After hypnobirthing played a huge part in her own birth experiences, Nicki Layton wanted to educate others so that they too could approach childbirth feeling calm, relaxed and confident. The education she provides addresses any concerns that you might have as a mum-to-be and gives you the tools you need to feel in control. Through Bold Birthing, she provides you with a solid foundation of knowledge that helps remove anxiety, and she supports you every step of the way on your journey from conception through to motherhood. Here she talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about what inspired her to start her business, the challenges she has faced along the way, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Quite simply – the birth of my son. Him and my experience as a birth partner to my best friend when we were just 19 years old.
After a couple of years trying, we finally fell pregnant in early 2017 (must have enjoyed Christmas A LOT that year!) and after the initial shock and excitement – the anxiety and fear really started to set in… not just for me and how I was supposed to birth this rather large growing bump, but also for my husband. I didn’t want him to feel the same way I did as my best friend’s birth partner – a total lemon.
My experience back then made me realise how I had NO clue what was going on, NO clue what to expect, but what was worse was how I didn’t know how to support her as someone in labour or her as an individual, and knowing what would have been important to her. I knew that if my husband was anxious, concerned, even panicking, then that would hugely impact our birth experience too and that’s something I really didn’t want for either of us.
But this is when the word “hypnobirthing” started to raise its beautiful head.
Even strangers on the train to London would come up and quietly whisper to me “you MUST do hypnobirthing” which, aside from being a little odd because there’s the unspoken rule of not speaking on a train in rush hour, began our wondering. I mean what the hell is “hypnobirthing”? And I admit my brain went straight to “well that sounds a load of hippy woo woo”… but we were keen to try anything so I found our local instructor and booked onto the next course, no questions asked.
We had no idea what to expect, even though we were both full of scepticism, and I can tell you now that by the end of that first session – we were both on board – it wasn’t woo woo, it was science. It was pure, unadulterated science around birth. Our fears were acknowledged, they were understood, but also addressed within that first class, which was mind-blowing, and driving home that night I was energised, I was excited – and so was my husband.
The education we received over those 4 weeks was game changing. We went from thinking that birth would be painful, frightening with no control, to calm, relaxed and completely IN control.
And that’s precisely the birth experience we had with our little boy… and our little girl in 2020.
This is not something that is to be whispered on trains – this needs to be shouted from the rooftops.
So that’s why I am here – this is Bold Birthing.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Bold Birthing officially began early 2019 and it was certainly a soft launch, a few case study clients, free courses to pregnant friends, or heavily discounted for early paying clients, because money blocks are a pain in the backside with business – especially a service-based one. Is that a British thing too? Is it a woman in business thing too? Yep, I think it is… and after working with many women in business in the UK, I’m pretty certain of it now.
Even though I knew the education worked and I had my own birth and thousands of other examples confirming it, launching the business was actually very subtle. And as I also worked part-time as a bid writer, it was very much a “side venture”.
But… the more couples I worked with, the more results I saw and heard, including the negative experiences some had previously had – desperately seeking a different birth this time round. I quickly discovered that this business wasn’t just a business – it was a cause.
And it is a cause much bigger than me. Much bigger than my business.
Coming to this realisation came from baby steps, and everyone knows they are the best ones to start with – add in the occasional leap of faith, and you can find yourself in a place where you love what you do and more importantly know your worth – because I know, whatever that little flame inside of you is, you can stoke it and it can become huge.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Oh gosh that’s an easy one… the parents I work with and the INCREDIBLE birth stories they send to me. These are always my biggest breakthroughs because it shows the education continues to work and the support I provide them with is well worth every second of every day I do it.
I knew the education worked after the birth of my boy, but when I taught my very first couple and they came away from their education feeling prepared, calm and confident, followed by a birth that confirmed just how strong they were, and the sense of empowerment with all the choices they made confirmed it for me.