We met Zuzanna, mom of 3 and meditation and HypnoBirthing teacher, through HeyMama and had the pleasure to chat with her about her path to meditation & HypnoBirthing and her company Ceremonia Meditation where she teaches both.
She also spoke to us about her unmedicated natural birth with twins - which the doctors at her hospital are probably still talking about! Her experience being pregnant through the pandemic, fighting for the birth she wanted and breastfeeding twins is so inspiring! Read our interview below for more...and happy World Breastfeeding Week!
1) Tell us a bit about yourself!
I was born and raised in the small town of Srem, Poland and from a young age, I knew my passion was to travel. I was a synchronized swimmer for five years before signing my first modeling contract, which marked the beginning of a truly exciting modeling career. At 18 years old I moved to Hong Kong for 2 years , then to New York for the next decade.
While working as a model I also got my degree in Art History and Media Studies and worked for art galleries and fashion production houses. In 2017 I moved to Southampton, NY where I now live with my husband, 3 daughters (3.5 year old Loulou and 6 month old twins Jojo and Frankie) and 2 rescue dogs. I teach meditation, HypnoBirthing and curate intentional events under Ceremonia Meditation.
2) Tell us about Ceremonia, the inspiration behind it, and your mission to help new moms through hypnobirthing.
As wonderful as working in the fashion industry was, unfortunately it also had a dark side for me. The pressure of my profession caused my mental health to suffer. I was struggling with eating disorders and depressive states until one day I decided that I'd had enough and had to get help. I started looking into mindfulness techniques and I found myself on a spiritual journey that led me to meditation, yoga, energy work, sound healing, plant medicines and many more modalities. All of my efforts resulted in me learning how to manage my disorders, improving my mental and physical wellbeing and completely changing my life.
In 2016, through an online video and an essay about my struggles, I suddenly found myself being a mentor and advocate for change in the field of eating disorders in the fashion industry. Around the same time I started my training in becoming a meditation teacher.
In 2017 I gave birth to my daughter at home using the HypnoBirthing techniques. Becoming a mother is the most challenging thing I have ever done and I felt like I had to embody all the tools that I had learned to simply survive. Starting to teach was the next step and it came quite organically. I hope that with everything I do through Ceremonia Meditation will help others see the sacred nature of life.
I truly love sharing the tools that helped me improve my life with others.
3) What is hypnobirthing and how can it help mothers during pregnancy, labor, birth & postpartum?
HypnoBirthing – The Mongan Method – is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques. HypnoBirthing provides the missing link that allows women to use their natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable and connected birthing. Emphasis is placed on pregnancy and childbirth, as well as on pre-birth parenting and the consciousness of the pre-born baby.
As a birthing method, HypnoBirthing® is as new as tomorrow and as old as ancient times. It is presented in a series of five, 2 1/2-hour classes. In my classes I talk about conception, pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum and parenthood and make sure that by the last session parents feel confident and excited about each stage. It is the most comprehensive birth course I've ever tried and I absolutely love to share it with expecting couples. I have given birth twice (including birthing twins) using the HypnoBirthing methods and both births were natural, unassisted and drug-free. I think that speaks for itself.
4) Any customer testimonials/stories that blew you away/made all the hard work worth it?
Yes, this one is my favorite:
“I delivered my baby girl on 10/30. I was successful with the VBAC! Stop here if you aren’t looking to hear birth stories, but I will say I am only sharing this because it is ALL positive and beautiful and a true hypnobirthing success!
It was the most amazing and beautiful experience of my entire life. My labor was fast, lasting 6 hours before my little Paloma was wriggling around in my arms. I went into the day with no fear, no anxiety, just meditative calm and love and support from my husband and our doula.
We stayed at home until my surges were coming every 3 minutes or so and I could no longer hold a conversation during them. Then, we went to the birthing center! I requested that my midwife check me when I arrived, but not tell me any numbers in terms of where my cervix was. She told my birth team so they could better help me through surges.
I think that helped a lot because I didn’t allow any “progress” numbers affect my confidence. Good thing because it turned out I was only 3cm! Things were intense and the nurse in the room asked me if I had considered pain meds. I locked eyes with my doula, and she politely told the nurse we were going to keep managing together without interventions. She came back two hours later and I was already at an 8, my water broke and I jumped to a 10. 30 minutes of breathing down and there she was!! Zero interventions for the entire birth! 20 minutes later and I was up walking around snuggling my baby and feeling great.
I am eternally grateful to you all, especially you Zuzanna, for connecting me with the knowledge and strength that going into birth with a hypnobirthing mindset provided to me. I am still on cloud 9 and I will never ever forget the beauty and magic of my daughter's birthing day!” - Lizzie
5) How was your experience being pregnant and giving birth during the pandemic?
The positive side of being pregnant during the pandemic was being encouraged to stay home, relax, cook, hang out with my toddler and not have any FOMO :) The hard part for me was not being able to bring my husband to our midwife appointments and sonograms.
Thankfully he was able to be with me the whole time while giving birth. I also found a way to have my mom travel from Europe to be with us during the early postpartum days. The pandemic made it all just a little bit harder but overall I can’t complain. All you can do is adapt and grow from the experience, right?
6) You gave birth to your twins naturally, no meds, no c-section. Can you tell us about your experience being able to have the birth you wanted?
Before I found out I was pregnant with twins, I wanted to give birth at home just like I did with my older daughter. My closest family members were present in the room for the birth of my daughter and it was an incredible experience for everyone, so they were supportive in my decision of doing it that way again.
Sadly, this time I wasn’t successful in finding a midwife who would take on the mission of a multiple home birth. I had to agree to my second best option which was a hospital midwifery group. At first, I was very disappointed I couldn't have the birth I envisioned, but decided I will make this hospital birth as close to a home birth experience as I could. It was a wild ride and a lot of negotiations. At 39 weeks I refused medical induction and decided to use natural means of induction of labor at home. I was successful (to the amazement of my midwives) and soon on my merry way to the hospital.
Laboring at the hospital was ok, I was lucky to be laboring on a weeknight with not too many medical staff around to interrupt my process. When it came time to birth the babies, even though nothing alarming was going on, I had to be in the operating room. About 15 medical professionals were present to witness the natural and unmedicated twin birth. There were pediatricians, surgeons, NICU teams, nurses, students...add my husband and doula and I felt like I was giving birth in front of a huge audience. So many curious eyes, so many different energies in the room...As a HypnoBirthing teacher I decided to block it all off and use the techniques that I teach , stay calm and breathe through it all. It worked and soon I was holding my two angels. Born naturally, without drugs and as calmly as could be possible.
Apparently I was the talk of the hospital that week. I was the weirdo who gave birth to twins naturally. The lady who could get up and walk immediately after giving birth to her babies because she was unmedicated. I find it quite sad that my decisions were seen as an anomaly and a big act of courage. I think giving birth naturally needs to be normalized again.
7) Tell us about breastfeeding twins! How are you managing? What advice would you give other twin moms who want to breastfeed?
Exclusively breastfeeding twins has been a big adjustment (from nursing just one baby) and a bit of a challenge. I have yet to master how to tandem feed. I have now tried two twin nursing pillows and I still can’t figure it out. So I feed each baby individually, one after the other. I took time to learn their cues and now I do my best to feed them on their “schedule." Even if one baby is hungry and the other one doesn’t seem to want to eat, I feed them both.
Producing milk for two little humans takes a lot of my energy so I feel like I’m always rehydrating and always eating. My milk supply drops when I don’t get enough rest. The advice I would give twin moms is remember that as challenging this may be, it is a special time that won’t last forever. Enjoy it and give yourself an extra big hug today for doing it!
8) 3 words that describe you as a mother:
Loving, dedicated, imperfect.
Thanks so much for sharing your story Zuzanna and for giving us an intro to HypnoBirthing! And for our community she is offering $100 off her Hypnobirthing course. Just mention us when you reach out to her.