How my Birth Experiences Inspired me to Found Tranquil Birth Hypnobirthing & Post Natal
In 2011 I was an actress and pregnant with my first child. I did everything I could to prepare physically and emotionally, NCT, Yoga, read every book but when I got to labour I felt really vulnerable with no adequate understanding or tools. During that labour the thought ‘there is another way’ rang clear in my mind but I had started on a path and didn’t know how to change course.
The birth of our first baby and immediate postnatal care left me emotionally and physically battered, impacting feeding, bonding, my relationship and enjoying family life.
At that stage though, I knew no different and wondered if this was the normal difficulties parents talk about.
It was only when I was pregnant again 2 years later I realised something wasn’t right. I was terrified of giving birth again and didn’t believe I could physically or emotionally go through birth again. I sought professional help and was diagnosed with PTSD and received CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to help me recover.
I decided to look into alternative tools for birth, rather than focus solely on birth choices and information. Hypnobirthing had been mentioned to me several times and felt at that stage, ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’
The experience of Hypnobirthing opened my eyes so much and I could see instantly this is what I had missed the first time. I enjoyed and felt positive about my pregnancy, I regained confidence in my body’s ability to birth and many of my emotional difficulties around birth were eased through relaxation and the understanding of the actual physiology of birth and not just birth choices.
My confidence and understanding had increased so much we opted for a home birth, a we felt we could address some of the issues that we felt had led to issues in our first birth ; anxiety about when to go to hospital, being able to access the birth pool and warm water for relaxation / pain relief, being able to stay together and with our toddler after birth. We received one named midwife when we moved our care over to The Crocus Homebirth team in Croydon and the care she gave us transformed our birth experience.
We used and practiced Hypnobirthing throughout the 2nd birth and our experience was amazing; healing and so incredibly empowering for us all. I couldn’t believe how different it felt from my previous birth; positive, easy and peaceful.
I could see the impact Hypnobirthing had and I was fascinated. I enjoyed a year maternity with my children at home, everything felt calm and easy the second time as a mum and the Hypnobirthing helped me to regain some of the missing elements of bonding with my first son.
It as in 2015, 2 years after our healing and empowering birth that I decided to train as a Hypnobirthing teacher, as I was clearly still in love and telling everyone I knew about it.
After teaching friends and family for a year, my confidence and ability as teacher had grown massively, so in 2017 I founded Tranquil Birth. I wanted to help other women and families have empowering tools to use in birth and beyond, as I could see this was missing from the traditional antenatal education model.
At the time Tranquil Birth was born, so were my ideas around birth. I felt instinctively that we couldn’t just focus on positive birth and discount the conversations around the other realities families were facing, there needed to be a neutral space for birth to be discussed and supported for all. I noticed that there were many women like me who had difficult experiences and no safe spaces to talk and eat from them and were affected by their difficult and traumatic experiences, just as I had been affected by mine so I stared the pee support Birth Reflections group that gave women an opportunity to be be heard and support each other in healing.
To further my ability to support I also decided to teach as a Birth Trauma Resolution Practitioner, so I could help women with PTSD after birth trauma.
In founding Tranquil Birth I wanted to offer tools, therapies and techniques to help improve experiences of birth, as well as family life.
I love working in my local community around Croydon and Norwood, being a part of services that help families to have a better start on their journeys.
Sakina Ballard is a Hypnobirthing Teacher, Positive Birth Movement Facilitator and Birth Trauma Resolution Practitioner. Classes and sessions in Croydon and South London www.tranquilbirth.co.uk