What’s your name? Anna Hayes
What do you do?
I am an antenatal teacher with The Daisy Foundation – I teach Daisy Birthing Active Antenatal classes, and I am also qualified in infant massage and movement, which I teach in Daisy Baby Tinies and Wrigglers classes which are baby massage and yoga based. Daisy Birthing is an amazing pregnancy and birth preparation class, supportive of all birth choices. Although it’s an active birth class, it’s not just for women who are planning on having an active and natural birth. Active birth means being an active participant in your birth, however that is. You might be planning an elective section, or a more medically managed birth. So, I support women through pregnancy, and give them the knowledge and tools to feel relaxed and confident about birth. The class is all encompassing, helping you prepare for a more positive birth, whichever route you take. Daisy Birthing is unique, because it’s a fusion of movement, breathing for labour, deep relaxation, gentle birth hypnosis, and we know that those things linked together, can help women get mentally and physically prepared for birth and enable them to have a more comfortable and easier birth, and a more positive one.
Our baby classes are perfect for mums and babies, very much geared towards the experience of mum and baby together. Our Tinies classes are especially designed for those first few weeks after birth, when mum and baby are getting to know each other and bonding, and helps with that fourth trimester period, the three months after birth when babies are still adjusting to entering the new world and mums are adjusting to life with a newborn. I love watching the loving glances and smiles between the mums and their babies as they enjoy their massage together. When babies get a bit bigger and more wriggly, Wrigglers offers them a fun, bouncy, baby-yoga based class, using movement to build those underlying motor-sensory skills, using rhythm and beat to build up underlying skills for communication and developing an understanding of the world. What makes Daisy Baby unique is that it is very much mum and baby orientated, with small intimate classes, babies don’t become over-stimulated, and the classes are very age appropriate – they have a little Daisy magic!
I feel as though I go on a journey with women, particularly if they come to Daisy Birthing when pregnant, and then bring their babies to Tinies and then Wrigglers. I get to know them really well and it’s a privilege to share that journey into parenthood.
Why did you start your venture?
I’d had a career as a speech and language therapist prior to this for about 20 years. After I’d had my own babies, I became completely fascinated with pregnancy and birth, and it kept niggling away at me, to the point where I decided that I wanted to change direction and be involved in this world of pregnancy and birth. I retrained as an antenatal teacher, having done lots of research into different methods, and discovered The Daisy Foundation (previously known as Lazy Daisy). I instantly knew that Daisy Birthing was the method that I wanted to teach because the values and the principles totally resonated with how I felt labour and birth should and could be for women. I wanted to be able to support and enable women to have choices, be informed, and have the positive birth experience that they were hoping to have. Daisy Birthing was one of the first independent antenatal classes to gain FEDANT approval. Its founder, Julie Long, who was trained in pregnancy yoga and birth hypnosis became aware that neither approach was suited to all women or all births, feeling that something was missing, and that led to the development of Daisy Birthing. There are now over 160 teachers across the UK supporting and empowering women. In 2014 we became The Daisy Foundation, a not for profit social enterprise, where money is used to fund projects which support mums, parents and babies. My own birth experiences contributed to that feeling of wanting to be able to empower others to have perhaps better experiences than I’d had. Looking back at my own births, things could have been very different, had I had the benefit of Daisy.
What do you want people to know about you?
I am a mum of two boys, and I am completely passionate about what I do. I absolutely love teaching, and my mums and mums-to-be, often say they love my warm, friendly, and informal style. I don’t think my boys would agree with that, all of the time! But the enthusiasm I have for the classes clearly shines through.
What are your aims?
To spread the word about Daisy. I’d love as many women as possible to experience the benefits of the birthing and baby classes. There’s something about these classes that make them special. I would love to see Daisy Birthing as the number one pregnancy and birth preparation class. I see the huge benefits that women attending the class experience. It’s very affordable and accessible but I’d also like to be able to link up and work with other agencies and organisations to make classes available to vulnerable women and others who might not otherwise come.
If you could only give one piece of advice to my audience, who would it be to, and what would it be?
My advice would be to pregnant women – not to fear birth. To understand that it is a natural process, one which most bodies are designed to do, and the key to enabling that process is staying calm and relaxed, and trusting your body. In labour and birth, it allows the flow of natural hormones, which keeps endorphins high and enables your body to work as it wants to. If you understand how your body works then you can enhance and work with it. Sometimes with the best will in the world a birth journey can take an unexpected route, but with the right mindset it can still be a hugely positive and exhilarating experience!
My Personal Review...
I signed up to the Daisy Birthing Active Antenatal Classes with a little trepidation - would I be the only second-timer and would the classes be relevant for second-timers? I discovered my answers were no and yes, respectively! It was nice that there was one other lady who already had a child, and despite everyone else expecting their first child, it didn't make a bit of difference! All the ladies were warm and welcoming, and easy to chat to, some having completed the six week course previously, and for others it was their first class as well. With regards to relevance, this course covered different aspects of labour and birthing that had either not been covered in my previous attendence of antenatal classes, or it had been explained differently. The 'active' part of the classes was gentle and focussed on stretching and breathing. I had developed some quite painful pelvic girdle pain during this pregnancy, and Anna adapted movements to within my capability and ensured I didn't put any undue stress on my pelvis. It was such a relaxing class, just 1.5 hours out of each week to focus on me and my unborn baby, and to chat with other pregnant women. My favourite part of the classes were the deep relaxation / gentle hypnosis sessions, which I could have easily fallen asleep in! Altogether a great investment in my time and money in preparing for my new little bundle to arrive!
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