Hypno-what?! My birth partner will never go for that!
Hypnobirthing isn't as "woo" as it sounds (thank goodness!). Hypnotherapy has been used for centuries as an aid to breaking unhealthy habits or coping with difficult situations or reactions. It doesn't matter if you think you "can't" be hypnotised. This isn't stage hypnosis and no-one is going to expect you to squawk like a chicken or otherwise embarrass yourself! Think of it more as learning to relax deeply and trust yourself. You'll discover for yourself the benefits of feeling more relaxed, even though some people find it a bit hard to achieve at first. Like any new skill, it gets easier with practice and most people soon feel the benefits for themselves before the end of just one day together. When your mind is more switched off, positive messages and suggestions filter through and your brain accepts them without argument, making it more likely that you'll respond to the situation we're focusing on in the way you wish, rather than the way you might fear. (Don't worry - we'll explain it all much more clearly when we meet.) It's all as relevant for birth partners as for the birthing person. One of our testimonials from a dad-to-be says, "Anyone who can turn me from a sceptic to an endorser has done a fantastic job!" (and trust me, he really was quite sceptical at the start of the course!)
Ok, so does that mean we're just lying around relaxing all day? Doesn't sound very interesting or useful!
Definitely not! You're going to work hard but in a way that doesn't feel like you're working hard! This is because as trained and experienced facilitators, we use a variety of approaches and learning styles. There will be discussion, Q&A, listening, exploring ideas, thoughts and feelings, and most of all plenty of "doing stuff" and maybe even a bit of creativity. Don't worry, we appreciate that some of what we do will be new territory for you. We know how to introduce new ideas and approaches gently, with as little embarrassment as possible, and so you can see the point of them. Labour, birth and becoming a parent is a physical and emotional rollercoaster ride, so whilst knowledge has its place, in this situation it doesn't have as much power as you might like to believe. Physical skills and managing strong emotions and feelings are arguably the biggest aid to labour so we aim for a good balance of cognitive, emotional and physical approaches. We don't promise a pain-free or "natural" birth because we believe such promises are unprofessional and potentially unrealistic. What we focus on is maximising the chances of birth going smoothly, by offering clear explanations and providing rationale, to increase understanding and knowledge. We couple this with physical practise and exploration to help you both feel confident and able to cope more calmly when you're experiencing strong or challenging feelings. If you just want "information" this might not be the right course for you.
When is it best to take a WOW! Hypnobirthing course?
Most couples prefer to take the course a couple of months before their baby is due. This allows for plenty of time to practise what you learn and it will feel relevant to your stage of pregnancy. Some people prefer to take the course closer to their due date so it all feels fresher and others prefer to take it sooner to give themselves longer to practise. Or it may be that you need to work round existing commitments. As a guide, we'd generally recommend that you take the course at around 32 weeks. If you'd like to add on a top-up or follow-up session, this could be booked for around 36 weeks. If you're not sure, please talk to us!
How big are the groups?
We're not currently offering group courses due to the difficulties involved with social distancing, differing vaccine statuses, individual vulnerability or preference, etc. Prior to the pandemic our groups were limited to a maximum of 5 couples so that there was plenty of opportunity for questions, clarification, personal attention as well as some personal space. Whether the course is private or in a group, birth partners aren't just welcome - they're an integral part of the course. If you're planning to have more than one birth partner, please talk to us in advance so we can discuss how to best accommodate them.
What if I've already done antenatal classes?
Whether this is your first baby, or if you've had one or more babies before, our WOW! Hypnobirthing course will add to and enhance any prior learning from other antenatal classes you've attended. Hypnobirthing teaches you new, practical skills and helps you banish anxiety and embrace confidence. Some aspects of any antenatal course will inevitably overlap with others but we're confident that you'll take away new skills and maybe a clearer, deeper understanding about birth. We aren't affiliated to any organisation so we have no underlying agenda. We only wish for you to feel better emotionally, cognitively and physically about birth and to approach birth knowing you and your birth partner have the skills and understanding to work as a team and to get the birth that's right for you, wherever and however your baby is born.
It seems expensive....
Well, we agree that it might sound that way, until you consider what you're getting for your money. Firstly, you're getting good-quality antenatal classes, tailored to your needs and situation, from an unbiased source with accurate and detailed knowledge. We have only your agenda at heart. Secondly, you're investing in skills and knowledge that you can build on to help you manage anxiety, worries and concerns in all kinds of different life situations. You'll build up skills that are transferable into many situations where you need to feel calmer or more focused. Thirdly, Zana and Barbara each have more than 20 years experience and expertise, and you get to tap into it all without needing to worry if the source you've found on the internet is reliable and without having to run the gauntlet of some social media platforms or forums! We listen and we adapt to you; we're strong believers that one size doesn't fit all (and that goes for birth choices too!). From booking until just after the birth of your baby we are at the end of an email if you have the odd worry, question or need a bit of extra support.
What if I have more questions?
You are very welcome to contact Zana or Barbara if you would like to know more about our courses, if you have questions about your particular circumstances, if you'd like clarification about something - or anything else. We won't repeatedly hound you if you send an enquiry! Use the Contact Us page and complete one of the forms to contact either Barbara or Zana.