After our first experience of hypnobirthing, my life felt transformed. I told everybody I knew (and a few I didn’t) how amazing the whole experience was and how I was converted to a new life of calmness and relaxation. Walking with a zen-induced bounce in my step, I felt like I was going to be a good dad and an even better birthing partner – calm and relaxed, so calm and relaxed.

The second session was equally as good as the first. I fell asleep during one of the affirmations – although I was in the dog house for being more affected than my wife, it just goes to show that in the right mind frame you can completely relax – even if you have an ADHD level of energy normally. As our birthing egos grew, we felt prepared for the birth of our baby. We were half way through the taught part of our hypnobirthing course and we had learnt tonnes about birthing and physiology – already money well spent.

It was about midnight on the evening after the second session when our unexpected friend Braxton Hicks paid us an impromptu visit. After an abrupt few metaphorical knocks on the cervix wall, we were certainly not calm and relaxed, so calm and relaxed. In fact we were fucking panicking. My only offer of solution was “stay calm and sit on the bouncy ball, it will be ok!” – a far cry from my perceived confidence of just 2 hours before at the end of the second hypno session. It was a big wake up for us, but it didn’t pop our hypnobirthing bubble of confidence. It just put things (painfully) into perspective.

I’m happy that it happened (Lis not so much) because it reminded us that theory and practice are two very different things. It showed us that hypnobirthing is a tool to keep calm, not a complete solution for panic. It needs to be used properly and it also needs to be practiced quite frequently to have the most effect. Basically, you can’t just do the course and think it’s going to give you a pain free birth. You need to prepare – Oh god, I sound like I think I know what I’m doing…!

That week we did our homework (like good students) and in the last two sessions, Abi added to our knowledge of hypnosis and taught us some more calming techniques. By the end, we felt ACTUALLY prepared – not 2 weeks in falsely confident prepared, but actually ready for the birth. I can’t recommend hypnobirthing enough, it has taught us so much about the process of birth, how to deal with different scenarios and most importantly, it has got us to talk about expectations. Braxton knocking was a good wake up, we are ready for baby now!