This month we will have been living in Tring for 2 years. In some ways it feels like it has flown by, in other ways it feels like we have always been here.
I’d been in South London for the past 15+ years and loved every part of it….the buzz, the people, the fashion, the free thinking, the melting pot of cultures living harmoniously together, the restaurants, the fact that there was always something to discover. And that’s where I found love.
We bought a place and our 2 became a 3 and we discovered a whole new side to London that we had never even imagined pre-kids – a community. I loved my city more for providing me with this. And then 3 became 4 and suddenly life got a bit more tricky.
Balancing a career in advertising and London childcare costs was almost pointless. I was already incredibly disillusioned with the industry and struggling to balance work with family.
Following 2 incredible hypno-births, I had been considering re-training as a Hypnobirthing teacher. These thoughts, maternity leave and redundancy coincided and so I took a leap of faith. I could work this around the children and I truly felt an affinity with supporting women as they journey through pregnancy into motherhood and showing them that birth didn’t have to be feared as something you had to ‘get through’ to get your baby. I had found my calling!
My business grew organically, word spread and I was easily able to wrap it around caring for the boys. However spending more time at home, with 2 little people and all that they accumulate, our home began to feel smaller and teaching from home was difficult. We grew weary of the traffic and began to crave green space and fresh air, but it took so long to get to those places because of the traffic!
We began looking further afield. My best friend lives in Tring, which is how we knew of it. We came for a visit, found a house and fell in love with the little town, but it felt so far from what we had and we weren’t certain whether it was too big a leap from big city to sleepy town!
Move day came and went and we spent our first evening at The Akeman enjoying a celebratory dinner. The lady serving us was beyond friendly, asking all sorts of questions and recommending different places to take the kids. She seemed so welcoming and I quickly realised, that’s just how it’s done in Tring.
It took some adjustment to realise that the time it took to drive to Tesco’s was the time it sometimes used to take to get out of our road back in London. Even my son asked ‘are we here already?’ when we first made the drive! And then the cashier asking ‘what had I been up to today, how old are my children’. The Londoner in me was suspicious at first, it took me a couple of weeks to warm to it. These people weren’t weirdos, they were simply friendly…if anything it was me who was the strange one. How had these values left me, to simply be friendly to people I met?
Our first proper ‘country’ walk in Tring Park, we naively wore our trainers and took the pushchair. We were used to Richmond Park and Tooting Common with their concrete pathways and ample parking. We looked like proper townies as we tried to haul our 3 wheel double pushchair over the kissing gates in the park and up and over the bridge across the A41. And then, where are the paths? Argh, look at the size of those cows!
The space and beauty we have surrounding this town is spectacular. I feel a warm sense of pride when people visit and we get to take them for walks around our beautiful town, the reservoirs, the woods.
We moved the weekend Black Goo opened. It was great to see that the town was thriving, that it was still growing and that we could grow with it. And in the short time we have been here, we have watched it flourish and change so much already. The start of Tring Buzz, which lets face it, everyone loves and is doing wonders in bringing us together as a community. Allowing us to learn more about small businesses and the people that run them. Craft Yard, Restaurant 23 & Lussmans with more to come. Let’s not forget the originals, who have stood the test of time and continue to thrive, Kings Arms being a particular favourite. So many spaces to meet people and continue to form friendships and grow that sense of belonging. And for the days when you really miss your friends from the City, the train journey is so manageable and dinner in Central London completely achievable.
I wanted expectant parents to have that same sense of community and now run a facebook group called Pregnant in Beds, Herts & Bucks. It is a safe place for mums-to-be to ask questions, find friendship and support.
I have never felt so welcome and lived somewhere so friendly, people go above and beyond to look after each other. And that’s where I come in too. Teaching Hypnobirthing and pregnancy relaxation classes, I love watching the transition from woman to mother, something magical and beautiful. My classes work with couples and help them to understand their birthing body, so that they can work with it and have a positive birth, where their partner can support them confidently and calmly. You see people leave feeling happier and that’s a really special feeling, to know you have been a part of that.
I also know how hard it can be, starting over with no knowledge or understanding about the little person you havebrought into the world and a thousand opinions from everyone to manage. As more new people moveto this town, who don’t have friends here yet, that transition becomes harder. So in addition to my hypnobirthing courses, I now run a free post-natal coffee morning to help newparents to grow their support network, to understand that there is a whole community ready to help and support them.
As I moved my business from London to Tring, it has been a constant education. I was very fortunate that I hadn’t needed to advertise, I didn’t even have a website, word of mouth was so powerful. Naively I thought it would be the same once we moved, but how could it be, when I hadn’t taught anyone locally to get that ball rolling and it seemed, when fewer people had even heard about hypnobirthing.
However, in 2 short years I have connected with so many local birth supporters, pregnancy yoga teachers, acupuncturists, reflexologists, antenatal teachers, midwives and parents and that sense of community has continued. I am grateful to the Tring Wellbeing Community, who I am proud to be a part of, and who assisted many of these connections, as well as meeting so many members of our community.
It may be the circles I mix in, but I feel like a change is happening. Women are realising that birth doesn’t have to be feared, that they can take active steps to make it a positive experience, that by being informed and active throughout their pregnancy they can make a difference.
Even the reactions I get from fathers-to-be when they realise that my course is logical and science based and that the ‘hypno’ word is almost falsely advertising what Hypnobirthing is all about, so they feel confident helping to support their partners and knowing their role in birth is just as important.
And so, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you to all the people that have made me and my family feel so welcome and to all the people who continue to do our town proud, to smile and welcome everyone who passes through it. They say it takes a village to raise a child and all the people within Tring make it a a town I am honoured to call, my home.
Leanne is the founder of Brighter Birthing – Hypnobirthing.
Complete Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Courses
4 x Tuesday evenings per month 7:30pm-9:45pm or 2 x weekend days 10am-3:30pm
£275 per couple
Private Courses: £395 per couple at times to suit you
Pregnancy Relaxation Course – every other Wednesday evening 7:30pm-9pm
£10 per session
Post Natal Coffee Morning – last Wednesday morning of every month
Positive Birth Meeting – one evening every month 7:30pm-9pm – open to birth workers, expectant parents, parents, midwives or anyone with an interest in birth