At MFT we understand the importance of specialist and practitioners. As parents we all at some point have to rely on the advice of a specialist, sometimes for the most basic, and yet fundamental, needs of our babies. MFT Meets is a new blog series of interviews with people we find extraordinary.
Our next talk is with Nicola Wilson, the founder and force of BirthStory, where she works to ensure parents enjoy a calm, confident and connected experience, from pregnancy to parenthood.
To learn more about Nicola and Birth tory, head over to her website https://birthstoryco.com where you can find hypnobirthing courses and lots of useful content!
MY FOURTH TRIMESTER: Hey Nicola! Thanks for taking the time to answer a couple of my questions. For someone who has been interested in hypnobirthing for quite some time, I realised I actually don't know much about it!
You run Birth Story. Tell us a little bit about what you do and what Birth Story is. How did you come up with an idea for a collective alongside your courses?
NICOLA: Hello I'm Nicola!! Having lived and loved hypnobirthing with my daughter Sasha, it was a dream of mine to not only train as a hypnobirth teacher but create an inclusive platform for couples to have a calm, confident & connected experience from pregnancy to parenthood. At Birth Story, mamas and papas-to-be have the opportunity to eliminate fear for empowerment with a range of hypnobirthing courses, tap into expert advice during that first heady year of parenthood and feel supported at every step of the way be it from myself or amongst a like-minded community of parents when a friendly night-feed chat is needed.
As a mum I know how daunting it can be to face the myriad of unknowns the world of parenting throws up. With the bountiful toolkit hypnobirthing provides, I wanted to create a continuation of knowledge and support for new parents - the Birth Story Collective was born. Teaming up with experts who are not only first in their fields but also parents themselves, the collective is a platform for new mums and dads to dive into when they need extra support on subjects such as sleep, weaning, family nutrition, post-natal exercise, first aid and childcare.
What is hypnobirthing? When in the pregnancy is a good time to start thinking about it (if that’s something you’re interested in)?
Hypnobirthing is all about confidence, calm, choice and celebrating that each and every birth experience is unique. By learning a range of practical tools, transformational techniques and dipping into the science of birth physiology (that’s just a fancy name for how your body works on a muscular and hormonal level!) - hypnobirthing gives couples the knowledge to make informed choices and feel prepared, both physically and emotionally, for labour and birth…all whilst remaining relaxed and in control.
In terms of getting started, I would recommend beginning your hypnobirthing journey from around 20 weeks. For those who want to dip in earlier - our monthly hypnobirth tasters are a great way to glean a feel for the course and enjoy a mini relaxation session!
What sort of hypnobirthing courses do you run? How do I know if it’s for me? And can my partner come too?
Having learnt, lived and loved the process of hypnobirthing with The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme, I selected it as my chosen teaching programme at Birth Story. Courses range from one-to-one to group, depending on whether you want to keep it cosy as a couple or fancy meeting more like-minded mums and dads-to-be. Refreshers are also available for those adding to their brood and wanting to top up their hypnobirth toolkit.
I always work with couples before they sign up to a course to ensure we start the right path for birth, complimentary welcome calls ensure we can discuss all your needs and bring in the right knowledge when it’s needed. Partners are absolutely welcome and very much included across the whole course.
I think a lot of people associate hypnobirthing with water births wihtout any type of pain relief. But that’s not the only time hypnobirthing comes in handy of course – do you want to tell us how you can use it in other birthing situations?
Let’s bust those myths mama! Hypnobirthing is for EVERYONE - we know that every mum, baby and birth is unique, and hypnobirthing celebrates this. Whether humming your baby down in a water birth at home, embracing an elective c-section with the help of marvellous medical teams or welcoming twins by trusting your body and birthing process.
Hypnobirthing gives you the tools and techniques to enable you to have a positive birth experience, however you choose to welcome your baby into the world. At Birth Story, I offer hypnobirth courses tailored to c-sections, twins, VBACS, breech and natural birth.
How has the pandemic changed the way you work and help your customers? Has the digital landscape shaped your work in any way?
Many people thought I was crazy to launch Birth Story mid-pandemic but to me, I couldn’t see a better time to help pregnant couples. With feelings of loneliness at an all time high, support groups stopped in their tracks and traditional midwifery appointments turned on their heads, I wanted to support parents-to-be at every step of their journey and ensure they weren’t alone when navigating their way through pregnancy and birth.
For me, teaching face-to-face wasn’t possible mid-pandemic so teaching online so far has been my go-to and it’s been wonderful. It’s not only opened up who I can help across the UK but allows couples to truly feel relaxed in the comfort of their home whilst learning all the tools they need for a calm and confident birth.
Knowing that mums needed an extra level of support at present, I also set up a 24/7 teacher text service so they can drop me a message should they need an extra pop of positivity or simply want a reassuring chat.
What is the role of the birthing partner in hypnobirthing?
The role of the birth partner in hypnobirthing is hugely valued. So much so, I dedicate one whole class to the birth partner. Be it simple nurturing, supporting relaxation or understanding the signs and stages of labour, I believe that a positive birth experience is all down to teamwork. A birth partner who not only understands your birthing plans but one who can advocate for you and your baby should any curveballs arise on the day.
For someone who is afraid of giving birth and fears it, how can hypnobirthing help them overcome this?
Birth anxiety is completely natural and having suffered with anxiety myself, I know how much of a roadblock it can be when wanting to enjoy a new experience. In hypnobirthing we work together to remove anxiety through fear-release exercises, mindset shift techniques and breath work. All of which helps to welcome trust and belief which in turn creates confidence, a key tool when it comes to birthing. The techniques learnt worked wonders for me in both birth and life as a whole - no more anxious Annie!
What’s the most satisfactory thing about your work?
I have had some wonderful jobs in the past, but being a hypnobirth teacher is hands down the BEST career I’ve ever had. Aside from the gorgeous babies born and unique birth stories shared from couples I teach, for me, I think one of the most satisfactory things about being a hypnobirth teacher is watching parents-to-be grow. Be it growth in confidence, growth in knowledge or growth with fervor into a new phase of their life - to be part of that journey is honestly a huge honour and something I will always be grateful for.
What do you look forward to this year ? Do you have any special projects coming up or something you’re working on?
Birth Story is still very much in its infancy so I am looking forward to growing the brand and services I can offer mamas-to-be. In terms of special projects, I have been working with the Birth Story audience to launch something hugely exciting - Birth Story’s NEW 1st Trimester Positivity Power Hour. With 80% of expectant mums sharing with me that they longed for someone to talk through their first trimester thoughts, feelings & anxieties, I have devised a 1 hour one-to-one ‘safe space’ online session which combines the chance to chat, learning how to swap pregnancy nerves for new mum confidence and offers you a mini positive pregnancy toolkit to see you through those first three months feeling calm, relaxed and in control. From first trimester trials to a cathartic fear release session and free Morning Sickness and Calm & Relaxed downloads - this one-of-a-kind session is already making a huge difference to early expectant mums.
Last but not least. What emoji describes you best at the moment and why?
Like most working mamas out there atm keeping the juggle well and truly alive, I am an emoji mix-up, currently feeling…☺️😴☕🍷
For more Birthstory:
We've teamed up with Birth Story Hypnobirthing to offer all My First Trimester followers 25% OFF all Birth Story Hypnobirthing courses - simply quote BIRTHSTORY25 when booking your course with Nicola. To discover which course is right for you, visit birthstoryco.com or email Nicola on email@example.com to book your complimentary call to discuss how you can get started on your hypnobirthing journey.