by: Cathy Daub, CCE(BWI)
You’ve read the books. You’ve conducted your hospital surveys. You’ve written your topic papers and completed your medical study critiques along with other requirements. You’ve attended a BirthWorks Childbirth Education Workshop. You’ve read the BirthWorks 500+ page comprehensive Educator Manual and completed your Comprehensive Essay Exam. You’ve advertised for your first practicum class and there they are – birthing parents excited about what they are about to experience. You may ask yourself, “How will all my training come together for this class?” “Am I ready?” “Will I be able to answer their questions?” “Do I look nervous?” “How can I give them the very best class to help prepare them for having their babies?” “What will it be like working with parents in a group setting?”
I wanted to share the experience one of our trainees recently had teaching her first BirthWorks Practicum Childbirth Class:
The class went great! I was nervous of course and wasn't sure how it was going to fit together, but it went so well. I got great feedback, especially being told that the men were enjoying the course. All the couples said they felt so much closer, and the couple who had their baby half way through came back for the last class because they had enjoyed it so much!
I think the training really prepared me well for questions that came up, and for facilitating the discussions. I think the workshop really helped me understand how to lead the classes and gave me good ideas for visualizations and how to conduct the pelvic bodywork parts.
Everyone also got a lot out of the grief class. They all didn't expect the class to be what it was, and they all kept coming back to that class as their favorite!
It was just so good. Now I just need to see how they all get on in their births. I will see them all in August for a reunion! Lindsey Welch, MD
When I taught the first BirthWorks class in 1981, I had advertised in our local paper and received nine responses. Five couples actually signed up for my class. I was amazed. Then there I was in the room with them, my notes in my lap and when I looked up at them and saw them all looking at me, it suddenly became real. I was a BirthWorks childbirth educator. These couples had come to me to learn what they needed to know about giving birth.
The class surpassed my expectations. One woman said she didn’t know if she should come or not as this was her fourth baby and she’d already been to three different classes for her other three. But a woman who had taken the class said, “Go. This is different.” And she came. At the end, she said she learned so much more than she expected. She learned what a woman really needs to know about giving birth. She felt more confident, more prepared emotionally, and had more insights about pelvic positioning in labor and birth. She ended up helping me develop our BirthWorks training workshops and to this day remains one of my soul sisters. In fact, I’ve met some of my best friends through BirthWorks.
The impact of BirthWorks childbirth classes is much greater than an instructor realizes while she is teaching the classes. One man called me six months after he and his wife gave birth, to tell me how helpful the classes were in helping their marriage. The classes were also instrumental in helping them to have a beautiful VBAC birth.
The impact of the BirthWorks training is also profound. One woman wrote me after 20 years to tell me how much the BirthWorks philosophy is helping her in her current management position and also through her life.
Birth is instinctive. Birth is ancient. Birth is about coming home to ourselves and feeling our own power, becoming empowered. Birth is about life. All women are born with the knowledge about how to give birth. When they learn to have more trust and faith in their bodies’ ability to give birth, their lives change. There is transformation in becoming parents, but also in connecting with the wisdom within.