Why This Class?
September 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
“Do we really need to take a childbirth preparation class?”
Throughout most of human history, women attended the births of their nieces, nephews, siblings and neighbors before they ever got pregnant. Young women knew what it felt like to be in the room with a birthing woman—the sounds, the smells, the patience, the fierceness, the gentleness. They witnessed what the experienced women in the room did to support the laboring mother. Today, most women are inducted into the birthing world when they give birth to their own child. So, Yes. Parents-to-be really do need to take a childbirth preparation class—a good one.
“What if I just take the class at my hospital?”
Then you will learn to be a good patient. It’s possible you’ll get an excellent instructor. It’s possible you’ll get a nurse just grateful for the extra paycheck. It’s certain you will get information presented through the prism of what is normal procedure at that hospital. Each birth is as unique as each baby. To prepare thoughtfully for your birth, you must have a broad understanding of how a birth may unfold.
“Why should I take a Birthing From Within course?”
Birth is a rite of passage, not a medical event, even when medical support is part of the journey. As a Birthing From Within mentor my only goal is for you to look back on your birth as a positive experience. A woman’s degree of satisfaction with her experience is more greatly influenced by how supported she feels throughout her birth than by any particular choice she makes. Parents in my classes learn to stay connected to their babies and their bodies, regardless of what path their birth takes.
“All that matters is that I have a healthy baby, right?”
Mamatoto is a favorite word of mine. In Swahili it means “MotherBaby”, indicating they are one interconnected unit, rather than separate beings. What is good for the mother, is good for the baby. A mother who feels good about her birth has an easier adjustment to parenting, breastfeeds more easily, and has a baby that sleeps more. A mother’s birth experience impacts the health and happiness of the whole family even months after the birth. A woman who prepares wisely for birth is setting the stage for a healthier baby, a healthier body, a healthier relationship, and a healthier future.
“So, what do we get when we take your class?”
Comprehensive childbirth preparation classes, in a small group setting; access to my lending library; email support throughout your pregnancy and postpartum; a Pain-Coping for Parents CD to support your practice beyond class time; and a reunion class as a new parent. Birthing From Within requires that all mentors attend a handful of births a year. I am not a certified doula. I am honored when parents I teach also consider hiring me to provide labor support.
“What do parents you’ve worked with say?”
After each series I ask parents to complete an evaluation form. Helping partners discover their role during the birth is a core focus:
Victoria facilitated such a sacred space for Jack and I to prepare for our birth. Her caring, confident and knowledgeable manner guided us through our process in a way that we desperately needed…Jack really liked how the class defined his role as the gatekeeper of the experience. I think that before we met with Victoria he was nervous about what his role might be, especially with a doula present…It was invaluable. I am so excited for our birthing journey to begin and we feel confident that we can orchestrate a beautiful birth using the skills we acquired.
Each week couples learn a new breathing practice. Co-chanting was one practice that this woman turned to during her labor:
Breathing exercises were an incredible resource. Victoria was an excellent instructor—always available and approachable, very easy to talk to and full of helpful information.
I was honored to have the following expressed in a birth announcement:
Thank you, too, to Victoria, our Birthing From Within Instructor. Your preparation helped us to make the right choices and continue along the path at each crossroads without losing sight of the beauty and wonder of the experience.
One mom sent me this message a few months after her birth:
I’m not sure if there is anything I could say or buy that would express just how thankful I am for everything you have done for me. I’m scared to think of what my pregnancy and birth would have been like if you hadn’t given me so much confidence and knowledge. Without sounding too corny, you were my “guiding light”… Your presence the days after [my son’s] birth was so appreciated. Brian and I were so grateful to share our story with someone who was really listening.