Jackie Heffer-Cooke – Director of BeCalm HypnoBirthing. Certified HypnoBirthing® Practitioner, Massage Training Institute Practitioner, Baby Yoga and Massage Instructor, Specialist in Pregnancy Massage, BA (Hons)

Jackie is passionate about supporting new parents. Over the last 7 years she has worked hard to build up her pregnancy, birth and baby professional profile so she can offer a rounded support service to Mum and Dads to be, and their new babies.

Certified HypnoBirthing® Practitioner, a Massage Training Institute Practitioner, a Baby Yoga and Massage Instructor, a Specialist in Pregnancy Massage and holds a BA (Hons)

Jackie is also the Presenter and Producer of the DVD ‘How To Take The Labour Out Of Labour’, works as a voluntary Producer at Future FM and is featured as a Pregnancy and Childbirth Expert on Radio Norfolk.

This is a link to her article in the East Anglian Daily Times

Jackie Heffer-Cooke, founder of ‘BeCalm – The Baby Center’, was relatively happy as a Television Executive and Journalist. She expected having a baby to totally change her home life, but she didn’t expect it to totally change her career path too.

This is her story:

I remember my 6 year old Megan’s birth. Or do I? After a very lovely foot massage and an apparition that drove me to pack my hospital bag, my waters broke at 5am Tuesday morning – 4 weeks early. Luckily I had left my job as Head of Daytime and Lifestyle at a TV company, the Friday before.

My husband James and I had just completed the NHS ante-natal classes and I was disappointed. I know it’s very difficult for the NHS to promote anything that’s not ‘medical’ but the main information we took away were which labour drugs I should take and when. A more rounded picture including natural birth, breathing techniques and information on my birthing body would have been so useful.

Reflecting a few weeks after the birth of my beautiful Megan, I felt the whole experience could have been so much better if I had of known more about how to handle childbirth; what to expect, what all the medical terminologies actually meant, how to be active during labour and how to work with my birthing body rather than against it. I couldn’t quite get my head around the whole experience. Why isn’t there more education about childbirth? After all, most women, that’s like, um, getting on for half of our entire UK population at some point in their lives, will give birth. Childbirth, it seems, is a scary subject that women either do not want to talk about – “oh, you know, it was fine” (complete with raised eyebrows), or want to talk about in huge detail – “and then it ripped through the ring of fire…” etc etc. Surely there must be some way of gaining useful information if you want to have a planned natural birth other than sitting on your own in front of the internet?…

So sitting on my own, in front of the internet, my research took me to www.hypnobirthing.co.uk and somehow I ended up driving to Northampton to spend 4 days on a HypnoBirthing® practitioner course. As I drove up the A14, I wondered whether my whim of curiosity was worth it and who and what I was going to find in the Holiday Inn conference centre when I got there. I met a cheerful tutor, an ex-teacher who now runs her own very successful Hypnotherapy practice in Northampton, and around 12 female students of mixed ages, all professional, all intelligent, some HypnoBirthing®mums with beautiful birth tales to tell and a lot of curious Midwives who had witnessed HypnoBirthing® first hand and wanted to know more.

For the next two days we learnt about hypnosis. Apparently it’s not about turning Freshers into chickens at their end-of-year ball (he didn’t manage to put me under ‘hypnosis’ thankfully, just my mortified house-mate), it’s more about allowing yourself to breathe and relax, to take yourself into a place where you are calm, centered and perfectly in control. Passing through your critical mind (the part that responds in a way it is ‘expected’ to and says ‘ow that hurts’), into the subconscious mind, which is calm, without ‘expectation’ and open to suggestion. In this case the suggestion is that ‘Birthing is natural and easy’.

Over the following few days we were walked through the carefully structured HypnoBirthing® syllabus. During the course we heard a lot about suggestibility and convincers, deconstructing and reconstructing thought patterns and language about childbirth, really helping our parents understand that birth can be a beautiful experience, one they can look forward to and remember as an amazing day in their lives. Personally the best HypnoBirthing® convincer for me was the amount of midwives taking the course who had witnessed HypnoBirthing® mums, seen it actually work and had come to find out more. Ironically over dinner as the evenings wore on, one-by-one these charming women talked about their love for their work, but their frustration at the NHS, at the bureaucracy, the paperwork surrounding childbirth.

On my drive home I reflected on HypnoBirthing®. It seemed to make a whole lot of common sense for couples to come together in small groups to talk about their experiences, their concerns, to sit on some pillows and do some breathing. A little like how ante-natal classes used to be. But HypnoBirthing® is a lot more considered then those stereotypical classes of old.

So what does it do?

1. HypnoBirthing® teaches you to understand your pregnant and labouring body.You are talked through conception to birth, strains on the body, imbalances in hormones, how your muscles are used in childbirth.

2. It promotes self awareness and self-control. The training in self-hypnosis assists you in reaching a level of relaxation and relative calm at the times when you need it most. The aim? To stop your body tensing at a time when release is all important (for obvious reasons).

3. It encourages you to be emotionally strong. Understanding your body during birth is empowering, helping mum (and dad!) stay calm and focused. The shared experience of learning HypnoBirthing® with your partner, or birth partner, leads to understanding and support of your needs during this incredible time, leading up to the most important moment of all – meeting your baby for the very first time.
By the end of this stage of the course I found myself really believing, it is possible, “you can have a better birth!”

This experience and the passion I feel for promoting and empowering women to have a calmer, more autonomously controlled birth has led to me leaving television and, after a lot more studying, teaching HypnoBirthing® to women, whom like me, want more out of their birthing experience.

To find out when the next HypnoBirthing® course runs talk to Jackie personally on 01603 631 900/ 07813 069 529

BeCalm HypnoBirthing
Better Birthing for you and your baby