Here’s another instalment of our Midweek Midwife. Each post is written in the hope of distilling any worries that your midwife won’t be on board with hypnobirthing and this week Jade is here to tell us her views… *spoiler alert* she’s a midwife AND she loves hypnobirthing!
“Hi, my name’s Jade! I’m a midwife, working both independently at The Village Midwives and within the NHS. I teach hypnobirthing, antenatal classes and I also specialise in placenta encapsulation.
What was it that drove you towards being a midwife?
It’s hard to pinpoint a time or an event really! Coming from a large family (my mum was one of six!), I was surrounded from a very young age by pregnant family members and their babies. I was always fascinated by their bumps, the whole process of pregnancy and birth, and I guess the curiosity behind it stemmed into a passion for midwifery! I think I knew this was my career from about 13yrs old.
What’s your favourite thing about being a midwife?
Definitely watching how women and their partners transform during this amazing experience. From that first meeting at the booking appointment where they’re a mixture of excitement and nerves, to watching their bumps and love for their babies grow throughout the pregnancy, to that primal amazing awe-inspiring event that is birth, and lastly watching them get to grips with this new wriggly human- even just writing that gives me total goosebumps! It’s such a rite of passage, and such a privilege to get to watch these transformations. I have a particular passion for caring for women in labour, supporting her and helping her to realise what an absolute badass she is, encouraging her through that pivotal moment, I’ll never not love that!
In general, what ways do you see hypnobirthing helping mums when you’re working as a midwife?
I absolutely adore hypnobirthing and will bang on about it to anyone who’ll listen! Teaching hypnobirthing is another way for me to help unlock a woman’s confidence and trust in her body. It is helpful from the moment a woman learns about it, right up well into the childhood years! I see it helping mums to feel more relaxed, more trusting, more in tune with their bodies, and more connected to their birth preferences. It saddens me sometimes to see that women still walk through our doors, completely unaware and unprepared for birth, and willing to hand over responsibility of their body to someone else. Hypnobirthing is the complete opposite- I teach women that this is YOUR birth, YOUR body, YOUR preferences, and nobody is allowed to tell you you’re not allowed to do something 🙂 You need to understand what is happening and be an active participant, otherwise that’s when the fear kicks in!
What’s the biggest misconception you hear when it comes to hypnobirthing?
The biggest misconception I think is that it’s bullshit haha! Well, to put it more eloquent, that it’s all hippy-dippy nonsense and birth is meant to be painful, that’s why we invented epidurals (gah!) Something I even sadly hear from a few colleagues! It’s absolutely not bullshit. Fair enough, there are some elements that are a bit ‘woo’ as Keri would say, but it’s grounded in actual physiology and science. Your hormones aren’t bullshit, your primal needs aren’t bullshit, your physiology isn’t bullshit. Hypnobirthing helps support you to trust your body and allow these natural processes and ultimately birth to happen without fear.
If a mum was asking you about whether or not to do a hypnobirthing class, what would you say to her?
I would say 100% absolutely. Even if she was having an elective caesarean, an induced birth, a ‘high risk’ birth- literally every parent to be will benefit from hypnobirthing. The daily breathing practice, the use of smell and sound anchors, will all promote relaxation and bonding during the pregnancy, it will help you feel in control and fully able to make decisions during your birth (regardless of how that happens), and will help you to keep relaxed and confident during the postnatal period. I still benefit from my hypnobirthing techniques two years down the line!
Do you find your colleagues are supportive of hypnobirthing techniques?
Some more than others! I think the old-school midwives were raised on a culture of women ‘just getting on with it’, where birth was still viewed as a mostly normal event, women had no fear or negative connections to birth, you had a closer family network so the postnatal period was well supported. These days however, women aren’t as likely to still be close to their families, birth isn’t talked about as much, and when it is it’s mostly in a negative light, so these negative messages stick in women’s minds. That’s not to say they don’t support hypnobirthing as such, they just don’t hold much regard for it! However the vast majority of my colleagues recognise that shift in birth culture and think hypnobirthing should be done by every woman! Once you’ve seen a hypnobirth, you can never doubt how amazing it is!
Did you use any hypnobirthing techniques for your own births?
I did, with both my children! I trained with Mindful Mamma before I had my babies, and naturally started practicing and applying the techniques as soon as I could! Sophie’s amazing voice on the MP3s kept me calm and in control with both births, the first being a very fast induced birth and the second being a home waterbirth (of a boy who was 3lb heavier than his sister!!)
What’s your number one tip for a mum when it comes to giving birth? Do you have a tip for birth partners too?
My number one top tip for mums using hypnobirthing is to practice practice practice! The more you do, the easier you’ll find you can get into your zone on the day. My second top tip is to get a basic aromatherapy kit with lavendar, tea tree, bergamot, clary sage and frankincense in- you’ll get amazing benefits from all of these!
For dads, my top tip is to keep any negativity out! If mum says ‘I can’t do this’, tell her she’s doing amazingly, she’s so strong, she’s a badass who you couldn’t be more proud of- you get the idea! And take yourself a massive bag of snacks, a hungry dad is a grumpy and overwhelmed dad!
How can a mum get the best out of her midwife when she gives birth?
Tell your midwife on the phone when you call in labour that you’re using hypnobirthing. In a hospital setting, that will ensure they allocate you a midwife who is totally down with hypnobirthing, using the pool, and the other complementary things that go with hypnobirthing. In a home birth, they’ll then expect that the house will be dark, quiet etc so won’t come in like a cheerleading squad!
What’s your biggest frustration when it comes to working within the maternity ‘system’?
At the minute that’s a particularly hot topic as our unit is under threat of closure (but I won’t dwell on that as I’ll be writing an essay by the time I finished haha!). Working as a midwife in the NHS I find that I’m frequently frustrated at not being able to give one-to-one care where I’d like to. Focus is so much on documentation and paperwork in this new age of increased litigation that we’re often unable to focus our attention 100% on the women and their babies. And on a busy day where you don’t get breaks and are expected to jump from one birth to the next, it’s hard work and disheartening. I think most midwives these days would like to be doulas, as that’s the care and support we would love to be able to give!”
If you’d like to find out more about the lovely Jade, you can find her here:
Website: The Village Midwives
Facebook: The Village Midwives
If Jade’s words have inspired you to think maybe hypnobirthing isn’t all ‘hippy-dippy nonsense’ and that actually it could be for you… why not look up your local course. If you happen to live in Essex- we’ve got you covered here! Just send us an email and we’ll tell you what we’ve got in store (Southend and surrounding areas- email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and Upminster and surrounding areas- email@example.com) or you can dive straight in and book onto a course here.