Jenn has been a loyal and lovely Twelve Moons client since fairly on in her pregnancy, she came along to pregnancy yoga as well as hypnobirthing and it has been a delight to be just a tiny part of her journey. To see her stepping into her own power, with brilliant support of her husband Stu, was really special to witness. So I thought it might be a nice idea to ask Jenn some questions on pregnancy, birth and very new motherhood (sweet Erin is only 2 weeks old as she is writing this!) as a way of catching up, giving everyone a sneak peak into this precious time in her families life as well as seeing how hypnobirthing in particular helped her and Stu. So... here we go!
How did you first feel when you found out you were pregnant?
"Oh gosh, I can’t put it into words! After 5 years of trying for a baby and multiple IVF attempts, to see two lines on the test was beyond everything to us. It’s funny though, despite it being everything we wanted I still remember thinking - ‘oh!! Are we doing the right thing?!’ I was always the girl who couldn’t get pregnant, it kind of became my badge, it felt weird (and wonderful!) to give that up.
We spent that day in the most wonderful bubble and went out for lunch - I remember being so excited not being able to eat things on the menu because ‘I’m pregnant!’. It was the best feeling."
When did you start thinking about birth and how did you initially feel?
"My initial response to this was to say I’ve always thought about birth, I’m a little bit obsessed with one born every minute, and loving hearing my friends birth stories. But in fact, I didn’t REALLY start thinking about it until I was 7 months pregnant and we started Amy’s hypnobirthing course. There was so much I just presumed or thought I already knew, when in fact I was only touching the sides. I’ve just always said ‘as long as baby arrives safely that’s all that matters’, but it’s not, it’s definitely the priority, but it’s not ALL that matters. There’s the prep, the questions, the research, and not forgetting the 4th trimester to prepare for - which id never considered to be an equally important chapter to the rest!"
Did your attitude towards birth prep change throughout pregnancy and how?
"Yes! I’ve always been a bit of a plan fan, love nothing more than a to do list and an agenda, but for birth, I decided from the beginning that I didn’t want a plan so that I wasn’t disappointed if it didn’t go that way. I’d heard people say that before and presumed it was the most sensible approach. A couple of my friends had had a home birth but I didn’t even consider it being right for me as this was my first, I felt safer knowing I was going to be surrounded by doctors.
But then I met Amy, and I mentioned my ‘no plan plan’ approach and was surprised by her reaction of it being better to have multiple plans than no plans, I just hadn’t thought of it that way! Next thing I’m signing up for hypnobirthing and pregnancy yoga - I remember thinking ‘now it feels real’ after our first session and my attitude towards birth grew with more excitement and confidence every week that went by, to the point where we even decided that a home birth was the right route for us. "
What parts of the Hypnobirthing course did you find particularly helpful?
"Surprisingly, because I thought it would be more about the breathing and the actual ‘hypno’ element that I’d say here, but it was actually the fact that Stu and I felt more educated and in control of our birth. Knowing what our options were and felt like we were going into it so much more knowledgeable.
I love the focus on the birthing partner too, it’s so easy to spend too much time talking about mum and baby when in fact, the person I needed to be strongest on the day was Stu. Thanks to the course Stu & I talked about everything from if and what pain relief I’d want, all the way through to what essential oils to put in the diffuser - I’m just not sure we’d have spent that much time focusing on that if it wasn’t pointed out how important it was for my oxytocin levels!
Also, side note, Amy makes delicious baked goods and I’m not sure if she realises how much I used and continue to use that metal straw she put in the welcome bag haha! "
How did you feel about birth the weeks before Erin’s arrival?
"The main thing I remember is never feeling scared, the overall feeling from the day we found out was excitement - I’d been wanting to experience this for so long, and surrounded by friends who had done it multiple times.
I also felt very in control, our plans were written, our birth pool had been tested in the kitchen and my midwife fully supported our decisions which felt great. I was very fortunate that the last few weeks I wasn’t too uncomfortable, and with her being an early Jan baby I had all of the festivities to keep me busy too. Christmas Day was very special knowing our next one would be as a family, and New Years Eve I knew baby wasn’t far away - and my contractions started on the 2nd!"
Which hypnobirthing techniques were helpful in labour?
"Oh without a doubt the breathing, I used them from the very first contraction all the way through, including some light yoga movements listening to Amy’s playlist and some soft touch massage from Stu on my back. I work for an aromatherapy company so totally appreciate the power of breath control to calm the mind, but because of the course they were brought more to the forefront and became a huge part of both my pregnancy and yoga. If I felt like I was feeling a bit anxious Stu would always remind me to breathe, relax my shoulders and stop clenching my jaw, it made such a difference!"
How have the first few weeks of motherhood been?
"I can only describe it as magical. Yes of course there have been moments where I’ve been overwhelmed or frustrated that I can’t do because of my surgery - my labour resulted in an emergency c section and an infection, which no matter how much I ‘planned’, my body could never prepare for. But overall, wow, I wish you could bottle this feeling up.
I’m a list person, I love an agenda, so having a routine with little Ren from the beginning was important to me - which in turn (so far!) has led to getting 5-6 hours (broken!) sleep a night. I know that could change any minute so I’m making the most of it and celebrating daily! I remember at the time of labour thinking that I’m not sure I could do it again, but within 24 hours I’d used the words ‘I’d do it again tomorrow’.
One thing I’ll always remember Amy saying is ‘you can do anything for 60 seconds’ which really helped with my surges, knowing that no matter how difficult they were, I could do it, and each one got us closer to meeting our little girl, Erin."
I am so grateful to Jenn for sharing so much, in this precious early postnatal period!
Jenn is a fabulous content creator and supporter of small brands (like mine!) and you can find her on Instagram @cordelia_hearts
The hospital you can see pictured is QMC in Nottingham which is part of Nottingham University Hospitals.