By Virginia Bobro, Birthing From Within Co-Owner
Everyone who interacts with a pregnant person is, in some way, their “teacher.” Telling birth stories, sharing resources, imparting obstetrical information, giving advice or warnings—these are all direct or indirect ways of teaching about birth and parenting.
Mentoring begins with relationship, not knowledge.
The women and men who attend our Introductory Workshops (“The Art of Childbirth Mentoring”), and then enroll in our Mentor Certification Program, are committed to doing MORE than simply imparting childbirth information or issuing warnings, advice, or cliches about birth. They are embracing the mentoring model for expectant couples in their community. They are not merely educating, but truly, profoundly initiating. They see the window of the childbearing year as an opportunity for learning about oneself, not “trying to get it right.”
A Mentor is “one who has gone the way before.”
As Mentors, they bring certain knowledge and experience about: childbirth; navigating through the hospital; parenting; and human nature… beyond
what can be gleaned from books. They also know that pregnant people and expectant partners bring wisdom about their own coping mechanisms, social network, personal assumptions and agreements; However, these men and women have not yet walked the road through birth, the hospital environment, or into parenting themselves, and naturally turn outwards, seeing support and information. So the Mentor dances between deeply listening, being in a solution-focused mindset, encouraging parents’ self-awareness and reflection, and clearly and engagingly delivering current, relevant birth information.
Mentoring means being on an ongoing search to know yourself intimately and deeply.
To help others know themselves, you must also be on a quest to “know thyself.” So in our workshops and programs, there is a strong emphasis on our Mentors’ personal awareness and growth. They have their own mentors (our Advisors) who support, encourage, challenge, and educate them as they hone their skills and knowledge. Because it takes 3-5 years of committed, diligent work to become a Certified BFW Mentor, we know it is not the easiest, cheapest, or shortest path to being a childbirth educator. But it certainly the most rewarding!