My name is Jana Phillips. I've grown up and continue to live in North West London, in amongst stints living in Bologna, New York, San Francisco and slightly-less-exotic Nottingham.
Prior to having my kids, I was a professional project manager; developing arts programmes and delivering participatory workshops in schools, museums, galleries and hospitals.
After having my first two daughters, Emilia and Freya, I became passionate about the world of pregnancy, birth and parenting. This began as an interest in seeking out as many positive representations of birth as I could, continued on to supporting friends and family through their own pregnancies and births, and - following Freya's birth - saw me undertaking a hypnobirthing practitioner course to become a fully-qualified antenatal educator. We've since welcomed another daughter, Lyla, to our family.
Outside of my commitment to improving maternity services, I have plenty of other interests: I am a keen long-distance bike tourer, wild swimmer and cake eater, a voracious reader (when I can find the time) and a massive fan of participatory art.
My birth stories
July 20th 2014
Emilia was born in America, where my husband and I were living at the time. I was struck by how medicalised the approach to childbirth is in the US and I knew instinctively that I didn’t want that to be my experience.
I had been brought up by parents who described my birth as a joyful, exciting time in their lives. My mum never shared any horror stories with me and I always felt that childbirth was something to look forward to. I now realise what a gift this was and that it was the basis of a positive outlook that underpinned my pregnancies and birthing experiences.
So from about 14 weeks pregnant, I started to explore my options. I managed to get myself into the midwife-led system at a hospital in San Francisco and, while attending an appointment, I heard about hypnobirthing for the first time. After researching more about it online, it struck me as the perfect preparation for childbirth: a solid grounding in physiology so I could understand how my body was working and a focus on relaxation and positive thought so that I was mentally ready for the experience of childbirth.
I took the course and did plenty of ‘homework’ in my own time. I approached the process as I would do any other physical or mental challenge: I practised, I rehearsed, I became confident. I was aware that special circumstances do sometimes come up but I focused on the outcome I wanted. When someone tried to tell me their negative experience of childbirth, I politely but firmly told them I did not want to hear it. I didn’t watch films or shows that dramatised childbirth as something scary or painful. I sought out positive stories and beautiful, real, depictions of gentle, calm births.
And when it came time for me to birth my baby, I felt strong, prepared and ready. I had a comfortable, easy birth and welcomed my daughter with love, laughter and a feeling of extreme satisfaction.
8th November 2016
We moved back to the UK shortly after Emilia’s birth (we wanted to be closer to family and old friends). When she turned one, I started a new job, working part-time and I really enjoyed the balance of parenting and working. When I became pregnant with our second child, I was excited to have my baby with our amazing NHS. I was seen throughout the pregnancy by fantastic midwives at Kilburn Grange Children’s Centre. We were hoping to have a homebirth but because I am GBS+, we decided instead to have the baby at the Royal Free Birth Centre.
Again, I spent as much time as possible listening to recordings of affirmations and relaxation tracks, took a hypnobirthing refresher course, and - inbetween work and caring for Emilia - I bonded with our unborn baby and focused on a positive birth.
The experience was just as profound and exciting the second time around. Everything happened very quickly (less than three hours from the first twinge until Freya was in my arms) and once again, I felt confident, in control and at ease throughout the birth.
21st December 2019
After the birth of Freya, I was so convinced by the benefits of hypnobirthing that I retrained as a practitioner and began supporting other families as they prepared to have their babies.
When I became pregnant for the third time, I felt even more equipped with knowledge, evidence-based science and confidence. I knew this time that I wanted to have my baby at home and I did a great deal of research to establish my preferences.
Lyla was born after a very short labour, in the birth pool, in our lounge, next to the christmas tree. It was a wonderful, gentle birth and I was lucky enough to have my sister there, filming the event!
I've had three births - each in a different setting, with different caregivers and different protocols. Each birth was positive and each birth taught me more about how women and their partners deserve to be treated on one of the most important days of their lives.
My experiences of childbirth have made me passionate about supporting other parents. I feel that this is my calling and I can’t think of a more wonderful way to make a living.
I grew up in NW3 and NW6 and I have brought up both my children here. This means that I have a great deal of knowledge about the classes, activities, baby-friendly cafes, playgrounds and parks that abound in Hampstead and West Hampstead! I am always happy to share this information with you and provide advice about what’s going on for babies, toddlers and young children. The other reason that I try to offer classes on a very local basis, is that I know firsthand the value of having other friends, who live nearby, with similarly-aged children. I hope that through your hypnobirthing course (and the other services that I offer), you will gain knowledge about pregnancy, labour and childbirth whilst also making good friends who will support you through the ups and downs of parenting.
I also know about the hospitals and pre- and post-natal resources in this area. I can help you to navigate the system and provide information about the local options for where to have your baby and how to access support once your baby has arrived.
I have a welcoming home in NW6, where I host some sessions. I also offer group classes in venues around Hampstead, West Hampstead and Swiss Cottage. I can also come to you for private sessions or - if you wish to gather together a few expectant couples - I can run a bespoke group course at the venue of your choosing.