“They come thinking it is about relaxation techniques but are often surprised by how much is about knowing their choices.”
Deborah Hanson is a KGHypnobirthing teacher, a midwife, a specialist midwife in infant feeding and a birth trauma practitioner as well as being mother to four wonderful children. She runs Birth Dreams in the Midlands after attending a hypnobirthing teacher training course with KGHypnobirthing in Birmingham in September 2016. Deborah believes that key to her success are real life stories, networking and word-of-mouth.
Brilliant birth stories
“Being a midwife means I can bring real life stories to my teaching which couples really enjoy. They tend to say it is one of the reasons they booked with me, as I give them the reassurance that I am a knowledgeable midwife too.” KGHypnobirthing teachers bring a whole range of experience and skills with them to their practice. They do not give medical advice, so it is not necessary to be medically trained. Deborah explains what it is like to be a midwife and KGH teacher from her perspective. She cites the birth story which stands out as one where a couple achieved a hypnobirthing homebirth after a previous traumatic caesarean. This was with her midwifery team, and attending a KGHypnobirthing course helps a woman to debrief the first birth. By listening to her and also recommending a local doula to help her, Deborah says, “She was over the moon!!”
Converting the cynics
Fathers are often initially sceptical about hypnobirthing and at the end of a course see how it makes sense. One client who felt like this said that he appreciated the science of it and spent much of the course comparing it to sports psychology. Deborah gives this example, “I remember one (private) couple – the husband said he was a complete cynic, but his wife had booked it. Apparently at this point, I just smiled. After the course he said he knew why I just smiled because now he thinks hypnobirthing is amazing!” In fact, KGH particularly welcomes sceptics. Deborah says that she receives so many positive testimonials, but these are her favourites.
Why train to be a hypnobirthing teacher?
“As a nurse and then a midwife, I wanted a recognised qualification,” Deborah answers, and then elaborates, “I am passionate about all things birth and want to offer women choices. I discovered hypnobirthing with my third pregnancy and found it fantastic for my son’s birth and that of my fourth baby. In my professional role, hypnobirthing was still so new, so I have worked really hard to make it available for more people.” Working alone can be isolating after the teamwork of working in a hospital, so Deborah regularly meets other KGH practitioners locally in the West Midlands to talk about their ideas and plans. She remarks, “We rally each other on, and it is very positive.”
Being organised is key
Deborah’s career is as a midwife and she teaches KGHypnobirthing part-time. She also runs some busy breastfeeding groups with the charity, La Leche League in South Birmingham. She plans her group course dates up to a year in advance and has learnt to say no if she cannot fit people in as she believes it is important to give everyone the right amount of time. Teaching group courses in Moseley in Birmingham, Deborah also runs private courses all over the Midlands, including Leamington Spa and Stratford. It tends to work out at one group course and one private course per month, although it does fluctuate. The group courses are usually held over two consecutive days at a weekend, whereas private courses are whenever the couple want, sometimes evenings, sometimes during the day.
Growing and nurturing
New KGHypnobirthing teachers need to give it time to build their businesses, Deborah advises, “This takes a bit of patience and practise. Create a network with other teachers you trust and admire.” Word of mouth is by far the most successful way of growing, according to Deborah, who states, “They often come thinking it is about relaxation techniques but are often surprised by how much is about knowing their choices.” People then tell people they know, as Deborah exclaims, “I love getting a message from a friend / sister / cousin of someone I have taught – it seems such a friendly way of nurturing my hypnobirthing practice and spreading the message to pregnant mums.”
Hypnobirthing teacher training courses are held regularly across the UK in Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, London, Manchester and York.