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In 2007, my husband and I had a vision that life as we knew it was quickly drawing to an end. We’re not talking 2012 apocalypse – think end of care-free adult life: enter little critters. There was only one thing to do. Run for the hills! And that’s what we did. We packed up our stuff and headed for the Himalayas and beyond on a year-long sabbatical. Returning in 2008 to settle down, cave in and give the old people their grandchildren – two unexpected things happened:

              • No. 1: I fell pregnant (who knew those humourless school counselling nurses knew a thing or two about procreation).
              • No 2: I loved it.

Kudos to my friends who stuck with me and endured such flowery utterances as:

“I am absolutely captivated by the remarkable journey that brings life into being. I want to be in the moment for each unfolding step of the age-old intricate dance between God, nature and us that brings another little soul into this world. That forever transforms all involved.”

With a little perspective I will still proclaim it all, though probably a little softer to avoid the flesh-eating-zombie-fear I saw in the eyes of level-headed friends who were not yet on the baby-bandwagon.

The Spanish Inquisition started to look like a high school quiz show in my colonial conquest to make all pregnancy information mine. However, all the theory in the world still left me with an uneasy feeling about the actual birth – the how can one prepare for “having a watermelon go through a lemon hole?” question.

I came across an American podcast series filled with kindred pregnancy maniacs, and here I got introduced to HypnoBirthing®. This childbirth approach claimed to provide practical information and hands-on techniques that are proven to facilitate a calm, relaxed and empowering birth. I was sold. After quite a search I found HypnoBirthing® classes in Johannesburg and did the course. My husband likened some of the visualisation techniques to the mental preparation that top athletes do to ensure readiness and a positive mind-set for big matches. Over the next few months as I did the exercises to prepare for birth, my confidence grew and I was ready to be in the driver’s seat of the adventure as my ‘due date’ whizzed by. Almost 2 weeks later, Russo was born, comfortably, gently and naturally. I felt like superwoman. In the words of my seasoned midwife:

“The HypnoBirthing CD worked really well for the birth and somehow seemed to match perfectly with each stage of labour you were in.”

Yeah, but would I do it again? In a flash. My daughter, Miro was born in 2011. Here is what my midwife had to say:

“Chanel, you were incredible. It was such a surprise to find you at 7cm dilated when you checked in. You weren’t sure if it was even labour or not. It was the most awesome birth experience for me to witness as you used your HypnoBirthing and internalised. The thing I will remember always is how you just seemed to flow from one stage of labour into the other with very little outward display. Suddenly you very softly and calmly said: “Heather, I think I am ready.” It was so perfect!”

Convinced by my own experience, I trained to become a HypnoBirthing® childbirth educator – and here I am, passionate to share the programme that’s proven to take the birthing world by calm!

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