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Calm breathing is what it took to be ‘Zen’ and focussed on birthing my baby girl

Birth Stories

By Alisha

We cannot recommend the Calmbirth childbirth education program enough. I was in two minds about doing the Calmbirth program when our Calmbirth Educator, Karen Grey mentioned her class. Not really seeing the value in it (I mean, I know how to breath and meditation is not for me) but thinking perhaps we should do something to at least feel like we are preparing for the birth of our first child, it might not be a bad idea. We could do a private class with our very own midwife and Karen would come to our house so why not? Best decision ever and here’s why?

Firstly, the Calmbirth class was private and one on one, that meant I could ask as many ‘stupid’ questions as possible about the process and could ask them whenever I wanted. The beauty of Karen’s class is that she has been a practicing midwife for like, forever, so I could pick her brains about the Calmbirth techniques, but also the medical science about the stages of labour, so for us the class was somewhat of a hybrid class and incredibly informative.

Secondly, my husband learned that he had a very important role to play throughout the labour. He learned how he could have an active role rather than thinking that he’d be quite helpless, wanting to support me but not knowing how to do it. The class allowed us to connect more as a couple as we started to discuss what our ‘birth plan’ might look like. The last reason, and most important reason, was how our gorgeous daughter came to be born.


I, like most first time mum’s to be, wanted a natural birth without pain killers, (maybe some pain killers), I wanted my body to go into labour when it was ready and I was going to use the Calmbirth breathing and meditation techniques throughout the stages of labour. It was going to be beautiful. My body had other plans and at 33 weeks pregnant I developed HELLP Syndrome (think of Preeclampsia on steroids). Within hours of what I thought was just a quick check up at the hospital my husband and I became parents. I don’t think I will ever forget the moment when we were told they needed to deliver our baby, my liver was shutting down, my blood pressure was climbing and I was at a high risk of having a stroke.

In that moment I completely panicked; I literally could not catch my breath. I was not ready to have the baby there and then, at 33 weeks the baby certainly was not ready, it still had 7 weeks of growing to do. When I started to freak out it was my husband who told me to use Calm breathing, I was absolutely useless, so I started to focus and visualise just like the class prepares you and by the time the spinal block was in I was like a Zen master purely focused on giving birth to a strong and healthy baby girl.

I cannot thank our Calmbirth Educator Karen Grey enough for the tools she gave us to get through those hours. A year on, in the middle of the night when our gorgeous little girl is crying and will not go back to sleep, I still use calm breathing to help me get through the night.

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