We recently had a student say that although her friends told her it was a waste of time and money to take a childbirth class, she felt she learned things that would be helpful for her preparation for labor and birth that she did not even know she needed to know before taking the classes. Her friends told her the classes they took- more than likely the wham bamm classes that hospitals feel compelled to teach since that is what folks say they want- were full of what the hospital required of them and the medication options they had. I laugh when I hear this and say, “Oh you took the how to be a good patient classes!”
I do think our classes are different. It is more about the mind body connection- the thing that most classes don’t even cover. We cover the other basics- positions for labor and birth that enhance labor, the how to time contractions, the how to know when to go to the hospital, the how to ask questions in order to get answers… but we also cover things like: what fears do you have that may hold you up in labor? what roles do you expect your nurse, midwife, partner, doula to have? what is going to change the most as you become parents? what would need to happen to cause you to change your mind in labor about pain medication? what tools do you need in order to avoid interventions in labor? This is more than the yoga 3 hour session to learn how to “breathe and move” in labor- although we cover that. We do not show films on how an epidural is placed, if you need it you don’t care how it is placed- only that it gets placed. We do show films on what real birth looks and sounds like. It is not the sanitized view you get from the half hour baby TV shows. We get you to expand your thinking about birth- about your ability- about your body… and we have fun doing it!
You leave our classes feeling not only prepared for labor and birth but perhaps also as new parents. We discuss how to make the transition easier as a couple to a triad or more. We help you in self discovery rather than just feeding you information. It causes you to have to work through things in the process- having lots of conversations with your partner. We really do believe this is a journey. And we believe that it is not about a specific outcome but instead about learning what works for you- what is right in your specific situation- and what is the next best thing as events occur that change your initial goals.
We do not teach a slam bamm class due to the amount of information we feel needs to be shared. We teach a six week series and we do teach a two weekend immersion but even that class started out as a long weekend and we just did not feel great about the absorption of the information- there needed to be a bit more time. This is an investment. Labor is a day in your life but the birth will effect you for the rest of your life. Trust me, childbirth classes are not created equal.
I would love to hear your comments- what were your classes like? If you did not take classes, why not and how did that work for you?