London Hypnobirthing Class (Shepherds Bush)

Saturday 24th March 2018, 10am-4pm (one day workshop)
The Happiness Centre, Shepherds Bush, London W12

Are you wanting to take relaxed, mindful control of your own birthing process?

During this one-day intensive, you will learn specific mindfulness and hypnotherapy techniques to help you navigate the birthing process. You’ll better understand the birthing roadmap and how to overcome apprehensions along the way. These practical techniques are demonstrated then practised during the workshop.

This hands-on approach encourages both you and your partner to feel more calm, deeply relaxed and confident. You will be more fully-prepared to ride the waves of your birthing journey on the actual day your miracle occurs. Over my years as a Hypnotherapist and Meditation Teacher at The Happiness Centre I have seen many positive, heart-warming birthing stories following these workshops and look forward to hopefully supporting yours too.

Any questions? Email alexis@thehappinesscentre.com

10th December 2017 – Brighton

Really useful 1-day workshop that will prepare you on many levels and in many ways for the birth of your baby.

Discover how amazing you body is, how it works in labour, and how you and your partner can help to support you mentally, physically, and practically through birth, in whichever birth setting you are in.

Arrive feeling nervous and anxious. Leave feeling confident and calmer.

And continue to build on that in the next few weeks, practising techniques, fine-tuning your birth wishes, and listening to audio tracks.

Pay deposit £30 online to reserve your space. 💝 Festive balance of £69 (normally £100) to be paid directly to Liz at least 7 days before the event.

Posted on

Birth Story: Katie shares the story of her Neo’s birth

Katie attended a class in Loughborough with Fernanda Salfity, here she share’s the story of her son’s birth.

“I would really like to share my birth story with other expectant mothers please as I feel that hypnobirthing allowed me to have the birth I never thought would be possible.”

“This time 3 weeks ago I was  searching for positive hypnobirthing induction birth stories trying to keep a positive frame of mind about my upcoming labour. I had agreed to be induced at 41+5. I am so pleased to now be able to share my own positive birth story!

In the build up to my induction date I tried to kick start my labour as naturally as possible with the usual attempts of eating spicy food, pineapple, clary Sage oil baths and massage, bouncing on my birthing ball, long walks, hypnotherapy, acupressure points- the list goes on. With no success I tried 2 sweeps over week 41 but again, no success.

I had initially started learning hypnobirthing techniques to reduce my fear and anxiety around birth, due to a spinal condition I had been told I was unable to have an epidural and that c-section may be the best method of delivery for me. My partner and I attended Fernanda’s mindful mama course in Loughborough and immediately felt the benefits of viewing pregnancy and birth in a more positive way. My partner and I both felt that Fernanda had a very calming influence on us and so, following the course I asked Fernanda to be my Doula during labour.

I went into hospital on Saturday night and had the first hormone pessary, I ended up having 2 of these over the next 24 hours because they kept on falling out. My body did respond to the hormones and surges built up and slowed back down repeatedly over 2-3 days. This was not the labour I had envisioned or planned. At one stage while being monitored my baby’s heart rate had increased and the midwives needed to find a clear baseline to establish whether or not he was distressed. Using the Mindful hypnobirthing MP3 I managed to calm the baby’s heart rate back to normal. This for me was clear evidence of how a calm mother can help to create a calm baby.

The hypnobirthing techniques I had learned helped me to stay relaxed and maintain an open mind throughout my birthing journey. Fernanda’s knowledge and experience helped us feel in control; she empowered us to make informed decisions during my time in hospital.

At 4pm on the Monday I was taken to the delivery suite and started on the hormone drip, things got intense pretty quickly. I used pregnancy and birth affirmations through headphones, a cooling eye mask to help block out my surroundings and any distractions. I also used a tens machine and gas and air to help manage the discomfort of surges. I listened to the Contraction Wave MP3 when surges became more intense. At 5.17am baby Neo made his arrival weighing 9lb 12oz, I had a natural delivery and extended skin-to-skin contact before my partner cut the cord and Neo was checked over and weighed. He is now 3 weeks old and people regularly comment on what an alert and chilled out baby he is.

As a family we cannot thank Fernanda enough for all her help and support, we now highly recommend hypnobirthing and having a Doula to anyone we know expecting a baby!”

Brighton Hypnobirthing

A fantastic one-day birth prep workshop.

Encompassing eye-opening, penny-dropping birth education, simple and effective hypnobirthing techniques, local birth-setting and hospital protocol knowledge, and a “how to” navigate your way through it confidently section!

Whether you are first-time parents or not; whether you want a VBAC; whether you are a single-mum, an “old” mum, an IVF mum; whether you want your birth at home or hospital – whatever your circumstances or preferences, you will be pleased you did this workshop.

What better way to start heading towards your empowered birth, and to start growing your “village” with other like-minded people? As the old African proverb says “It takes a village to raise a child.”

The full price of the workshop is £130. The deposit of £30 payable online when you book your space. The balance to be paid at least 7 days before the event.

Posted on

Trust your birth intuition

Trust Your Birth Intuition
Your intuition knows how to birth.

Trusting your birth intuition can make all the difference.

by Sophie Fletcher

I wanted to talk to you about birth intuition today, as it is so important with birth.  One of my mantras is ‘trust your intuition’, but it’s a bit of a floppy suggestion, what does that actually mean?  What is your birth intuition and how do you listen to it when it’s trying to tell you something?

I was at a birth recently, a super fast, second birth with no drugs at all, a baby girl who was a little over 8.5 lbs with a physiological third stage and no nicks or tears.  The look on the mothers face afterwards – it was awesome.  For her it was a completely different experience to her first birth when labour was hurried along by breaking her waters, which lead to an epidural, episiotomy and forceps delivery.  After her first birth, she was so shaky she couldn’t hold her baby.

What a difference!  But it wasn’t just because she was a second mum, true, she prepared well with hypnosis for birth but she also listened to her birth intuition this time and didn’t try and tick the labour checklist off with every little niggle or set of Braxton Hicks, falling into the trap of thinking labour had started while her body was still just warming up.   She didn’t go to the hospital too early and she listened to what her body was telling her to do.

It was an interesting birth, my head told me that she would be early, for certain reasons, but I didn’t feel it. I was in no hurry to pack my back, and the birth somehow felt distant to me.  I didn’t get many texts from the mum, as she was so busy with other things.  Then the Thursday before the birth, at 40+3 I packed my bag. I didn’t even think about it, I suddenly stopped myself and thought “Hmmm why have I done that?” This commonly happens, somehow I know when to pack a bag.

Then on Friday I cancelled a tennis match that I really wanted to play in. It would have taken me 1.5 hours  away from my client, and although I’d played a match on the Thursday, this time is was different; it didn’t feel right, like a hint of pressure in my chest when I thought about going.  I even had a vivid dream that night, that her labour was so quick they wouldn’t have time to fill the pool!

Sure enough Saturday afternoon I got a text saying that she was going to call her mother in law, for ‘a bit of security’ to look after her other child. I knew then that this baby was coming, even though she wasn’t in labour.   She wrote, “nothing is happening, thought it was the start in the morning, but they must have been Braxton hicks contractions as they stopped”.   She reflected afterwards that if this were her first birth, she would have probably gone to the hospital at that point.

Then in the evening I got a message saying things had started and that she was fine, then later in the evening, I got a very laid back text saying things were moving along they were 5 minutes apart and lasting 1min30 seconds. I just knew, rang and asked if she wanted me there, so she said “I think you should come over but don’t hurry” (when a very laid back second time mum says this, in a spaced out way, I hurry!).

Sure enough she was at home with her music on, just rocking with the contractions and quietly breathing through them.   The dad wanted to go in, but I reassured him that she’d know when to go in. If she’s asking “is it time to go in” or it’s your suggestion as a birth partner, it’s too early.  After the next contraction had passed she said, “no I’ll wait a bit”, then the next contraction came  and she said “now it’s time”;  in the space of 10 minutes it was time to go.  Afterwards she said they were just different, and she just felt it was time to go, her birth intuition had kicked in.

Once we arrived in labour suite they were down to 3 minutes apart, after a quick exam she was 6/7 cms dilated, shortly after that her waters broke.  Her baby was born just 30minutes later, after she quietly gave one little push to little to bring babies head into the world.   No guided pushing or straining, her little girl slid her head and shoulders out, had a good look around and then the rest of her followed very quickly.  Within 10 mins baby was latched on, followed by the placenta.

For me this birth was all about ‘just knowing’ when things were starting, “just knowing’ the right time to go into hospital or call the midwives. This mum had listening to her Mindful Mamma mp3s every day, but had also been busy with a toddler and many other happy distractions in her life, so she hadn’t pounced on those early warm up contractions, instead trusting her that birth intuition.   It also interested me how more and more, I just ‘know’ too. My bag is always packed at the right time, I always have childcare in place, and well, you know, whatever you believe, that dream was true!

Just the difference between two contractions was enough to make the choice to go the hospital. Prepare so you are relaxed and trusting in birth, let go of your fear using hypnosis if you can.  When you get near to your date see those niggles and on off contractions as warm ups, stop starting maybe until your body just clicks into the rhythm of labour.  Stop thinking about it, switch your focus to something else that can absorb you, don’t intellectualise. Trust you will know, here is a checklist:

Listening to your birth intuition:

  • Trust hunches, don’t ‘think’.
  • If it doesn’t feel right or you are asking someone else’s opinion, consider not doing it.
  • If you have to question if it’s the right time to go to hospital, it is probably far too early. (Don’t let other people push you into going, research shows that women often end up in hospital too early as their partner wants to hand over responsibility). If you recognize these, “shall we go? Maybe yes – just to be on the safe side, “Why don’t we go in just to get checked”, “You can get settled in. oh, okay” it’s not the right time.  It should be a “Let’s go, now!” from the mum.
  • If you are able to make a cup of tea, have nap either in bed or the bath it’s too early to go in.

Signs to go in hospital or call the midwife in a normal birth;

  •  It just ‘feels’ different.
  • Your contractions are 3-4 minutes apart and lasting longer than a minute – this really does mean a minute or more – early contractions may get regular, but may still be shorter than a minute, maybe lasting 40 seconds or so, then may drop off for a while before starting up again, then they may be more spaced apart but lasting longer. Some antenatal teachers may say strong and long.
  • You have pressure in your bottom, not your back  – you feel as if you need to have a poo.
  • You really don’t want to get in the car (this is unfortunate if you are off to hospital).
  • You don’t really want to hold a conversation with everyone around you.
  • Something tells you that you absolutely have to go to hospital now, or call the midwife.

 

Posted on

Birth Meditation

Birth Meditation

by Sophie Fletcher at Mindful Mamma UK

I wrote this birth meditation a few years ago after I attended a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh, a well known Buddhist monk. He’s written a very beautiful pebble meditation which I do sometimes with my children, but which I’ve adapted for pregnancy. I just thought that it fitted perfectly.  We give it out as an additional birth meditation or a slightly different way to do your affirmations in our class, it’s not for everyone but give it a chance as it can be a very peaceful thing to do.

You can either do this birth meditation on its own,  just read it out loud somewhere quiet to yourself on a daily basis, or actually do a pebble mediation with it. To do this go for a quiet walk and collect 4 pebbles on your way. Each time you do the birth meditation, for each element take a pebble in your hand, a round one can be reflective or pregnancy, and turn it over in your hand observing the pebble closely, it’s weight, how it feels in your hand, what you can see on it then read the affirmation with that pebble before moving onto the next pebble and next affirmation.

You can continue to do this birth mediation with you baby, then toddler after they are born. It’s a very simple but lovely exercise as it does connect you unconsciously with the true depths and heights of your being during pregnancy.

 

Mindful Mamma Birth Meditation

Birth Meditation
I am like a flower.

 

“I am beautiful like a flower, aware of this tiny baby blossoming like a flower within me. I am unique, my baby is unique. I promise to nourish and love myself, thereby nourishing and loving my baby growing within. By watering the flower within me, we both grow strong and healthy. At birth I unfold like a flower unfurling in the warmth of the sun.”

 

 

Birth Meditation Mindful Mamma
Strong like a mountain

 

“I am strong like a mountain. I touch the earth and sky, at one with nature and with my baby. In my strength and my solidity I support my baby. With this strength I empower myself and prepare for my incredible birth”

 

 

Birth Meditation
Moon birth reflection lake

 

“I am like a lake. Crystal clear, calm and tranquil. Still – as if you could take the perfect picture. In my tranquility and peace, peace and tranquility in others are reflected. My baby benefits from this calm and their development and birth is also reflected in my tranquility. When I smile, others see this peace deeply within me and I reflect on my love for my baby developing within his or her calm and peaceful waters”

 

 

Birth Meditation
Space around and within me.

 

“I am like space. I have movement all around and feel my baby moving freely within. My mind is free and still. My focus is clear in this space and I have freedom and a deep sense of peace and of who I am and how I communicate with my baby growing within me. Space gives me clarity and comfort both while I am pregnant and during my baby’s birth”

 

 

Adapted from the pebble meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

Copyright Sophie Fletcher 2009.

 

 

Posted on

Why the Fuss About Birth and not about the baby?

Babies need to be water with love and patience.

 Why the fuss about birth and not the baby? 

By Sophie Fletcher

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept is as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” 

Eckhart Tolle

Recently I was reminded by a friend about the bigger picture.  She said birth is just a small part of the journey we experience as pregnant women. The much bigger part of the experience is what comes after – motherhood. She wondered why women are so focused on the actual birth rather than their baby and suggested that this preoccupation with birth prevents a woman from wholly preparing to be a mother, connecting with her baby on their journey.

There is no doubt that the focus has shifted from having a baby, and the baby themselves, to how the women are going to manage the birth, get the right pushchair, finish the nursery, perhaps moving house (surprisingly common!) or how long their maternity leave is going to be.   In our Mindful Mamma classes at the beginning we ask everyone to spontaneously write on a note the first word that springs to mind when you think of birth, very often baby isn’t in the mix, instead words like pain, control, blood, long and hard work float to the surface from fears harbored in the unconscious.

But the truth of it is that from conception to birth to motherhood is a life creating, life changing, daunting, challenging and absobloodylutely incredible journey. Birth is just a moment, an intense moment, of a period in your life that will bring you highs and lows, tears and laughter, fear and joy.   There is nothing more frightening than a baby making their first wobbly steps near your mother-in-law’s granite fireplace and nothing more wonderful than your baby’s chubby arms loosely clasped around your neck as they fall asleep rhythmically breathing into your ear.   But we don’t dwell on any of these before they happen, we experience those moments as they happen and enjoy them or manage them skillfully in the moment.

Imagine conception as the planting of a seed, the seed growing beneath the surface nurtured by the soil, out of sight but watched expectantly until it breaks through the surface.  The plant continues to grow but from this moment is reliant on the water and sunlight to grow and blossom.   Just as this plant needs water and sunlight your baby needs your love, care and gentle compassion to nourish their emotional well-being and growth.

Motherhood can be a wonderful thing and it can also be a mirror of birth in terms of the emotions.  There is fear, there is sometimes that sense of losing control, and there is joy, happiness, the worry of not knowing what is the right way and wrong way to do it.

Birth is just the beginning, and just like motherhood you can choose to get on and do it and do it your way, intuitively with love, strength and patience.   Your baby’s journey into this world begins at birth, just as your journey into motherhood begins and your partner’s journey into fatherhood begins.

So allow yourself to become aware in this moment of your baby, the core of your being, your connection with each other and how you are moving forward together hand in hand on a new, exciting and eventful journey that will last long after the birth.

Prior to the birth, allow yourself the time to reflect on what type of teacher you want to be, how you want your baby to learn. Being mindful of that responsibility, reflecting and welcoming that role will in turn strengthen and prepare you the birth – the moment that your journey begin and the moment that your flower nudges through the soil and begins to grow into a beautiful blossom cared for and loved by you.

 

 

Posted on

Birth Time, Magical Time. Finding depth and space to birth in timelessness.

Birth Time, Magical Time

By Sophie Fletcher

There is a reason why I say no clocks or watches in the birth room, it’s birth time not day time. Focussing on the passing of time can actually slow it down, doesn’t time go faster when you are not fixated on a clock or watch?

Birth time

I recently came across the word Kairos, which is an ancient Greek word meaning opportune or supreme moment. The Greeks had two words for time chronos and Kairos. Chronos is about sequential time, but Kairos is time in between time, moments when we are displaced from time as we know it and when something special can happen, something out of the ordinary.  This is where I think birth time is.

It struck me that this is how it is at birth, a time between time when something transcendental happens.

Could we access this place, this birth time through intentional techniques like hypnosis or meditation, or do we do it naturally? It can be either I think. When working with hypnosis in our classes we do a very deep relaxation, it only lasts about 20 minutes, but inevitably people always assume that it was 5 or 10 minutes. This is what’s known as time distortion; when we are in an altered state like hypnosis it’s as if we tumble out of physical time, and have the opportunity to roam freely in a timeless state. It’s a great experience and is incredibly energizing, it’s as if your inner psyche somehow refocuses its lens on life.

It’s very similar with mindfulness, though they way we access and experience that state can be different. During birth time, mindfulness is about being in the moment, being aware of those sensations in the right now, accepting them in that moment, without experiences from the past or expectations of the future leaking into that moment. It’s a state of clarity and of connection with your body and your baby. If you are in the moment during birth, you just experience a sensation and you manage it whether it is pain or anything else. However, if you become afraid of that sensation, projecting things you have read, seen and heard onto that sensation it becomes worse and you can lose your sense of perception.

Using hypnosis during birth can be about accessing a deep state of relaxation but can also be about adapting the current situation through subconscious change,  or it can be for disassociation, separating ourselves from things we do not wish to experience, such as pain.

When we are in the moment or deeply relaxed hypnotic state we are not thinking of the past or the future, those are where our fears or apprehensions lie. We are between time when we are in birth time. Both meditation and hypnosis correspond with a theta brain state, the state when you brain waves slow down to a rate that is comparable to the stage when you are just slipping into sleep – you know that state, just as you are drifting off.

Being deeply relaxed whether you are using mediation or hypnosis can help your body to do what it does naturally, allowing your muscles to work optimally.

When I teach my classes, I say to couples I believe that whilst sometimes hypnosis can be useful during the birth, for example to get you back in your birthing zone, you can do it perfectly well without. I’ve met enough midwives, watched enough women birthing, and spoken to women who have birthed without hypnosis to know that women automatically enter into an altered state, a theta state during birth. As a hypnotherapist I see people in that state all the time. Some women say it was as if they weren’t actually in their body but were observing what was happening.

The trick is to train yourself to let go of the fear that stops you from being in that moment, and to change how your subconscious reacts to birth. This allows you to automatically switch into a comfortable birthing zone. Hypnosis is a brilliant way of doing this. Preparation is vital, listening to our Mindful Mamma mp3s, going to a class or seeing a hypnotherapist can help you prepare your mind and your body so that when you birth you are able to be in that moment, free of worry or fear and able to experience something extraordinary.

Trust me and trust yourself; what a remarkable gift, to be given access to a space between time, where something magical happens that will bring you one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever receive.