some fears going into the next one.  I would like to explore that a little bit with you.

I touched on it a little bit before, about the discoveries I wasn’t prepared for.  Okay, so I was not passionate or invested in working through birth trauma or the idea of birth trauma.  My original idea was to bring a film to the world that shows what HypnoBirthing is and is inspiring birth revolution from within the system, which I can explain later what it means, but really, HypnoBirthing accessible to all, and to show what it really is.  I was carrying birth trauma from my first birth.  My assumption was that we all expect births to be terrible, and then they’re terrible, and that’s it.  A trauma is really – like, what happened to me, I was healthy, and my daughter in my first birth was healthy, even though it was very traumatic.  I suppressed that trauma because everything was sort of okay, and it was normal.  But I was holding on to trauma, and I wasn’t aware of it, and I wasn’t aware of what it was doing to me.

Now, throughout the journey of filming Fear and Now, I suppressed my trauma even more.  I actually developed guilt and shame whenever things came up for me because I met with people who almost died at birth.  So really, there was really no place for me to let myself think that I had birth trauma.  So I buried the trauma even more.  But I guess trauma is trauma.

It is.  That’s what I believe.

And every trauma has to be acknowledged, but the thing is that it’s so normalized in our society that we don’t even know that we have trauma.  All I knew is that whenever I started talking about that birth, I would start crying, and then I would just change the subject and do something else, and that was it.  So I had never talked about that birth until nine years later, accidentally, unintentionally, on camera towards the end of filming Fear and Now.  And that became the second theme of the film.  I did some research.  I learned that 30% of women who birth go through birth trauma.  30%.  And I found out that the research is based on self-reporting, but if we don’t know that we have trauma, then how would we self-report that we have trauma?  I believe that closer to 100% have trauma.  So what do we do with that?

First of all, we acknowledge it and we don’t minimize it.  We don’t suppress it.  We find a way to release it.  And I think there are many ways to release it.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy way.

The fear release in HypnoBirthing, for example, is one way.

To me, it was just talking about it and really letting it out and letting myself cry and letting myself really tell the story, and it’s as simple as that.  For deep trauma, you might need to release or process a few times.  But the bottom line is, the first thing is to be aware.  And it’s hard to be aware in a society that normalized birth trauma as really what you’re supposed to experience.  And I know that just as much as HypnoBirthing changed my life, the trauma release changed my life, as well.  So that became the second theme of Fear and Now.

I love how it organically unfolded!  What are your tips for our listeners as they prepare for upcoming births?  Or even pre-conception?

Especially, I come from really profound fear.  As a child, I remember, it was so scary.  And it took one birth, and then the second birth, I educated myself.  And I find HypnoBirthing is the most thorough course that’s offered.  That’s personally how I see it.  It’s really about awareness, right?  This film is about HypnoBirthing, but any type of education that teaches you physiological birth and how to release fears – I can’t tell people that everyone should do HypnoBirthing.  But I can tell people that everyone should know about it.  You should know about it, what it really is, because there’s so many misconceptions about it, including the name.  So I suggest, yes, exploring what this class is.  Actually, one of the reasons I was drawn to taking the class the second time around, that I thought it would be a refresher course.  It is very thorough in teaching you about birth, if anything.  But the tools are so powerful, and what I love about it is that it offers you so many tools that a few, for sure, would work for you, and really, also people who have had previous births or any traumas, to sort of – I mean, when you watch the film, you realize that it can just come up in the worst moments.  And I think that when you give birth – I think that if I didn’t have HypnoBirthing, my second birth would have been more traumatic because I was still holding onto trauma from the first time.  So finding out what trauma is, really.  It’s not – a lot of things that are trauma, we don’t consider as trauma.  I guess, cleanse yourself of your traumas as much as you can before you enter this world of birth.

Great advice.  So how can our listeners support your film, Liat?

Well, we are deep into post-production, which – we are basically in labor.  The film is in labor.  And baby Fear and Now is crowning.  We are, right now, in our last phase of fundraising.  You can go to our website,, to explore more about the film.  You can follow us on social media.  We’re mainly active on Instagram, @fearandnowmovie.  Also, on Facebook, we are @fearandnow.  You can sign up to our newsletter on the website.  You can reach out through our website or DM us, and we’d love to hear feedback or if anybody is interested in learning more about our plans for the future, we are here.

Love it.  Well, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful journey to creating Fear and Now!  I can’t wait to watch the film!

Yes, I’m very excited to be in this phase of post-production and really to get this film to the masses because that is the goal, really.  It is not – the film is not an esoteric, sort of grungy film, which there’s room for that, too.  It is a very mainstream documentary that is meant for the masses.

Perfect.  Thank you so much, and we will share information with our audience and our Gold Coast clients as we get updates on when the film is coming out!

Thank you so much, Kristin!  Thank you for having me!


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