When my wife first told me about hypnobirthing I literally laughed out loud at her. It was partially due to the awful description she gave of the process and partially down to my preconceptions of sitting in a village hall while 10 couples watched a pendant swing back and forth, singing some baby based version of kumbaya. After my hysteria eventually subsided, I did what I do best and read some bits about what hypnobirthing actually is. Surprised, quite impressed, but still not convinced, we booked onto the NHS course offered by our local hospital. Luckily for us, this course was put on for free and consisted of 4 sessions. The reason (we were told) that it was now becoming a pre-birth option was due to the research being done into birth preparation showing that hypnobirthing techniques significantly reduced the need for drugs – cost cutting? Maybe. Anyway low and behold, 3 days before our course was due to start, it was cancelled and rescheduled meaning that we would only have 2 of the 4 sessions before the due date. Obviously, this threw us off a bit and we had a rethink.

Almost by chance, that week, my wife had booked in a massage with Abigail Todd at The Birth Nest (formally known as Empowering Birthing) – a gift from her friends. I made myself scarce and went to the pub while the baby and the missus got a relaxing rub, not the worst deal for me to be fair. When I got home, Lis and Abi were talking about a number of things and in my somewhat brash way I asked what else Abi did besides the baby massage. She explained that she has been around birthing for number of years, working with pregnant couples to help them with various aspects of pregnancy. She is a masseuse, a teacher and a doula – talented woman. Not only that, it turns out she is an absolute legend. To be honest, I’m not an easy person to impress but after chatting with Abi for a short time and seeing the resultant relaxation of her session, I was intrigued about the other stuff she did. On top of it all I felt strangely calmed by her extensive knowledge and tranquil, down to earth manner. After Abi had gone, Lis said that she offered hypnobirthing privately… a solution to our NHS course issue, but I wasn’t sure if we could afford to pay money for something I still laughed about every time she mentioned it. Being the considerate husband I am, I thought I need to do anything I can do to help pre-birth. So we booked in with Abi (that roughly translates to my wife got her own way again).

I hoped (oh so dearly) that the course was going to be the opposite to my somewhat prejudice image of pendants and rain dances. The first thing Abi did when we started the session was dispel the myths surrounding hypnobirthing. After this she took us on a surreal journey of discovery and I’m not saying that in anyway sarcastically. I literally loved it. The transparency of what the course consisted of and what we should expect from it made me believe in it even more. Abi’s delivery was just spot on and even when we asked some really off topic questions, she was versatile and responded perfectly making the whole experience about us. To my wife’s utter dismay, I was significantly more affected by it all – seriously, I’m converted. I have intentionally been vague about why as I feel like hypnobirthing is about figuring out what you want so I’m not comfortable talking about the intricacies of the content; however, I will just say any fears about birth I had before have been completely quelled.

Booking a private course that takes place in our home has meant that we are so much more prepared because I will be honest, if we did what we did during the session in front of others I would have been nowhere near as confident or comfortable. In fact, being at home, in the place (I assume) Lis will go into labour made the session even more valuable to us.

On reflection, after our first session we can’t believe how good Abi was. I can’t put into words how pleased I was with the course, the content and the teacher – the cost is already irrelevant in light of how positive we felt after taking part. Can’ wait for next week.

If you want to know more about Abi and The Birth Nest her website is http://www.empoweringbirthing.co.uk/ or you can call her on 07886569403 she is currently rebranding!