Jenni is an active member of The Natal Family team, and a mum to a lovely boy.Today we talk to Jenni about being a MummyNatal teacher and about how that has impacted her personal views and her day-to-day life, as well as how she feels her work as an antenatal educator is benefiting the expectant parents that she works with.
Q.: “First of all, Jenni, how do you feel about being a MummyNatal practitioner?
Jenni: “There is so much that I love about this role! From the relaxation I experience on a personal level during the classes to the post-class buzz of really feeling as though I have made a difference to the mums attending the session! I also love researching and finding out as much as I can about birth – I am constantly reading articles, looking for information on social media and attending seminars about labour and birth. I love keeping myself immersed and up-to-date with information! And of course I love learning from our co-founder Steph Beaumont – her passion is infectious! Every time I run a class I want to do her proud!”
Q.: “That’s brilliant! Tell us about your MummyNatal training Jenni. You had face-to-face training with The Natal Family founders Steph and Dean Beaumont, but you also had to complete a portfolio of assignments and ‘reflective practice’. How did you find training – did you have any ‘lightbulb’ moments?”
Jenni: “Training was fantastic – I found it truly empowering, and the biggest thing for me was having a chance to really reflect back onto the birth of my son, both during and after the training sessions with Steph and Dean. It seemed like I finally understood the reasons for why things happened the way they did; after the training I felt really emotional, having realised why certain things that happened during my birth experience affected me the way that they did. And now, with that realisation and understanding I feel empowered to help both myself and others going forward – it has been brilliant!”
Q.: “So do you feel that your MummyNatal training and teaching has changed how you see or experience pregnancy and birth?”
Jenni: “Oh yes, massively! I thought I knew a lot from my own birth experience, but I hadn’t even scratched the surface! I wasn’t broody or even thinking about having another baby until I started on the training, but now I can’t wait to have another baby, so I can put into practice everything I have learnt!!!
I never realised there were so many choices, options, things to learn and be aware of until I started this training, and during my time as a teacher I have done so much research, (both for the portfolio and beyond) that I am amazed at the amount I have learnt. The most powerful learning for me has been around the mind-body connection, as it all now makes so much sense, and I continue to look back at my own birth experience with so much wonder and questions that I need to keep researching and learning – ready for when I do it again!”
Q.: “What have been your most memorable moments from teaching MummyNatal?”
Jenni: “There are 3 key moments that have really stood out for me, from the classes that I have run so far:
1) Two of the mums attending my first term of MummyNatal classes became really good friends during the classes, and then their partners met during a Practical Baby Care session I taught afterwards. It was lovely to see how close they grew, and I hope they managed to keep in touch afterwards, as that certainly helped them in the way of local support from likeminded families in a similar situation.
2) One mum who had attended an NCT class prior to coming on my MummyNatal course told me that she had learned a lot at my MummyNatal course, in addition to what she had learned during her NCT course. Unfortunately, a lot of parents think that NCT and Natal courses are mutually exclusive, but they aren’t. They are different and just part of the choices available to parents-to-be in the local area.
3) The most memorable moment for me to date though, was helping one mum-to-be who had been told that she ‘had to have’ an induction as she had developed gestational diabetes. I did a lot of research into this in order to help her as much as I could – I spent a lot of time talking to her before and after classes about how she felt, about what her options were and where she could make informed choices. On the last class she told me how much more empowered she felt as a result of the things that she had learned during my MummyNatal classes and that she wanted to pursue the birth she hoped for, rather than what she was being told to do. A few weeks after the term had finished, she emailed me to tell me about the safe arrival of her baby – “I used the breathing techniques at the labour, and I was calm – I never screamed once, and I was fine. I took gas and air (Entonox) and later had an epidural – it was great. I can’t thank you enough for your help and support.”
Q.: “That’s great Jenni – it shows that you were really able to make a difference for that mum, and that’s amazing!
You already mentioned one of the antenatal courses that parents typically see as one of our ‘competitors’, but we don’t like to see it that way. We believe that a range of different courses and information are available to parents, so that they can make the choices that most suit them and their needs. On that note, what do you see as the main benefits from the MummyNatal programme, which makes it different from what else exists for pregnant women and their families?”
Jenni: “I love the fact that MummyNatal is a combination of techniques rather than just one method. It offers mums a choice and a toolkit of things to try, rather than one ‘prescriptive’ way of giving birth, which we recognise that may or may not work on the day itself.
Also, because of how the 6-week MummyNatal course is structured, I love how it builds week on week, working through the different elements of the mind-body connection, which come together so beautifully by the last week and really link the process together. I think this really helps to make mums understand how our mindfulness-based approach can really work for them, in pregnancy, labour and birth and beyond!
Another thing that is unique about MummyNatal and other programmes from The Natal Family is that it makes direct reference to (as well as offering lots of opportunities to talk about), the other members of the family – dads, other birth partners, older siblings etc. so I’m really proud to be able to say that at MummyNatal we make the birth process and choices inclusive of all, and we carry that ethos forward in all our other classes too, so dads and birth partners can see for themselves how everyone is treated in the same non-judgemental and supportive way.
Q.: “So finally Jenni, what would you say to someone who is considering training to become a MummyNatal practitioner?”
Jenni: “Go for it, without a doubt! It’s an amazing course to be able to teach. Training gives you a great opportunity to learn about mindfulness amongst other things, which is beneficial both at a personal and a professional level. It can really help you in both your business and family life – for me, it’s been brilliant to think that this can really prepare me to have another baby!
From a practitioner perspective, I feel that MummyNatal is probably one of the most empowering classes available from The Natal Family, as it really explores what role we play as teachers – its ethos and understanding then follows through into all the other classes so perfectly.
Plus, being able to play such an important role in this stage of a woman’s and her family’s life really is an amazing feeling. Helping people through understanding and appreciating the physiology of birth and guiding them through understanding how they can use the body-mind connection to gain confidence at such a vulnerable time truly feels like an enormous privilege. Come to think of it, we help parents to prepare for one of the biggest events in their lives – the birth of their child/ren!”
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us Jenni!
If you live around Leeds and Airedale, make sure you check when Jenni’s next MummyNatal term starts! As you can tell, Jenni has a great passion for supporting parents-to-be and will always go the extra mile to help you with useful and empowering information that are important to YOU!
If you would like to find out more about MummyNatal or any of the other programmes that we offer here at The Natal Family, please do get in touch with Steph by email: firstname.lastname@example.org