By Jacquetta de Fouchier
This month’s newsletter celebrates women’s work. Paradoxically, it took me quitting my job, falling pregnant and moving to another country for me to finally find my calling. We were living in Paris when my husband proposed at the end of 2014, and I remember feeling as though I was walking on air. Everywhere we went, our friends and family were celebrating us with champagne and well wishes. The Christmas lights in the city were twinkling, the invitations to parties were rolling in, and the date for our wedding was set. It felt magical… and then two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant!
I will never forget us standing in the bathroom with our hearts thumping as a second line appeared on the pregnancy test. Although I had missed a period, I really thought taking the test was just a precautionary measure. Within a few seconds, our world as we knew it turned upside down. It was the best news with the worst timing, and it utterly threw me. I waved goodbye to the beautiful midsummer wedding we had planned. We pushed the date forward to within four months, I informed the dress shop that we’d better get a bigger size and I mourned seeing myself as the bride I had always imagined I would be.
Suddenly, every sensation in my body took on a whole new meaning and I couldn’t get to grips with the fact that something was living and growing inside of me. I was lost in the process of navigating the French healthcare system, and I became emotionally disconnected from both my baby and my pregnancy, for at least the first six months.
And then I discovered hypnobirthing!
My cousin, a hypnobirthing instructor and doula, suggested we join her weekend course and it revealed itself to be one of the most life-changing experiences my husband and I have ever had. It allowed us to connect more deeply, not only to our baby and to ourselves, but also to each other. We learnt about breathing, relaxation and practical comfort measures, but also about how to use hypnosis to let go of our deep-seated fears surrounding the birth. My husband understood the role he had to play as my gatekeeper and the techniques he could use to best support me. I, in turn, increased my belief that I had everything I needed to deliver my baby safely and naturally, and my confidence in my body.
After labouring for nine hours at home and one hour in the hospital, I joined the 5% of women in France who had not had either an epidural, a Caesarean section or another form of medical intervention.
But since having my two babies, I have realised that very few women have this kind of experience in childbirth, and this has fuelled my desire to train as a hypnobirthing instructor and share what I have learnt.
In my two day group or one on one classes, I work with couples using a series of techniques that focus on how to create the best environment for birth.
On a mental level, we challenge old preconceptions and myths whilst replacing them with new powerful affirmations and visualisations that build confidence and calm relaxation. We use hypnotherapy to overcome any fears, working directly with the subconscious to create triggers that reduce adrenaline and support us throughout labour.
On a physical level, we learn about different birthing positions, how to create a calm and relaxing environment, manage ‘pain’ sensations during labour, as well as look at the incredible physiology of birth so that we can understand what is actually happening to us physically.
On an emotional level, we look at the different emotional phases of labour that can either positively or negatively affect our mindset. We teach birth partners how to recognise signs of anxiety and provide them with a toolkit they can use to diminish these and restore calm and control to the birthing mother.
It has been such a privilege to witness the transformation in these couples and to see how the confidence women feel in the run-up to childbirth can continue through into motherhood. When I see women go from dreading their first contractions to genuinely looking forward to them, I know my work here is done, and that for me is the definition of women’s work.
If you would like any further information regarding my hypnobirthing courses, then please do visit my website: https://www.munichcenterofhypnobirthing.com/. I so look forward to helping you have a beautiful, calm and stress-free birth and to being part of your incredible journey to parenthood.
Jacquetta de Fouchier (Tetta) is a qualified hypnobirthing practitioner who trained with Natal Hypnotherapy, the UK’s #1 hypnobirthing school accredited by the Royal College of Midwives. Having experienced the power of hypnobirthing firsthand, she set up the Munich Center of Hypnobirthing to help couples prepare for the birth of their child, either through monthly group or one to one classes in Munich. This includes changing a couple’s perception of childbirth, using hypnotherapy to overcome any fears and anxieties, teaching deep relaxation and breathing techniques and working closely with the birth partners to provide them with a crucial ‘toolkit’ they can use to help their partner before, during and post labour.
Originally from the UK, in 2016 Jacquetta moved to Munich from Paris with her French husband and 3 month old daughter. She is now a mum to two little girls and speaks both French and English. She will be conducting a workshop on ‘Life after Birth’ which will focus on signs of post-natal depression, the well-being of new mums and the challenges couples face in adjusting to parenthood.