Nicole Lloyd truly discovered how powerful sound can be when she was in labour with her third child. As her mother played a crystal singing bowl during her contractions, she was able to ride the waves of intensity as the sound guided her to use her voice in a focused and uninhibited way, allowing the pain to subside and her power to rise. She was inspired to share her knowledge with others and SoundBirth was born. Since then, she has been teaching expectant couples and birth professionals how to use a crystal singing bowl and their voice during labour, and has enjoyed hearing how the bowl has supported other women to have empowered and positive birth experiences. Here Nicole talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind her business, the challenges she has overcome, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Since I was 15, I have wanted to share music in a therapeutic way with people due to my love of playing piano and bass and interest in personal development. I read books about music and sound therapy, worked with elderly as a music specialist, collected unusual percussion instruments and brainstormed all the business names and workshop ideas I could come up with.
Then finally, SoundBirth was created 20 years later, after the birth of my third daughter, Kira.
Here is the SoundBirth story….
SoundBirth began when my mum intuitively started playing one of my newly purchased crystal singing bowls that was sitting in the corner of my bedroom.
It was good timing because my contractions were starting to feel more intense and I was starting to want to moan and groan because of the intensity … but I felt embarrassed about making any strange sounds in front of everyone (midwife, husband, friend, Mum…). I had felt self-conscious and inhibited during my previous two home births too!
BUT, as soon as I heard the sound of the bowl, I started to make more sound with my voice and in return felt more relief! The entire room seemed to disappear and all that was present were the sounds I was co-creating with the bowl.
Soon the contraction dissipated and so did the sound of the bowl.
OMG. I couldn’t believe the difference in my anxiety and pain levels!
From then on, my doula was instructed by me to play that bowl throughout every contraction for the next 5 hours … and then again during my fourth labour, my birth team took turns playing that bowl … this time for about 30 hours!
The pure tone of that resonant bowl HELD my hand and gave me the strength I needed to birth my babies!
After that first SoundBirth experience back in 2009, I KNEW I had to share this with the birth world!
So I created SOUNDBIRTH!
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I remember coming up with the name “SoundBirth”, falling in love with it and then rushing off to the city to register it before anyone else thought of it! I had two young kids in tow and a new baby in my sling. It was a hot day but I didn’t care … I was on a mission.
That was the first step!
Then I had some professional pics with myself and some bowls taken, a Facebook account set up, a basic website created and I was ready to go!
Well that’s what I thought! What I found was that getting a new idea out there wasn’t going to be so easy! I knew my business skills weren’t up to scratch, so I hired a few business coaches and they encouraged me to have a stall at the Pregnancy and Babies expo to get the message out there.
That expo was the official launch of “SoundBirth”. I loved sharing the idea with people as they came by my stall to hear the sound of the crystal singing bowl and find out how it helped women at birth. It was enlightening to see people’s responses, positive and negative, as it helped me see what I still needed to explain.
After the expo, I offered a number of free information sessions and sometimes I didn’t have anyone show up! Disheartening for an optimistic entrepreneur that’s for sure! But I kept offering and kept learning and reminding myself that no one had even heard of or heard a crystal singing bowl, so connecting that to the concept of using one during labour was a massive step for most people.
To me though, it was obvious, and I felt 100% committed, as I still do today, to finding a way to explain to people how supportive and powerful the bowl is for birthing women, their partners and their baby.