In January I went to The Mum Club breakfast in Knutsford and met, for the first time, Stephanie Flynn. An experienced midwife and mum of three boys, Steph had just set out on her own as a hypnobirthing teacher, “The Birth Nerd.” She was so very passionate about her new venture, and everything she said really struck a chord with me after a fairly traumatic birth with my first. I decided to catch up with her again to find out more:
Tell me a bit about your midwifery background
I’ve wanted to be a midwife for as long as I can remember; I’ve always been amazed by what a woman’s body can do in pregnancy and childbirth and there are a lot of midwives in my family. I qualified in Liverpool in 2012 and started working but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I ended up demoralised, feeling like I was dealing with a conveyor belt of births with no time to give individualised care. It was hard to gain a woman’s trust and so many came into labour just resigned to fear and pain. I myself had a traumatic birth with my eldest and just thought this isn’t how it’s meant to be, women were made to give birth!
So how did you get into hypnobirthing?
I had heard of hypnobirthing when pregnant with my first, but thought it was a bit silly and never looked into what it was really about. I then started to see some women come into hospital who had learnt about hypnobirthing and they were so calm! My best friend, who had also had a traumatic first birth, practised it with her second and the difference was unbelievable! By the time I had my third, which was going to be an elective Caesarean, I wanted it to feel personal rather than just medical. I read Katharine Graves’ book on hypnobirthing, practised the breathing techniques and really researched my options, and came across a “gentle c-section.” I discussed it with my obstetrician and we decided it was the way forward. It was simply beautiful and the best birthing experience I’ve had. The breathing technique helped me stay calm and relaxed. My husband later encouraged me to train to be a hypnobirthing teacher. By this point I was so passionate about it and just wanted to share it with other women! I did my training with Katharine Graves, the only hypnobirthing course to be accredited by the Royal College of Midwives.
How would you explain what hypnobirthing is?
Hypnobirthing has a bit of a reputation of being wishy washy and unrealistic. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact hypnobirthing is logical, gentle, evidence-based – and it also actually works! It teaches you how to work with your body to make labour quicker, more straight forward and a lot more comfortable. Plus it works for all types of birth elective or emergency C-section
What sort of courses do you offer?
I offer private and group classes, in Cheshire and Shropshire. My courses are comprehensive, so you don’t need to do another antenatal class. They cover all the stages of labour, optimal baby positioning, positions for labour, water birth, elective and emergency c-section, baby first aid, newborn care, the 4th trimester and more! I’ll teach you breathing techniques, and how to reach a state of deep relaxation. It’s all about empowering a woman to trust her body and not fear labour! I will also teach women and their birthing partner how to navigate the maternity system and make positive choices which are right for them. After the courses I offer support via email and text right up to the birth.
Steph’s next group course in Cheshire is on weekend of 13th-14th July (6 hour session each day) at Redhouse Farm in Altrincham. Click here to find out more.