The Seeds of my Practice
Someone recently asked me how I became a Hypnobirthing teacher.
Her exact question was: ‘what sowed the seeds for your practice?’.
Here are my thoughts.
The seeds for my role supporting women in pregnancy and birth were sown in my own childhood.
Perhaps even at my own birth! I was breech, and came out backwards, in front of a room full of obstetricians and midwives. Maybe I was destined to help others do things their way too.
As a kid, I’d see my mum busy running her charity, helping women get back into employment after having kids. Campaigning for flexible working rights. Better childcare options.
At the time I was probably not that interested, being too busy thinking about spot remedies etc… but I have no doubt that her work infused a sense of purpose in me.
In adulthood, I have always been interested in psychology and in what makes people (including myself) think and behave in certain ways. What helps change things too.
I’ve always worked in this field in some way or another.
I trained in Neurolinguistics programming 10 years ago (NLP), getting the bug and training as a master practitioner.
Through NLP, I discovered what motivates me, my values, the things I am passionate about and the things that hold me back.
I realised that I needed to know I was making a positive difference and that it’s important for me to feel others are reaching their own potential, as much as my own.
I used NLP for coaching others, and for my own self-discovery.
Then came the birth of my son, which sowed the biggest seed of all.
His birth, my first, came without much knowledge. Hypnobirthing wasn’t on my radar and I was pretty naïve about the whole thing.
In the end, it was a challenging experience for me and my baby. We both took time to recover and at sleep-deprived points, I felt I had reached rock bottom.
The good thing about hitting that place, is the only way is up.
Once I pieced myself back together and started to feel stronger, I realised I had a new calling.
I wanted to help other women avoid what I’d been through unnecessarily, and to have positive births.
In particular, I wanted women to be in the driving seat for birth, trusting themselves, able to make their own choices and to feel proud of themselves afterwards.
Because I had a strong sense that this would be the best way to start motherhood.
I felt that birth could open us up, or close us down. I had closed, and inwardly I was dealing with feelings of shame, guilt and an overarching lack of control.
My body had let me down.
But I could see that it might have been a time when I could have felt liberated, primal, able to do anything.
I saw that birth presents an opportunity for women to feel empowered and in tune with our instincts, and I believe this goes on to profoundly inform our experience of parenthood.
Though I knew that a positive birth could be achieved in all sorts of ways, I felt that Hypnobirthing was the closest I could find to a very practical, simple approach, that was in keeping with my NLP training. In particular, the exploration of the relationship between mind and body.
So I trained with Katherine Graves. She was incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and inspired me greatly. I went on to teach classes privately, taking things slowly and working up to groups.
That was five years ago.
I went on to train as a doula with Michel Odent, obstetrician and natural birth pioneer.
I folded his wisdom into my course.
Since then, I built up my practice, and have now taught over 450 wonderful people.
People from all sorts of backgrounds, with different fertility journeys, different perspectives and different births.
Those seeds, from childhood, work and birth, have born much fruit, both unexpected and beautiful.
Like the birth stories I receive. The little comments from mums who tell me what a difference it made to them.
The knowledge that it’s helped more than one woman to feel stronger, calmer, less scared.
The things I’ve learnt about myself and about the wonder of women as a whole.
Happily, I’ve borne witness to the love and support of partners too.
In the context of what feels like an uncertain world, I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by so much love in my work.
The seeds also bore fruit in the form of my daughter’s birth, 4 years ago.
I was able to experience the feeling of opening up fully; to my feelings (all of them), to the practice of self-hypnosis, conscious breath and positive mindset. To feeling wholly connected with my husband and baby.
In pregnancy and birth, I discovered much about myself and my capabilities, and this opened up my sense of self.
In passing on these qualities to others, my hope is that they too will have that sense of opening up.
And if I can help them cultivate self-belief with more kindness and compassion, so they can feel proud of themselves however birth goes, then I feel my job is done.