I trained as a hypnobirthing teacher when I was pregnant with our daughter Lily. I threw myself into the training and was a model student; my husband and I practiced every day. Then in my fifth month of pregnancy my dad died very suddenly of a heart attack. There was no warning, one day I was talking to him about the fridge at home packing up and the next he wasn’t there anymore. We decamped to Dorset to be with my mum and organize the funeral and all the time I was aware of my baby growing inside me and fearful about the impact my grief would have on it.
My mum did not cope well with the death of my father and we spent a lot of time with her at home helping her cope with every day life which she was clearly finding unbearable without my dad. In hindsight I realise she was suffering from post-traumatic stress and was virtually catatonic with grief. Impossibly she died seven weeks to the day that dad had passed away. They never found an official cause of death but we know that she simply died of a broken heart.
Losing my parents so close together and when I was pregnant was obviously earth shattering – there are no words to fully articulate how I felt and in truth I am still piecing my new reality together nearly two years later but I can say with absolute sureity that without the focus that hypnobirthing gave us at a time of such tragedy, we would not have been able to cope in the way that we did. The daily practice of the hypnobirthing techniques gave us space to just ‘be ‘at a time when so much needed to be done. It gave us the opportunity to connect with our baby and look to the future when we were only able to take each day at a time. The fact that we had a positive and peaceful home birth was a blessing and my calm state of mind whilst giving birth is testament to the strength and value of the hypnobirthing process.
Obviously my experience is very unusual and you may wonder how this might relate to your situation. I really believe that hypnobirthing gave me the focus I needed to stay calm and connected when it quite easily could have been the first thing to fall by the wayside with so much else going on in our lives. Instead we chose to fully commit and use it to help us cope with the situation we found ourselves in and maintain a positive mindset. I think that’s what I’d like you to take away from my birth story; it is so easy to let life get in the way of preparing for your birth but if you can prioritise a little time each day to practice and connect with your baby and your birth partner then the cumulative effect can be profound. I look back on my pregnancy with happiness and am so grateful that I found a means to focus on my baby’s birth so that when the time came for her to be born I was relaxed and prepared which I know contributed to the positive birth experience we had.
Baby Lily, born 12 February 2016, at home