My name’s Alexia and once upon a time I used to be the type of person that hated being around kids. I had absolutely no maternal instincts whatsoever and even though I thought that one day I may want kids, I could never really imagine myself WITH kids. For a while I could rationalise that now wasn’t the right time because I had this career that I was building blah blah blah. But time was ticking on. And at some point I would have to make a call; did I or didn’t I want to have kids?
I successfully managed to bury my head on the sand on this for quite a while until a friend of mine decided to share some scary statistics with me. We were polishing off a bottle of Baileys at 3am in a crappy Bulgarian ski resort at the time. Apparently, when you reach my age [I was 33 at the time] even if you have sex 3 times a week it could take you up to 2 years to fall pregnant.
Well, I can tell you now, my bloke and I weren’t doing it 3 times a week! We both had crazy busy careers and barely slept in the same bed 3 times a week let alone had sex! At the time I was really rubbish at remembering to take the pill too. We decided that we could take our chances. But we didn’t really have The Kids conversation. Nice back drop, don’t you think?
Now, the lovely thing about Life is this; you never know what’s coming and when you get thrown a curveball you just have to deal with it. I decided to quit my crazy busy career and set up my own business. I was barely off the starting block and then it happened. I found out I was pregnant. And it hit me like a kick in the stomach. The best way to describe my reaction was utter shock, mixed in with a massive dose of fear and terror. Shock because it wasn’t consciously planned; fear and terror because the whole idea of being pregnant was utterly terrifying, especially the giving birth bit. I went on to lose the baby in my first trimester and even though the loss was unbearable, a tiny part of me was relieved. I knew then that I clearly had some head trash to resolve, as this wasn’t a healthy maternal response. Fast-forward a year and I found out that I was pregnant again. This time it was joy that I felt. You only value what you have once you lose it, right? Don’t get me wrong, there was still a mammoth-load of terror and fear though.
So, what had changed?
Well, I’d taken a proper hard look at myself and made some changes. I did a bit of digging in the recesses of my mind and found a load of stuff that wasn’t entirely pretty I have to say. It wasn’t easy. So yeah, I faced some demons. I was fortunate though. As someone whose work is in the area of mindset, I had access to some pretty nifty tools to sort my shizzle out. But let me just say this… just because I work with mindset stuff, doesn’t mean I don’t get affected by my crazy head and thoughts running amok – it just means I’ve got a pretty good idea as to how to go about reigning my wild thoughts and emotions in. Of course this doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s not a bad starting place. So, in the year that had passed since my miscarriage, my ongoing search for interesting methods and approaches that can help us improve our mindset continued.
One day, I was sitting with a good friend of mine, Pam, and she told me about this brand new technique “Alexia, I know you’ll just love it… the first training course is in a couple of months – why don’t you do it?”. So I did. One of the best decisions of my life! This new technique was Reflective Repatterining and it was mind blowing. Mind-blowing because finally, here was something that was actually working in sorting out the total calamity of a mess that was my head. Believe me, over the years, I had tried a fair few things to help me sort my head out, but this Reflective Repatterning was getting results where other methods just couldn’t. Now, the other great thing about this particular training was that I had to deal with my own shit. The founder of the technique, Chris Milbank, is with Michael Jackson on this point:
Start with the man in the mirror
After all, how can you help others work through their mental anguish, if you’ve got a ton of it yourself? So, I spent the best part of the time in between my miscarriage and finding out about my second pregnancy sorting out my head. And I have to say, I was making brilliant progress and my overall levels of stress and anxiety had reduced massively. I was sleeping better, my confidence had improved, I coping better with life’s curveballs; I was more emotionally resilient. I guess this helps to explain why when I found out I was pregnant for the second time, that I was able to experience joy instead of shock. But, while I had made brilliant progress in reducing my overall levels of stress and anxiety, I still clearly had a fair bit of stress and anxiety to clear in the pregnancy-childbirth-motherhood department, because I was still utterly terrified about the giving birth bit. But I wasn’t entirely sure what was causing this bloodcurdling fear. Was it the actual birth? Was it because it represented the beginning of motherhood? Was I reliving some previous trauma?
I had no idea.
All I was sure about was the hollow, sick feeling that I felt inside. Lucky for me, I now had at my finger tips a great method that I knew worked that could help me with all this. This was good because I knew that I needed to find a way of banishing my stress if I wanted to do the best thing for my baby. As someone who grew up with a collection of conditions (eczema, hayfever, asthma) and allergies (dogs, cats, dust, feathers, nuts etc), over the years I’d read research that suggests that it’s likely that things like this are as a result of the mother being stressed while carrying baby. And I knew for sure that my mum was super stressed when carrying me; she tried to hide her pregnancy from her employers in case they found out and fired her (it was the 70s!). The link between maternal stress and health in the child is well documented and I didn’t want to take any chances. Having eczema, asthma and allergies sucked; it totally affected my self-esteem and my confidence growing up. At school I was picked on and bullied because of it, I couldn’t do certain sports, we couldn’t have pets… geez… the list goes on! So you could say that I was 110% keen to do everything I could to help prevent my own child from having their life afflicted by the health challenges that I had. And for me, this meant having a stress-free pregnancy.
However, in my current stressed state, this seemed like a mother of a mountain to climb, but it was important enough for me to give it a go. And you know what? I think I did it! My first daughter was born with not a skin blemish to be seen. She’s now 4 years old and there has been no eczema, no asthma, no allergies. In fact she’s hardly been ill at all. My second daughter, who admittedly is still a baby, has blemish-free skin too. But the story doesn’t end there. During my first pregnancy while I was busy improving my de-stressing techniques on yet another course. Being visibly pregnant, I was being asked about my pregnancy. Keen to spill my stresses with anyone who’d listen, I shared my utter fear of the childbirth bit, specifically the PAIN part of it. And this lady who I was talking to, Julie, told me that she had had a pain-free birth. I laughed. As you do when you’re not quite sure if someone is bullshitting you. But she insisted that that was how it was for her. “How on earth did you do that?!” I asked. “Hypnobirthing” she said.
And so began the next part of my journey. I jumped feet first into learning about Hypnobrithing. The thing is I wasn’t trained in hypnotherapy (even though you don’t need to be to benefit from it). But I knew that my deeply felt fears needed some hardcore clearance action, and that’s just what Reflective Repatterining is good at – clearing out negative thoughts, feelings and emotions. So I decided to apply Reflective Repatterining to my new goal of a pain-free birth. My mother of a mountain, just became colossal! But I knew it must be possible so I got to it. Over the rest of my pregnancy I applied everything I knew to prepare my mind and body for a pain-free birth. In doing so, I developed a load of tools and products to help women along their pregnancy journey too, using myself as the guinea pig. And guess what? I did it. I had my first daughter at home and, hand on my heart, it was pain-free. It was intense and hard work – sure! But no pain. Of course, once I’d had my daughter, I wanted to share what I’d learned from the top of my metaphorical mountain, but I didn’t. What if it was a fluke? Maybe it had nothing to do with all the work I did. All my self-doubt head trash piled right back in. So I didn’t. I shared my stuff with people that I knew (who got some great results) but that was it. I’d pretty much left it to gather digital dust on my hard drive. So, when I found out I was pregnant again, I knew this was my chance to see if my stuff did really work. Well I needed it to goddamn! I’m a super pain wus and I wasn’t sure I could face the kind of birth I’d read in the horror sections of the glossy mags. Could I repeat my first birth experience? What if I had complications? And what about my stress levels in my pregnancy – what would they be like this time round? Every pregnancy and every birth is different, so there were no guarantees. As it happened, I had a whole different heap of stresses to deal with this time and that meant more de-stressing work. But thankfully, as well as being a lot more experienced at clearing head trash, I’d also learned a load of new methods and approaches for healing the mind and body, so I had some new stuff to add to the mix to help me too.
So, what happened?
Well, I did it again. And this time it was even better.
The birth of my second daughter was pretty magical. And yes, it was pain free. In fact it was better than pain-free; I felt euphoria, which I was NOT expecting! So I guess I’ve proved to myself that that my first childbirth wasn’t a fluke and that my approach does work. And sure, there will be people out there who will not believe it, and think it’s all a load of tosh. And I’m fine with that. But there are also a load of women out there who are desperate for a positive birth experience. Many of them have had horrific first births and want to do anything they can to prevent that from happening again. So this work (book included!) is for them. I realised I needed to get this information out there when I started getting bombarded with requests from pregnant women who were friends of friends. Having heard of of my work, they wanted me to share what I did and how I did it.
So, ladies – here it is!