Hi Hollie, thank you for taking the time to be interviewed by us here at The Bump to Baby Chapter. We love hypnobirthing but we also love how you have made it so relateable.
So first up…
Hollie de Cruz is the Founder of London Hypnobirthing and the creator of yesmum cards. She uses her Instagram platform @theyesmummum to inspire and promote education, equality and empowerment opportunities with a healthy sprinkling of positivity.
Beth: When did your hypnobirthing chapter begin?
Hollie: Before having my son I was working in a very male-dominated environment at a big corporate design agency. I worked really long hours, juggled stress and fun in equal measure and lived for the weekend. My pregnancy was completely unplanned, and I found that all quite frightening. None of my friends had children, in fact I’d never even held a newborn baby, let alone looked after one. As such, I felt pretty scared and disempowered. Then I stumbled upon the concept of hypnobirthing about half way through my own pregnancy and even though I was cynical at first it became a real game changer. Oscar’s birth was such a positive experience that I knew from the moment I held him I wanted to be involved in spreading the word of such an empowering movement for women, and that’s what inspired me to quit my job, train to become a hypnobirthing teacher and start building a business that I could run more flexibly around motherhood.
Beth: I’m sure you have had people saying ‘hypno.. what’ when you describe what you do. How do you explain hypnobirthing to people who have never heard of the concept?
Hollie: Hypnobirthing is a complete antenatal education programme that teaches you what happens in your body during labour and birth, and how to work with it rather than against it.
Although a lot of people (myself included many years ago) are put off by the slightly bats name (I even had one person refer to it as psychobirthing which did make me laugh!), hypnobirthing is in fact the most logical, gentle and profound form of birth education I have come across.
Hypnobirthing doesn’t promise a perfect birth, but it will give you the best birth for you and your baby at the time, and if you commit to small amounts of daily practice, you will create a positive, joyful experience that will stay with you and your baby for the rest of your lives.
Beth: There was a great reception from your recent talk during Life Death Whatever about Hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing seems to be taking the pregnancy vortex by storm right now. What advice would you give to a mum when choosing a pregnancy class?
Hollie: Do a hypnobirthing course … obviously! It will be the best money you spend and it’s an amazing investment in not only your birth, but in your onwards journey as parents.
But seriously, I think it’s important to know the approach of the class you are choosing, many people go along with what others do/what’s considered to be the norm but it’s important to really look into your teacher and think about if their approach is right for you.
I work in a completely woman-centred way, which means me and my team get to know the families we work with and offer them bespoke and nurturing support. Our aim is to ensure the women we work with feel educated and completely held and supported on every step of their journey to motherhood and beyond. Understanding your labour, including any unexpected turns it may take, is what leads to a positive and empowering experience, and that is something every single woman deserves.
Beth: Why do you think hypnobirthing is becoming so popular?
Hollie: I think women are reverting to more natural birth options because we are becoming more empowered and educated in general. I think many women are beginning to question the over medicalisation of a normal physiological process, especially when they feel rushed or not listened to, and this is pushed forward when they hear their peers talking about positive birth experiences rather than horror stories. Our focus must be on normalising childbirth and putting the power back in women’s hands rather than dumping her in a conveyer belt system where she feels passive and out of control. When women are moving towards this in every other aspect of society, it seems appropriate that it should apply to birth – the most primal female experience – too. There’s also the very obvious concept of preparation as power. If you were running a marathon, taking a driving test or going for a job interview you’d put loads of time into preparing, and I think women are realising that “winging it” isn’t really the way to go for the most transformative moment in their life. Knowledge is power – every time.
Beth: Your award- winning Yesmum cards have reached out to so many. What is it about birth affirmation that you thought would make a real difference to pregnant mums and their birthing experience?
Hollie: We use a lot of positive affirmations in hypnobirthing as a way of ditching the embedded fear we have around birth and reprogramming the subconscious mind with positive messages about the experience. When we change the way we think, the way we experience things changes and I see this every day in my work with women (and myself). I really wanted to apply this to the next stage of the journey, and create a tool that mums could take with them through to motherhood and help continue all the positive, mindful work they’d enjoyed in pregnancy. And that’s when the idea of the YESMUM cards was born. I thought I’d just make 50 packs and see if any of my clients wanted to buy them, as well as giving some to friends to try out. They were more well received than I ever could have imagined, and it just goes to show how much we need this kind of simple positive reinforcement in our lives. When I put them on Instagram I had loads of people tagging their friends and saying “we need these” and it kind of took off from there. I now have six ranges for mothers, pregnant women, kids, entrepreneurs and, people on a wellbeing/health journey and humans (in general), and ship to every continent on a daily basis.
Beth: Today, we seem to be part of a society where the women supporting women game is strong. So from one woman to the hopefully hundreds of women who are reading this… Give us your favourite affirmation that will make us feel like we have got this. Only one!
Hollie: One of my favourite affirmations is “today is a new day”. It’s so tempting to haul around worry or guilt but actually every day brings a new opportunity to get in a good mindset and make small positive changes.
Beth: For the stay at home mums, full time, part time & self employed mums we all seem to struggle with finding time for ourselves, our family our jobs, hubby’s etc. So I think the big million dollar question is how do you tackle the work/mum/Hollie life balance?
Hollie: I think when you run your own business, work-life balance is always pretty tricky to enforce because you don’t have those boundaries of an office or a boss. Combine that with being a mother and it goes all kinds of crazy right? I often find myself feeling guilty for not doing anything well enough, so stopping the weekend/evening work (as hard as it is) is a big deal for me in putting better boundaries on my time. Nowadays, I’m a business woman during the day and a mother on evenings and weekends. Inevitably there will be overlap but I think setting the intention and enjoying the positive changes it brings will be enough to sustain it.
Beth: I for one have been brooding over your puppy. Little Ruby is just the cutest. Other than a walk in the woods with your new pooch, what do you do to stay calm and relaxed?
Hollie: Most of my spare moments are spent soaking up my gorgeous son, as time together feels so precious now that Oscar’s at school. He’s such an outdoorsy kid so we can normally be found in the park or at the BMX track, or playing top trumps over a pizza. In rare pockets of me-time though, I’ll go to the cinema (by myself – the best!), go and get a massage, read a book in a café with a massive coffee and eggs or if I’m feeling truly decadent – go back to bed with Ruby!
Beth: What’s next for the yesmummum in her quest for world domination?
Hollie: The golden question! For me it’s all about growing the company in an organic way to meet the needs of the groups of women I get to know. I can’t say too much about it at the moment, but our next project is all about getting birth education to people who wouldn’t necessarily access it because of different circumstances or financial situations. I believe all women deserve access to basic birth and women’s health education, so getting the ball rolling on that makes me really excited.
Thank you to Hollie for her time for this interview. If you would like to know more about Hollie and her yesmum cards then follow her on instagram or visit her website. If you are local to Gloucestershire your Bump to Baby Chapter midwives also stock the yesmum cards and will have them available to purchase at The Introduction to Hypnobirthing event this December and all of their antenatal and hypnobirthing classes.