How Emiliana Hall, and her business The Mindful Birth, aims to put parents-to-be at ease with what’s around the corner
Before you had your first child, what were your thoughts about giving birth?
I was terrified! I couldn’t understand how a baby was born, and I was very fearful of the amount of pain I’d experience. I had grown up with TV programs and films that depicted birth as frantic and traumatic.
How did that experience shape your attitude towards birthing techniques?
It was my midwife that encouraged me to do more research into what happens before, during and after birth, and I soon realised that a lot of how I felt was due to my mindset. I had been conditioned to believe it was something awful to ‘get through’ and that was creating a lot of adrenaline and tension in my body. Once I understood what actually happens and what I needed to do, I felt so much more confident and in control. I just wish they taught it in schools! I had two home births with my children, which was far from what I ever expected to happen.
What inspired you to launch The Mindful Birth and when was this?
I started The Mindful Birth Group in 2017 just before my second son was born. I knew I needed to act quickly before I was going to be taking care of a new-born baby, so I set up the business and the website etc. so I was fully prepared to launch once I has recovered from the birth.
I really empathise with how people feel when they find out that they are pregnant and I wanted to create a course that was for everyone, no matter how they conceived their baby or what their birthing preference was.
In a nutshell, what do you offer?
I offer group and private Mindful Birth support packages, in-person in Berkhamsted and nationwide on Zoom. This includes support from the 1st to the 4th trimester, with benefits such as weekly online yoga, monthly relaxation sessions, a moderated online community to meet others on a similar path, an ask the midwife online forum and online post-natal yoga and doula support too.
I also now have a wonderful team of Mindful Birth teachers across the country who also teach the courses and offer the support packages. They trained with us and are members of The Mindful Birth Group, and we support them with marketing their courses, supplying them with teaching materials such as workbooks, teaching slides and affirmation cards and continuous training. We are a very strong community and it’s a total pleasure working alongside them.
Alongside all of this, I’m also an accredited birth and post-natal doula, which means I support families during the birth (wherever they are birthing) and in their home post-natally too. I feel this gives me a really solid grounding for creating ante-natal courses as I see first-hand what parents need to know in advance.
How do you look to instil confidence in parents to be?
Our courses do not tell you what to do, they give you unbiased, inclusive information so that you know what your options are. We encourage parents to make informed decisions using evidence-based information rather than going by social norms or policies. This ethos hopefully then carries through to their parenting journey too.
Tell us about Leo…
Leo is my best friend’s baby, who I carried as a surrogate as she suffered from severe infertility for over six years. I was her and her husband’s gestational surrogate, which means he is their genetic baby, I was just the oven! We had a non-medicated round of IVF and it worked first time, and Leo was born by planned caesarean abdominal birth in March 2020, just as the pandemic started. I used all of the Mindful Birth techniques for his birth, just as I did for my home births.
Since you first launched The Mindful Birth, how would you say you have evolved?
As a teacher and doula, have seen first-hand that there is a need for an inclusive ante-natal course provider that provides up-to-date information. That means teaching for all paths to parenthood and all birth choices. When I first trained in ante-natal education, the courses were very much about achieving a certain type of birth and no-one was talking about the unexpected turns or what could happen. I feel lucky my births were straight-forward, but it isn’t always like that and it’s so important we equip parents for all eventualities.
The UK maternity and post-natal care system is in crisis, and so ante-natal education and support throughout pregnancy and beyond has never been more important. I truly believe this kind of support will impact parents’ long term physical and mental health, which will help to take some of the strain off of the care system too.
How does the business fit in with your family life?
I am lucky that I get to do school drop off and pick up every day. I have four- and six-year-old children and they need me more than ever! I do often find myself working in the evenings sometimes, but I really don’t mind. It’s particularly busy at the moment as we are currently undergoing a rebrand, new website development and overall relaunch. I can work from anywhere in the world though, and we recently took a three-week trip to Ibiza where I worked a little bit from there too. Flexibility is very important to me!
How long have you lived in Tring and what do you love about it?
We first lived in Tring in 2014, moved away and then moved back in 2019 to raise our children here. We love the school, the community, the high street shops and restaurants and we are very unlikely to move away anytime soon! We have an allotment too, which is where I go when things get a bit overwhelming. Nature is the best medicine.