Why I teach the Wise Hippo antenatal classes
A little while ago Wise Hippo instructors were invited to create a 30 second video explaining why they teach these antenatal classes. My first thought was eek, make a video! Scary!! But when I sat down to do it, it was even more difficult than I’d imagined. Why? Because 30 seconds is no way long enough to get across why I teach this amazing course.
I gave it a go but I only really managed to get one point across, just! (which is number 3 below). For me, it’s all about personal experience. That’s my first and foremost reason for teaching these antenatal classes.
For those of you who don’t know, I had always been absolutely terrified about giving birth. It was bad to the point that if I heard someone talking about giving birth I would, without fail, cross my legs and tense up in fear! So the fact that I went on to do the Wise Hippo course and to have a calm, natural home birth without any pain relief (if you’d like you can read the details: my birth story) convinced me that this programme is truly special and can help anyone who wants to have a positive birth where they feel in control.
Making my video debut got me thinking about the other reasons I love teaching these antenatal classes. I’ve compiled them into a top 5 below, (drumroll please).
In addition to this list I just want to add how amazing the past year has been. I’ve had the chance to meet so many lovely couples, midwives, doulas, breastfeeding experts and yoga teachers (amongst others) – it’s been a year full of positivity, change and gorgeous-chilled babies. And I cannot wait to meet all of you booked onto one of our classes in 2016 (and a few of you this year too). I also can’t wait to see all of those I’ve come to know at our coffee morning and to kick-off our super-exciting positive and practical workshops Wise Hippo hypnobirthing with pregnancy yoga, (how’s that for a combination?) with the fabulous Jo Hanks of Get On Your Mat yoga
So without further ado here is my top 5 list…..
1 The shift in confidence
Seeing couples go from feeling scared about giving birth to simply looking forward to the big day is the best! My number 1 for sure. Watching the transformation over a four-week period is amazing.
As couples grow in knowledge and confidence, their thoughts and feelings about giving birth change. Instead of viewing birth as something that’s going to happen to them, they start taking control and thinking and daydreaming about the birth they want.
The card below shows how (after 10 hours of lessons and practice at home) much their thoughts about birth change.
2 Seeing couples relax
A large part of these antenatal classes is about becoming an expert in relaxation.
Each week we do at least one hypnosis session (basically guided meditation, like the relaxation part at the end of a yoga class) and I love seeing all the tension drift away as clients’ faces and bodies visibly relax.
Sometimes clients will come in feeling pretty stressed or anxious – because they are scared about giving birth, or because they have a lot going on at work. Or because they’re moving house as well! It seems most people I’ve taught this year have been doing that just before giving birth, for some extra drama!
As well as giving them knowledge and information about birth and their choices and rights, our antenatal classes provide time for them to relax and take time out as a family – to bond with their babies too. And yes, often people (mainly the dads I have to say) fall asleep.
Also, I just love doing a hypnosis session with a larger group. The energy in the room is amazing! I usually have to have a good stretch afterwards. Lots of studies have shown that meditating in a group is more powerful than meditating alone.
3 My memories
As I mentioned above, I too was bricking it about giving birth. If I’m honest I put off having a baby for several years because I was scared about how the baby was going to come out.
My husband and I had heard good things about hypnobirthing and although, at the time, we didn’t quite understand what it was, when I fell pregnant we booked on a course. It changed my life. I went on to have a calm, natural and relaxed birth – much to the surprise of my family and those who know me well!
I loved doing the course so much, that I made a promise to myself. If my birth went as I wanted it to, I would retrain and change careers. My birth went better than I’d wanted it to and I retrained.
In the past year I’ve helped over 30 couples go onto have positive and empowered births. I’m so passionate about what I do because I know how well it works. I was that anxious, scared and nervous first time mum who didn’t know what to expect when she was expecting. Each time I teach I remember how I felt and how much I loved being on the Wise Hippo journey.
4 Empowered birth stories
From one couple who stayed strong and got the home birth they wanted (even though they were told no midwives could come out – they stayed firm and a team came out after closing the birth centre briefly), to a first-time mum who broke her ankle, contracted DVT and went on to have a calm and positive pool birth using the techniques she’d learnt!
The focus in the Wise Hippo is on #therightbirthontheday, meaning that whatever happens you have the tools and techniques to stay calm and in control, so that you can look back on your birth in a positive way
5. Meeting the babies!
Saved this one till last. I know it’s a pretty obvious perk: getting all those cuddles, having a quick sniff of a newborn baby’s head (there’s actually a reason why women love this smell so much: newborn baby smell ). But there’s also a really special element for me. During classes I see parents bonding with their unborn babies and those babies definitely take part in the class too – they move so much when mums are relaxed (all those extra endorphins)! So seeing them on the outside as calm, chilled and content is the icing on the cake.