Today we are in the spotlight with Deborah Pyrn who helps couples by teaching hypnobirthing.
Deborah is a colleague, friend and a member of Baby Berkshire like myself.
I am very lucky to photograph families that have used Deborah's services and they all have all said that it really did help them.
Over to Deborah
I discovered hypnobirthing when I was pregnant for the first time over four years ago. Growing up I had always been terrified of giving birth, believing it would be the worst pain ever! I remember I used to tense up and cross my legs when people mentioned giving birth!
But, I was fortunate that A GP mentioned how much hypnobirthing had helped her and then my midwife said how amazing it was, so I booked on a 4x week course.
The course was transformative in so many ways - I remember thinking after the first class, I want to do this as a job, I want to help women feel good about giving birth.
I couldn’t believe that by the end of the first class, I already felt better about giving birth. And each week that feeling grew, till by the time I finished, my fears and anxieties had faded away and I was looking forward to meeting our daughter.
Hypnobirthing gave me an understanding of how our bodies work and why feeling afraid is the worst thing in labour - essentially fear and panic kicks in our fight, flight or freeze response, which means we produce adrenaline and in labour this means that the muscles in the uterus can’t work properly. If you think of it in terms of mammals it makes total sense - an animal giving birth in the wild has this amazing reflex, if she senses or spots a predator nearby, she can pause or stop giving birth, move to somewhere safe and have her baby in safety. We still have those instincts -like the nesting instinct, we want and need to feel safe in order to have our babies more smoothly.
So hypnobirthing helps you understand how our bodies work and more importantly how our minds work - we don’t have the same threats as mammals in the wild but, anything that causes stress, being stuck in traffic or worrying about the future triggers the same response - it’s the way our subconscious minds work. It’s why if you remember an argument you had years ago you can still feel angry, or if you daydream about a future holiday you feel calm and happy, or if you have a crazy nightmare you can wake up and feel unsettled or scared for a while - however silly the nightmare was! Our thoughts produce a physiological response in our bodies.
Hypnobirthing is a very practical course - you learn how the mind works and body works in labour and then you and your birth partner learn tools to help you cope. It not only helps you deal with worries and anxieties about birth, it helps you deal with worries and anxieties generally. It also teaches you breathing, relaxation and massage techniques that help in labour. It means you have a more enjoyable pregnancy too and that you sleep much better! And birth partners almost always fall asleep in class during the relaxation sessions.
For me, it meant that my first birth was my ‘dream’ birth - a home birth, in a pool, with no pain relief.
This is something I would never have been able to imagine years ago! It was a game-changer for me, it taught me that women’s bodies are incredible and that our minds are so powerful.
It also prompted my career-change - before that I’d worked for years as Deputy Editor on the National Trust Magazine, a great job. But, after having my daughter I knew I wanted to do something totally different, something that lights me up - to teach hypnobirthing, to help other women understand how positive pregnancy and birth can be, and more importantly to help cope with fear and anxiety in simple practical ways, and that you don’t have to feel scared about birth -it’s not a given to feel afraid.
I also wanted a job that I could fit around my babies - I teach evenings and weekends, and for now it works. It means I get to be with by kids and do something that brings me happiness and fulfilment when they’re asleep in the evenings. I have a gorgeous and comfy garden studio and work from there and teach group classes of a maximum of 4 couples or private classes.
Some people think that hypnobirthing is just for certain births - home births, or natural births, and some people think of hypnobirthing in terms of ‘working’ or ‘not working’ - working meaning that everything goes to plan and you have your ideal birth. But it’s not like that. Hypnobirthing can’t guarantee you a certain birth but it helps you whatever happens.
I’ve taught over 200 couples and the birth stories on my website are inspiring and all different - they show that hypnobirthing is not about what happens on the day but the mindset you have. And I experienced this first hand with my second birth almost 2 years ago.
It was completely the other end of the birth spectrum to my homebirth, an elective C-Section (my son managed to get into a transverse lie at 40 weeks -very rare, he clearly has my sense of direction) but the birth experience was amazing and positive.
My second birth was definitely a case of the right birth on the day. Read my positive C-section story and find out how amazing and positive the experience
There was laughter - my husband played the ‘Circle of Life’ (on my iPhone) as Noah was lifted out. We had aromatherapy oils, music, a photo and affirmation board - I used my breathing techniques (particularly when the pain relief wore off towards the end) and self-hypnosis (daydreaming) techniques and it was so positive. I breastfed him soon after he was born. It was an amazing positive experience for me too.
I love my work, it’s a passion and a hobby. For me, it’s evolved to become about dealing with fear and anxious thoughts more generally. So that you feel more relaxed during pregnancy, labour and motherhood.
I run pregnancy relaxation and postnatal relaxation classes - which have been a total hit, women keep coming back each week, or repeating the course, which is lovely for me, because one of my favourite things is connecting with people and I love getting to see my clients again.
The postnatal relaxation - https://www.boldlyglowbirthing.com/postnatal-classes-in-reading/ course in particular has been transformative, so many of the mums keep repeating the course as they’ve noticed how positive the impact has been on their mood and day to day life - I cover relaxation techniques, mindfulness, affirmations, gratitude, controlling negative thoughts and lots more and I’ve created on an online version of this course as so many mums want to come but can’t leave their babies in the evening.
Postnatal classes in Reading just for you gorgeous mamas, with guided relaxations, specific techniques to boost your mood, and an amazing sharing circle, where you can listen and chat to other like-minded mums.
I also have started an honest motherhood blog series on my website, where mums I’ve taught write openly and honestly about the ups and downs of being a mum and I run coffee mornings each month where mums can talk openly about motherhood and anything else. I’ve created a real community, which was one of my dreams when I first started teaching 3 years ago.