North London’s Secret Birthing Weapon – MamaSerene Hypnobirthing.

I’d like to introduce you to Dani Diosi who runs MamaSerene Hypnobirthing in North London. She’s been in the birthing field professionally for 15 years, and personally for even longer than that as a mum of 3 including twins. If you’re preparing for birth then as far as I’m concerned, there’s no better tool you can have than Hypnobirthing skills. Each client in my Fertility Acupuncture practice who falls pregnant gets her card and a strongly worded recommendation, and for sure, as a Doula, I know Dani’s skills make my life easier as my client’s labours are measurably shorter when they’ve done a Hypnobirthing course.

Let me share some of the flavour of our chats on the subject of Hypnobirthing, by way of an introduction to both her and her approach.

Naava: How did you find your way to Hypnobirthing?

Dani:  After my pregnancy and birth experience with my twins (now 16 and a half) I remember thinking that although I had just given birth to two babies, surely the experience didn’t need to be quite so traumatic, leaving me feeling completely undermined and battered both physically and emotionally.  My mother used to teach antenatal classes when I was a child so I decided to train with the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) so that I could inform women and their partners about labour and birth and help them to feel more prepared for what was to come.

Half way through my diploma I gave birth to my youngest daughter which was, honestly, the most incredible experience of my life. Yes, I understood the physiology of birth much more than I had with my previous birth but this time I felt strong, powerful, calm and trusted my body completely (I knew absolutely nothing about Hypnobirthing at that point, by the way.)  So by the time I started teaching I had total faith in a woman’s ability to birth her baby…but my clients didn’t seem to. Even though I taught them about the body’s ability to produce powerful birthing hormones, and explained that keeping calm was the key element to supporting these hormones, it didn’t seem to make the blindest bit of difference to people’s birth experiences.

It was at a CPD study day, a little while later, that I was introduced to the concept of Hypnobirthing and I felt as though I had found the missing piece.  In a nutshell, because hypnobirthing is about communicating with the subconscious, the part of the mind that is extremely powerful as far as making long lasting changes is concerned, any positive suggestions concerning birth are far more likely to be accepted by a person rather than just by talking alone.

I signed up to train with Maggie Howell of Natal Hypnotherapy that same day and haven’t looked back.  I have since qualified as a hypnotherapist in my own right and written my own independent hypnobirthing programme which I teach on a regular basis as well as train practitioners to teach it in a way that suits their particular practices.

Naava: What, if anything, makes MamaSerene different from other Hypnobirthing practices?

Dani: As much as I would like to tell you that my programme is superior to every other method out there, I can’t.  The truth is that every method of Hypnobirthing works along the same principles that the more relaxed a laboring mother is, the higher chance she has of having a straightforward birth.  If she and her partner have a better understanding of birth physiology and how to keep adrenaline (our fight or flight hormone that cancels out the birthing hormones) at bay, research shows she is likely to have a slightly shorter labour with less need for analgesia and less reported pain.

Some courses will change the words used i.e. ‘surge’ instead of ‘contraction’, ‘pressure’ instead of ‘pain’ etc.  Some courses won’t discuss the concept of ‘pain’ or if birth takes a more medical route. Some courses are taught over several weeks, some are taught in a day.  It really depends what is right for the individual. I teach it over a day (couples are usually also attending antenatal classes and the last thing they need is to give up another night of the week when they are tired and heavily pregnant,) I don’t change any words, to me a contraction is just that – a muscle contracting, and I do talk about the pain, although I explain that labour ‘pain’ is very, very different from when something is going wrong in our bodies i.e. broken leg, appendix about to burst etc.  At the end of the day, it is what works for each individual, although it is always worth asking around and seeing who is recommended in the local area and having a chat with them before signing up, to see if everyone is on the same page.

 

Naava: How do you juggle your family life and a busy practice?  Any tips for the working mums who will be reading this blog.

Dani: Hmmmmm, a very good question.  Can I let you know once I’ve figured it out?  I suppose it helps that my children aren’t babies any more (16, 16 and 14) and can get themselves to and from school and college by themselves.  Saying that, however, even though I don’t have to do school runs any more, they still need me maybe even more emotionally now than they did when they were little.  I think it is about being present for them when they are here and trying to get as much done as possible when they aren’t. A lot of my actual teaching time is done on weekends and evenings and it has always been that way, so everybody is very used to it.  I do have an incredibly supportive family though, which helps a lot and we do make sure to spend time together when we can. It may not happen as often as any of us would like but when we do spend time together, either going to the cinema, out for a meal or on holiday, we make it count.  I am painfully aware that as my children get older, they are more likely to want to be doing their own thing – I’m trying to be brave about it but possibly not succeeding quite as well as I imagine I am. The ‘coming over all misty eyed’ whenever they talk about university or travelling is probably not helping!!!!

As far as any tips are concerned, I would probably say ‘don’t sweat the small stuff!’  None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes and it is absolutely impossible to juggle all of the balls all of the time.  Even if other people seem to have got it totally sorted, they haven’t.  

The other thing I would say is find a really good box set and binge watch it!  Nothing quite as satisfying as putting those balls down, or not picking them up straight away if they’ve just been dropped everywhere and indulging!!!  It will be so much easier to juggle everything again afterwards. 

Naava: What is the number one thing you find yourself saying to clients?  What would you like the opportunity to share with people who are reading this blog?

Dani: The number one thing I find myself saying is that a positive birth is about how you feel after you have given birth.  It is not about where or how your baby was born because things can always end up going down a different route but it is about feeling empowered and strong and as though you rocked the whole experience.  That feeling is what counts, whether baby is born in a pool at home or via a highly medicalized caesarean. 

I would like to share the fact that pregnancy is not an ‘illness.’  It is not a ‘condition’ or a ‘disease’ that needs to be cured or fixed.  No one can tell you what to do. Women need to take responsibility for their own births and know that they have every right to ask questions concerning their care, ask for evidence supporting a medical suggestion and seek out their own research to provide a contrasting viewpoint.  Your body, Your baby, YOUR DECISION!

Dani is an incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, open person and I’d encourage anyone who is pregnant and thinking about their options to give her a call and chat to her about what she can do to change the course of your birthing experience.

You can read more about Dani and contact her through her website: http://www.mamaserene.co.uk/

Dani Diosi DipHe, DypHyp LHS is a highly qualified and experienced Antenatal & Childbirth educator, hypnotherapist and Doula,  having entered into the profession in 2004.  She originally taught for the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and utilized her own experience as a mother to twins to specialize in multiple birth classes. She subsequently qualified in Natal Hypnotherapy in 2008 and worked very closely with Maggie Howell (Natal Hypnotherapy’s founder and director) teaching the course and training and assessing new practitioners.  Dani set up her own hypnobirthing programme in 2015 after qualifying as a hypnotherapist in 2012 and is a recognized Doula with Doula UK.  She trains practitioners to be independent hypnobirthing facilitators both here, in the UK and internationally.  She also co-wrote and teaches the very successful AllAboutAntenatal  birth and postnatal classes with Victoria Rose from All About Babies, as well as being mum to three girls and two dogs!  Her common sense approach is reflected in her home life where she is a firm believer that there’s no such thing as the perfect parent – we can all only do our best!

 

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