img_3552-finHello and welcome to The Wise Hippo Saffron Walden!

Thank you for visiting my website and, if you are expecting a baby, huge congratulations! It is an exciting time for you! 🙂

So how are you feeling about giving birth? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most confident you could be, where are you on that scale? Are you jumping for joy every time you think about giving birth? Or does the thought of it fill you with fear and dread as you can’t imagine how such a thing can actually be possible without excruciating pain and trauma?

My name is Zoë and I am a FEDANT registered antenatal educator, a qualified Wise Hippo hypnobirthing and birth preparation instructor, a Doula and a qualified and BACP registered Psychotherapist, experienced in working with ladies experiencing pregnancy and birth related anxiety, and post-natal anxiety and depression. 

In the last few years I have discovered just how little information and support is provided to women during their pregnancy, to prepare them for birth and beyond. Most women, it seems, are terrified of giving birth and there seems to be very little support in place to help them prepare and overcome their fears. 

I have seen first hand how the Wise Hippo Birthing Programme can have a profound effect on women (and men!) who are feeling anxious about their baby’s birth. I have seen them go from wanting an elective c section (due to an extreme fear of birth) to having a home birth! I have seen them describe birth as amazing, enjoyable, powerful and wonderful and they tell me they honestly cannot wait to do it again!

Not many people seem to know about hypnobirthing or birth preparation and not many people believe that birth can be positive, and this motivated me to train to become a Wise Hippo instructor and bring the Wise Hippo clases and courses to pregnant couples in Saffron Walden. I feel passionate about reaching as many women and couples as I can to help them have a positive and empowering birth experience.

birthrights.orgI also feel strongly that more needs to be done to support and empower women so their birth doesn’t just ‘happen to them’ but so they feel in control and are able to make informed decisions which are respected. According to “Research has shown that feeling in control during childbirth is associated with positive feelings about birth experiences, while women who do not feel in control of their birth have higher levels of dissatisfaction and may experience long-term psychological trauma” (Birthrights, 2013). In this research, 73% of women who’d had interventions during birth felt that their birth experience had impacted negatively on how they felt about themselves, their relationship with their baby and their partners. This is a very high statistic and more needs to be done to change this. I want the babies in today’s society to feel that a positive birth experience is the norm when they grow up and are ready to have their own babies. 

Zoe Tolman FEDANT registered

I am proud and excited to be teaching The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme which is a FEDANT approved antenatal course. I am also a FEDANT registered instructor and I feel that my psychotherapist training and experience in working with clients with pregnancy and birth anxiety will enable me to support you on a deeper level with any fears you may be feeling in your pregnancy or around giving birth.

In February 2016 I completed my Doula training with the wonderful Developing Doulas and I am very excited to also be offering Birth Doula and Post-Natal Doula services. More details on these services coming soon!

My passion lies in supporting women and couples throughout their pregnancy, birth and beyond and I aim to do this in any way I can, either by being on the end of the phone, text, email, Facebook or meeting up for a cuppa and a chat! 

it-takes-a-village-to-raise-a-childHaving a baby can feel so very isolating, especially in the society we live in today where the sense of community has been somewhat lost. There is an African proverb which states “it takes a whole village to raise a child”. My aim is to bring women and couples together before and after birth, to help them ‘find their village’ and build friendships and support networks, to signpost them to reliable information and local support services and to just be there to support them on their journey from pregnancy to parenthood. 

So if you like what you have read so far and want to find out more about how we could work together please get in touch! I would love to hear from you! 

With warm wishes and positive birthing thoughts,





Qualifications, Additional Training & Registrations

  • FEDANT Registered Antenatal Educator
  • Registered Member of the BACP
  • Qualified Wise Hippo Birthing Instructor
  • Hypnotherapy CPD for Counsellors (BACP Endorsed)
  • BACP Certificate of Proficiency
  • CPCAB Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling
  • CPCAB Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling
  • CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies
  • Foundation in Counselling Studies
  • EduCare Level 2 Safeguarding Adults 
  • EduCare Child Protection Programme
  • Tongue Tie Study Day for doulas, birthworkers, peer supporters
  • Closing the Bones Workshop
  • Mindful Rebozo Workshop
  • Talk on Baby & Toddler Sleep by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

I am also fully DBS checked and hold full public liability and professional indemnity insurance.


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 Level 5 Certificate 001









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