We recently asked our previous students for some input on the new classes we teach- a combination of the FEAR to FREEDOM, now called ROCK Your Birth and our training as doulas and the Dancing for Birth facilitator training we have. And here are some of the comments that may give you some insight into how it may have helped these students.
“Taking this class was an excellent way to tune into the emotional/psychological side of giving birth. It made me feel connected to my baby and the journey of giving birth. The most fun part was dancing, meditating and using the scarves. The Rock your Birth class is an excellent way to connect with other pregnant women. I was able to focus on myself and my baby. I learned a lot about the strength and focus that I have within myself that will guide me through the birth of my baby. Many different activities and techniques were presented as well as a little “woman to woman” therapy. I like that there were so many different exercises to pick and choose from. I loved writing a birth mantra and felt very empowered after the class. Labor of Love is providing an outstanding service for expecting moms and families. I love being in an environment where having a normal birth is a positive and empowering experience!” Colleen Eilola
“I felt the class was empowering and challenged me to rethink traditional thought/acceptance of “the way things have always been” in birthing. I appreciated being asked to think outside of the box and being encouraged to embrace my own picture of what my birth story should be. I would have liked an additional exercise on creating a birthing story with some complications. We did at least one of these, but it was only two scenarios because we only had two groups to craft stories and act them out. I’m pleased by information, so just learning more about my body, how it works, talking through scenarios, practicing positions on the birth ball, and viewing birthing experiences really satisfied my need for examples of what I might see in my own birth story. I am a spiritual person, but was uncomfortable with some of the guided relaxation. I know it works for some, but not for all. I’m not someone who can just zone out and tune into my breathing. I would say overall the class was worth it – I was able to spend time with other women who are sharing my same anxieties about birthing and being in that space was incredibly rewarding and valuable. I would also say that I felt more confident about the choices I made for my birth plan after I went through the class, and it affirmed my belief that I do have the power within me to do what needs to be done to birth my child the way God designed for me to do.” Michelle Barnes
“This class was about finding that peace within yourself for whatever experience you have during labor and delivery. I did not realize how much it prepared me until I was in the moment. We all do what is most natural to us during labor. I feel this should be emphasized more. The dancing was the most fun! I should have taken the class earlier. . It is a class where you can find peace and trust in the process that is birth. I was able to give up control and let my body take the reins” Beth Chambers
“It took me a while to really get it. I had to do some thinking about it before I was really able to get it straight in my head that for me the critical thing to remember was that this pregnancy was different, the birth would be different, and the baby is most definitely different! It didn’t quite sink in in the two days of the class, but the seeds were planted. I really enjoyed the dancing. It was totally out of my comfort zone, but I liked the exposure to it. This class is a class that will help you do the mental preparation to prepare for your birth and leave behind any baggage or fears that you carry with you about birth. It is not a class for people who have had traumatic birth experienced, but rather a way to help you think through any anxieties that you may have and find ways to overcome them so that you can prepare for your best birth. I enjoyed the retreat like feel that it had as well as the balance of movement and discussion time. I wish that I would have waited a little later in my pregnancy to do the class. I did it just before I was 20 weeks and it felt like a long time before my birth. Doing the class closer to the birth could have encouraged me to follow through with more of the activities after the class. I really give a lot of credit to this class for helping me move past my concerns from my first birth and let go of the anxiety I had for how this birth would go.” Natalie Caldwell
What is Rock Your Birth?
In 2011 BOLD founder Karen Brody created Rock Your Birth (formerly FEAR to FREEDOM Birth), a childbirth empowerment method that gives birth workers an innovative, birth-changing toolbox to help pregnant mothers be BOLD and own their birth experiences.
When you attend the Rock Your Birth classes you’ll learn to have confidence in your body, find your authentic voice, and learn how to take action to have your best birth.
Rock Your Birth was created to help you be BOLD to change the culture of your birth.
Charlotte and I have been teaching a new preparation for birth class that was previously called FEAR to FREEDOM. Recently it has been brought under the umbrella of BOLD and the name has changed as well. So the new name is Rock Your Birth! It is based partially I think on the comment that one of the characters in BIRTH the play by Karen Brody where the mom repeats, “My body rocks!” I love the name change. Often folks thought that the FEAR to FREEDOM class was us sitting around talking about fears. It was not and never has been. But it was about turning their intuitive voice into a powerful means of being FREE for their births.
When you hear Rock Your Birth what do you think of? I think of dancing with my arms up in the air swirling around with a huge smile on my face! And you know I love that idea for a woman in labor. I love embracing that our bodies were built to do this and enter that veil of the unknown without fear but instead excitement. I love that after a birth a woman can say, “My body rocked!” I love helping women find that path toward their birth instead of one that is shrouded in fear and anxiety.
I love that Rock Your Birth is also about movement! Movement of your body is just one component. There is movement in the way that you approach birth. There is movement away from the fear that once may have caused you to make decisions from that point rather than one of informed decision and choice. So there is movement in the mind and body!
Come join us in our upcoming women’s intensive weekends to learn how to Rock Your Birth!
Occasionally a woman will meet with us and when we ask if she has any fears regarding her labor, birth or becoming a parent, she says, “I have no fears!” These are the clients we are sometimes most concerned about. Unless she has dealt with her fears- addressed them already and worked through them, we understand that there is almost always some fear that accompanies labor, birth and being a parent. Often we feel if we acknowledge fear it makes us weak.
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. H. P. Lovecraft
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. Dale Carnegie
What are the fears that are universal with laboring women? These are just a few:
- not being listened to- not being heard when I say what I want or need.
- the unknown- what will it feel like? – will I be able to do it? will I know if it is the real thing?
- the pain- what if I am out of control? what if my preparation has not been enough?
- complications- what if something happens to the baby because of the decisions I make or fail to make? what if something happens to me?
- interventions- what if I end up with an unnecessary cesarean or medication I did not want?
- lack of support- what if my partner, friend, family member is not enough?
- screwing up- what if I do something wrong and it screws up my labor or even worse causes my baby harm?
- pooping during pushing- embarrassing myself in front of those in attendance.
- giving birth not where I plan- a home birth that needs transporting, a car birth on the way to the birth center, etc.
- am I going to be a good parent? will I screw up my child?
- will my partner and my relationship change so much we won’t last through this?
- can we afford this baby? what will we have to change to have a life again?
Often times these fears make us feel so afraid we can not enjoy our pregnancies or births. They begin to paralyze us. But often we just suck the fears down deep within us and decide to not address the fears, hoping they will go away. But do they? (more…)
Charlotte Scott and Teresa Howard are certified FEAR to FREEDOM birth facilitators and Dancing for Birth certified instructors. Teresa was also a CAPPA certified childbirth educator. Charlotte is also a yoga instructor. They are both certified labor doulas.
We believe that the most important ways a woman can prepare for a healthy, safe, and satisfying birth is to prepare her mind and her body. She needs to be fully supported in ways that she has found speak to her intuitive voice. She needs to find that voice and be able to share it with others. Information gathering is only one piece of the equation. It is important to uncover the hidden secrets that lie within her. We believe she holds the key to her birth experience.
We offer a Womens’ Birth Circle full day of intensive work for the woman and then some addendum information classes for the couple to take on another full Saturday Class. It is the combination of these classes that make up the Wisdom in Birth Class Series.
Sometimes women feel if they choose a midwife, they will have a wonderful birth.
Sometimes women feel if they choose a doula, they will have a wonderful birth.
Sometimes women feel if they take a wonderful childbirth class, they will have a wonderful birth.
Sometimes women feel if they read the right books, they will have a wonderful birth.
Sometimes women feel if they have a wonderful birth partner, they will have a wonderful birth.
Sometimes women feel if they have a birth center or home birth, they will have a wonderful birth.
Sometimes they do. Sometimes they do not.
But what I do know, is if they are relying on their midwife,
their doula, their teacher, their partner or their location,
they are not learning to rely on their own internal power.
What would birth look like if they did?
You may begin reading this article thinking I am talking about what to pack for your birth…. wrong. I am talking about emotional baggage. You may think I am talking about your emotional baggage but that is only one piece of the luggage that is often lugged into your labor and birth experience. We all carry our experiences with us where ever we go. And sometimes that experience leaves us feeling supported and encouraged but often it does not.
I met today with a young woman, pregnant with her first baby who is already having others put stuff into her bags. You know at the airport they tell you to watch your bags and not allow anyone to do that… when we are pregnant we let folks do this to us. Her doctor had already prophesied that her baby would be born early- by as much as a month. He gave no reason or documentation as to this happening- only that he thought it would. This along with other statements by her physicians has caused her to start seeing herself differently in a negative, sickly way. (more…)
Why is it that some women are afraid to admit they are afraid? Do they think it will cause them to appear weak? Is it that they think if they acknowledge they are afraid that it gives the fear power? Could they possibly believe that if they pretend it is not there, it may go away? Are they unaware of how to deal with that fear and therefore they choose to ignore it?
As a doula I often hear from women that they have no fears. And some have indeed recognized, addressed and worked through the fears they had. But often we are with women in labor as their fears begin to paralyze them. Attempting to work through fears in the midst of active labor is a difficult task if not impossible.
There are some childbirth classes that help women begin to address their fears, like Birthing From Within. There are others that encourage you to not let the fear dwell within you- but give you no tools at all to do so. And when the fears begin to arise, they encourage you to push them away. I do not find this works for most women. (more…)
webster says: fear
a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain,etc., whether the
threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
a specific instance of or propensity
for such a feeling: anabnormal fear of heights.
concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
psychology today says:
Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we couldn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are in no way life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Traumas
or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves
to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.
Fear is one of the strongest emotions that arises during pregnancy. Often times the unknown ahead causes fear. Sometimes it is all of the people sharing their horror birth stories create fear. Sometimes our care providers load us up with fear. But one thing I do know is if you can address it, face it and determine how to be prepared for it, you will do better in labor.
Can you imagine taking that dis-empowering fear filled thought and exploring it for a moment? See if fully. And then imagine the exact opposite thought to that one- where you are filled with confidence and excitement. And let that one resonate for a moment. Now hold them together. Thoughts are only objects. You can release them. Learn what you need to learn from them and then let them go. See yourself coping in the midst of the difficult one and see yourself being filled with joy at the enjoyment of the other. Now imagine you place them in your hand and blow them away….release them.
In the Red Tent night of the Birthing Again class that I teach, I have the moms write down the one thing that they want to release from their negative thinking- whether it is a fear for this present pregnancy and labor or if it is an experience they hold onto of their past birth. We fold the paper up and put it in a silver vessel that I have and light it with a lighter. It burns until it is fully burned up and is only ashes.
I challenge you to consider your fears- look them squarely in the eyes. See yourself in that moment- see yourself coping in the storm. Now close your eyes for a moment and reopen them seeing the exact opposite thing occurring. See yourself filled with that overflowing joy. Smile or laugh. Now put both of those thoughts together and release them. Watch as they blow away. Both are possibilities. But you get to decide if you will have them linger with you or if you will hold to that heart felt desire and move forward.
I choose to move forward without fear. How about you?
Often times when I ask a mom what would make her birth ideal, she hesitates to answer me. I just read a prenatal form that is so like many others. She wrote, “I’m almost hesitant to answer this question and may gracefully back out of doing so at the risk of being disappointed if my “ideals” don’t happen. ” I can tell you that is almost verbatim what I hear often. I do hear things like short labor, no tearing, attentive nurses, etc… but most of the time there is hesitancy to answer what ideal would be to them. And they always follow up with the remark about being disappointed.