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Each birth is unique.
The two very different births I experienced with my daughters underlined that for me.
I vividly remember standing in a toilet cubicle at work, staring at the pregnancy test. Really? I was pregnant for the first time at the age of 37? I had been in two long term relationships - constantly not taking contraceptives 'by accident' - and had given up on the idea of having children. How could this be? I had resigned from my job and planned to go travelling! My memory took me back to the crystal healer I had seen just a few weeks before. She had told me there was a little blonde girl standing by me. Well, I just burst in to tears. I had connected with the fact that I had been burying my desire to have a child all these years. Yes, I did have a girl and she did have fair hair.
Throughout my first pregnancy I was healthy and had very little cause for complaint. I spent my time renovating our newly-acquired home, resting when I wanted, looking after my diet and exercising regularly. The only areas I did not place much importance on were how I was feeling about becoming a mother and what I would like to happen when I gave birth.
On the day I went into labour I had no clear vision of what my birth should look like, except that I wanted a water birth at home. I was unable to express any wishes or desires to the care givers who came to my home to support me. With no clear guidance from me about what I wanted, they just dealt with my care in the way THEY wanted.
Yes, I did have a natural labour, in the end, but it was under extreme stress. It wasn't the way I wanted my little girl to arrive. She expressed her dissatisfaction by crying for three months. It was a poor start for her which made for a very difficult and unhappy adjustment for me to being a parent.
I knew there had to be a better way. When I had my second daughter, I was determined to turn it around - and I did! I attended Mongan Method HypnoBirthing®, practised and planned exactly the birth I wanted - and that's JUST how it played out.
Admittedly I did not sail through this pregnancy as I had the first time, so I can totally sympathise with mums-to-be suffering sickness and constant tiredness with a toddler to care for, but I did sail through the labour beautifully with the brilliant support of my birth companion and midwives.
What did I do differently this time? HypnoBirthing® guided me to pay attention to my mind; my attitude was very positive and I had clarity on what I wanted to happen. No matter how my birth experience turned out, I knew I trusted those around me to honour my wishes. They knew about my breathing techniques, exactly what to do and say to calm me and they also knew that I was willing to move away from my plan if the need arose, but always within my preferences.
Nowadays, my girls are growing. The days of caring for babies have long gone and instead other challenges are unfolding. I am now a clinical hypnotherapist and since 2009 I have loved teaching courses in HypnoBirthing® Mongan Method, HypnoBirthing® Fertility Support and HypnoMothering® to many couples. It's a privilege to take the fear factor out of giving birth for first time mums, and those who may have had a bad experience as I did, and also to help new mums get the maximum joy out of family life.
I know from my own experience that the courses I offer can change lives for the better: to me that's priceless.
What happens in classes
Do you feel prepared for conception, pregnancy and birth?
For Dads and partners
A friend of mine had given birth using HypnoBirthing® and I was inspired by her story and how easily she had given birth as a first time mother.
The journey to parenthood is amazing but sometimes daunting. I was looking for some tools and techniques to help my husband and I relax and prepare for the birth and deliver our baby in the most natural way possible.
Jo and Dan, Leicestershire