After hearing many negative stories about childbirth and feeling fearful of the process herself, Vanessa Barnard realised she needed to do something to change her mindset. After attending hypnobirthing classes, she was able to use the tools and techniques she had learned to experience two beautiful, positive, powerful and empowering births. A Registered Paediatric Nurse, she became a Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner in 2019 and is passionate about women’s health and preparing expectant mothers and their partners for birth and parenthood. She launched Illoura Birth to help parents-to-be feel calm, confident, empowered and excited for the arrival of their precious babies, whatever turn their birthing journey may take.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
The birth of my first son was such a powerful experience. After being told so many negative stories about birth and feeling quite fearful of the process, I knew I had to do something to change my mindset. I attended hypnobirthing classes and it changed so much for my husband and I. We felt so excited and following the birth, I just remember feeling so empowered and having this feeling of connection to my body that I had never felt before. I just knew I had to share this with other couples.
Nine months later, I signed up to do my hypnobirthing training and I have never looked back. Following the birth of my second son, the passion really ignited further and I also had a strong want to expand my offerings, which now include natural pregnancy, birth and postpartum products and a newborn education class for expectant parents.
I am very passionate about birth and the early parenting days and I want others to experience just how beautiful and positive the experience and transition can be, that we don’t have to focus on the negatives and that preparation really does lead to smoother transitions.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I never really sat down and planned. I have always been that person who just wants to get going and see what happens along the way. Looking back, this was not the right approach at the time. I was lucky that being a part of Hypnobirthing Australia™, I had my listing on their practitioner directory which drove some traffic. I also made connections with other like-minded birth workers to get my service out there. Starting out, I had no cash flow for marketing. It was all organic growth. As tiring as it can be, after two years I am seeing the rewards of all that hard work. I’m proud that I have developed a real sense of community with my social media following.
I now sit down monthly, quarterly, and yearly to reflect and set my goals. Since becoming strict on this and learning what works for my business, I can now see the growth. Two years ago, if you had said I would be selling out all my birth classes, launching a newborn class and launching pregnancy, birth and post-partum products, I would have laughed! But here I am, loving every minute of it.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
For me it has been the pandemic believe it or not. I really took the time to sit down and plan. After my second positive birth, it really reinforced my passion to keep sharing this knowledge. I resumed in November 2020 back to face-to-face classes and kept my newborn classes online. I changed my location to reach more clients and really put myself out there connecting with my social media followers. From there, it has organically grown, and all my birth classes are becoming fully booked 2 months in advance now. I have previous clients referring friends and family. It really is a wonderful feeling knowing I get to wake up and be a part of these special transitions in people’s lives.