Anne Doherty Quinn tells DW why she set up 'Simply Birth Donegal' - classes and workshops to help parents with birth preparations for the real world.

Being pregnant with your first child can feel overwhelming – so much information, so many physical changes going on, so many things to think about! I remember swaying from being thrilled to being terrified every five minutes or so.

This is so exciting … how are we going to do this? … Oh God, what have we done? … and back to yay we’re having a baby again! It was like getting on a rollercoaster and not having a clue what was going to happen next.

I’ll be honest, the thoughts of childbirth scared the bejaysus out of me. I knew I needed to do ‘something’ as I didn’t want to spend my entire pregnancy a nervous wreck.

Being a teacher, I decided to get a good book on the subject. I avoided the ones with pictures (too squeamish), the ones with medical jargon (too depressing) and got myself a ‘hippy’ book on hypnobirthing instead. A little bit of light reading, nothing too heavy, perfect.

Then, the more I read, the more it just made sense. It wasn’t hippy at all. I wouldn’t be hypnotised or in a trance. It was actually just a modern take on childbirth preparation. The subtle shift in perspective from birth being something that happens to you (leave your dignity at the door and hope for the best) to birth being something that you do made all the difference for me. Understanding how the body works. The role fear can play. Learning how to use your mind in a positive way and how to work with your hormones, especially in a hospital setting.

I know what I needed to go from a place of fear to having three positive, ‘didn’t believe it was possible’ type of birthing experiences. I packed in the day job and set up Simply Birth Donegal, to help others do the same.

Yes birth can be unpredictable, but with the right preparation beforehand, you will be better equipped to navigate the turns of your labour and birth in a way that leaves you feeling calm and in control. My aim is for more and more women to experience positive (not perfect) births. This is birth preparation for the real world. No incense in sight, I promise.

One day ‘Positive and Prepared’ workshops are on in Letterkenny this Saturday, 16th of  June and Saturday, 11th of August, as well as in Donegal Town on Sunday, 15th of July. Contact Simply Birth Donegal Facebook page for more information.

The one day ‘Positive and Prepared’ workshops are for both you and your birth partner and are suitable anytime from 20 weeks onwards.
Topics include:
– The Physiology of labour and birth
– How to work with your hormones
– Your mental toolkit for birth
– Breathing Techniques
– Comfort Measures
– Communicating with your Caregiver
– The Role of the Birth Partner
– Optimal Positioning Tips
– Birth Preferences for the real world
The course also includes a hypnobirthing book and 5MP3s. For bookings, call 087 924 1432 or message the Simply Birth Donegal Facebook page.

Anne Doherty Quinn, mum of three and founder of Simply Birth Donegal