The word ‘hypnosis’ conjures images of swinging pendulums, mad scientists and other quack doctoring. However, hypnosis is not only a viable medical technique, but it can help make birthing easier, faster, and more comfortable as well. Blissborn is a series of lessons developed in 2009 by Shelley Black and her sister Laura Wood that use practical hypnosis for a blissful birthing experience.
“Our goal is to change the way the world gives birth, and that’s a big job worthy of a big effort,” said Black who is a certified hypnotherapist.
Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of the hypnotic state, which allows an individual control over blood pressure, heart rate, and, in pregnant women, the dilation of her cervix, and the strength of her contractions.
A large part of promoting Blissborn is busting pop culture myths surrounding hypnosis and re-educating people about the benefits hypnotherapy.
Wood and Black had always talked about opening their own business, but they couldn’t find an idea worthy of the time and money investment. That is, until they started having children. “We talked often of the miracle of birth, the elegance and grace with which the female body grows, births and nurtures a baby,” said Black. “Obviously, women have been birthing babies rather successfully for thousands and thousands of years, yet modern obstetrics have been ‘rescuing’ women from this natural process for about 100 years.”
In 2007 they enrolled in a hypnotherapist training course at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America in Santa Fe, N.M. After completing the seven-week course, they sought certification in a birth hypnosis program. But they noticed none of the programs available used the full range of therapeutic benefits hypnosis had to offer.
“We were sure that we could provide better training in a shorter time, charge less for the classes and reach more people with the message about what hypnosis really is,” said Black.
Just four weeks after identifying their niche they envisioned how their business could take shape. Putting pen to paper they created a list of key elements like customers, environment, materials, and desired outcomes for the students and themselves.
They then offered a free self-hypnosis class at a local family resource centre.
“We knew we needed deadlines,” said Black. “Picking up the phone and setting up the first class was really scary because we didn’t have any of the other elements ready. But we knew that having a deadline would drive us to make it happen.”
That first class not only filled up, but created a waiting list.
They held a second class to train birth partners followed by a third class about parents’ fears on the birthing process. As popularity mounted they added a fourth class on pain control techniques and finished with a class on special hypnosis techniques.
Within six months of starting the program, Blissborn began to generate revenue. Shortly afterward other hypnotherapists wanted their class plans and materials.
“Word-of-mouth has helped (Blissborn) spread nationwide in just a couple of months,” said Black adding that the program is now available in 10 states and new educators are being trained every few months. “The program is getting excellent reviews from teachers, students and professional curriculum developers alike.”
Black admits the biggest challenge so far has been marketing to advertisers.
“Learning to ‘sell the sizzle, not the steak’ has been hard for two girls who were raised to speak in plain English and answer questions as directly as possible,” said Black. “We both had that ‘eww’ reaction to advertising in the beginning.”
Learning successful marketing, networking skills, and getting friends and family involved are just some of the ways soon-to-be mom entrepreneurs can achieve success in their business.
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because you will learn from them. There are a limited number of ways to mess up, but your success can be unlimited,” said Black. “And most importantly, just get started! Get yourself a deadline and go. You probably don’t need to do as much as you think to experience your first success.”