Don’t be fooled by my face – I really am delighted to be pregnant, here

My Hypnobirthing journey began over ten years ago. Back in 2006, I was delighted to discover that I was expecting my first baby. Excited as I was to be pregnant, I will freely admit that the prospect of giving birth filled me with terror. Pure, thick fear pulsed through my veins. There’s no denying it – I was a wuss of the highest order. And childbirth was going to hurt, right? I also like to plan things. Some might even say I’m a control-freak. And yet here I was, about to face the biggest challenge of my life; getting a fully grown baby out of my body – eek or what?!

As most pregnant people do, I started to read anything pregnancy/birth/baby related. During one of my lunch hours I settled down at my desk, with a Shepherd’s Pie (eating for two, much?) and a copy of new! magazine – bliss! After flicking through 60 odd pages of celebrity gossip I stumbled across a ‘health’ article, entitled “Is a pain-free birth possible?” My inner scaredy-cat’s ears pricked up, I read on.. ‘new! investigates whether hypnobirthing can help women give birth painlessly.’

The feature written by Ceri Roberts, went on to name Davina McCall, Beverly Turner and even Cate Blanchett as fans of this technique for giving birth. What was this incredible witchcraft that might just be the answer I had been searching for? The description went like so:

‘What is hypnobirthing? It teaches simple self-hypnosis, relaxation and breathing exercises for a better birth. Devotees say severe pain does not have to be part of childbirth, as hypnobirthing can help you release fears or anxieties you have about it and overcome previous traumatic births.’

5 months pregnant and enjoying my growing bump

Well, I just had to get me some of that. I contacted the clinic in London where the Hypnobirthing classes were to be held and signed my husband, Chris, and I up. Unfortunately, at that time, it was relatively new to the UK, so wasn’t available in my hometown of Chelmsford.

Come the first day of the course we met after work and headed into the Zita West clinic to be met by our brilliant teacher, Kristin Hayward, and three other couples who were in the family way, so to speak. Immediately I relaxed as it quickly became apparent no one was a massive hippy and the class wouldn’t resemble something out of “The Wicker Man”. Phew! It was simply a group of like-minded folk who wanted to prepare for their best possible birth.

Kristin took us through the main points of Hypnobirth; some breathing, relaxation and visualisation exercises and gave us the course notes and a CD of guided meditation and affirmations for a calm, comfortable birth.

We were told to read all the course material; practice the different types of breathing and listen to the CD every night, at bedtime. And so I did exactly that. Chris was a little sceptical that the Hypnobirthing would work as I seemed to slip into a deep sleep part way through listening to the CD – how could it work its magic if I didn’t actually hear the instructions?

new! magazine’s article on Hypnobirthing

We’d been advised to avoid any negative horror stories about birth so we happily retreated into a blissful little bubble of looking forward to meeting our baby. In the lead up to the big day I realised that my fears and anxieties had ebbed away, and in its place I was actually excited by the thought of labour starting and eventually getting to hold my baby in my arms. Calm, confident and informed, we felt totally ready to have our baby.

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