I had never heard of HypnoBirthing, however when it was suggested to me I thought I would give it a try. If I’m honest, the name ‘HypnoBirthing’ was slightly off-putting as I thought I was going to be ‘hypnotised’ to get through labour. However that couldn’t have been further from the truth as I was totally in control of labour, which was exactly what I wanted.

I soon came to realise during the weekly sessions with Gill that the philosophy behind HypnoBirthing made complete sense. My husband was quite sceptical about how effective HypnoBirthing would be but was surprisingly quick at becoming open-minded about it as an approach to childbirth. However he did reserve complete judgement until after the ‘big day’ had been and gone.

I felt confident and in controlBefore ‘D’ day arrived we had taken time out to practice the various techniques that Gill had taught us. These proved invaluable and it gave me real confidence knowing that I had a ‘toolbox’ of techniques to draw upon. It also gave me the confidence to listen to my body and trust it to know what to do without me or the midwives ‘interfering’. I was able to go into a state of deep relaxation which, combined with the breathing techniques, made the contractions very manageable throughout the process. Even at the last stage of labour I wanted to give my baby a calm and peaceful birth, ideally without the use of any pain relief, although I hadn’t set myself a rigid target about it and certainly wasn’t going to become a martyr to the cause. However, in the end, with the techniques that Gill had taught us I was able to go into a ‘bubble’ of my own and managed the whole process without the need for – or even thought of – pain relief.

Gill was a very calm, patient and questioning teacher. I found that Gill, and the HypnoBirthing approach to labour gave us the opportunity to give our baby the calm and peaceful birth that I wanted.

Vicky and Nick, second baby

As the partner I had a definite role
Gill was a great teacher, and really made us feel comfortable. The course is very practical and real, not fluffy at all. It really gives you an understanding of how the body works the amazing things it does and how to work with it.

Being the father-to-be can seems a little like you’re a spare part sometimes, most of the stories you hear don’t really mention dads when describing the birthing experience. With HypnoBirthing I feel like I was given a definite role as birth partner, not only someone to be there during birth but someone to practice relaxation techniques with. We’ve been doing regular exercises in breathing and visualization together, throughout which I feel we’ve really bonded, I feel much more involved in the whole process!

Darren, first baby

Helped even with my third birth
The HypnoBirthing sessions made me feel calmer and more prepared for the birth of my third baby than I had for the first two. It was great to be more informed about the physiological processes going on during labour. The breathing techniques helped me enormously to manage the first stage, giving me something to focus on, keeping me calm and helping me to have the natural home birth that I wanted. Thanks, Gill!

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Lucy, third baby

Helped me throughout my long labour
I realised I was worrying so much about the actual birth of my baby, that it was starting to taint the enjoyment of my pregnancy. A friend recommended doing HypnoBirthing to help ease the anxiety and after a bit of research, we decided it was definitely something we wanted to do. I looked up tutors in my area and choose Gillian Blake after her lovely reply to my email enquiry.

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Gill coached us over a 5 week period. She taught me that if I understood exactly what my body was doing during labour and birth, I could reduce tension allowing my body to relax and help make birth a pleasurable experience for baby and me! Gill also taught us relaxation techniques that, when practiced, enable you to get into a place of deep relaxation and calm quite quickly.

To help practice our relaxation techniques, Gill gave us a CD with positive affirmations such as “I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby” and “I feel confident, I feel safe, I feel secure” and “I am prepared to calmly meet whatever turn my birthing may take“.The affirmations were great so I had James record himself saying them to make it a bit more personal!

I am certain that if I hadn’t done my HypnoBirthing course, I would not have coped as well with the turns my birthing took. I remember reading that 12 hours of labour is quite average for a first baby, our labour lasted 110 hours. If I had not done the HypnoBirthing course, I know I would not have been able to last that long. I would probably have been looking for some kind of induction after two days of surges. I wasn’t thinking about how many days of continuous surges were passing (day and night), I was just taking each surge one by one and breathing through it just as Gill had taught me.

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I am amazed how well I coped, I surprised myself – being able to stay calm, I continued my breathing throughout and I felt well informed. Gill was, in a word ‘amazing’! She answered all my questions, of which there were MANY!

In preparation for the birth of my baby, I did both my HypnoBirthing course and antenatal course. If I had to choose just one, it would definitely be HypnoBirthing. Without question. I learned so much with Gill, there was nothing she didn’t or couldn’t answer, her knowledge was endless. I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you Gill, you are amazing!

Lee and James, first baby