What is “Radical, Compassionate Childbirth Preparation”?

By Virginia Bobro, Birthing From Within Co-Owner

What does this mean? We like to think that our holistic classes and workshops prepare anyone–pregnant women, dads, and birth professionals of all stripes–for the mystery of birth. Stepping into the unknown, the intensity, the surprises of birth isn’t for the faint of heart. We are radical enough to know that positive thinking, book-learnin’, and a doula may not be enough to get through the intensity of birth. Whether labor is fast and crazy, long and hard, ecstatic or mind-blowing, you really can’t truly prepare. So, what are Birthing From Within classes and professional workshops for?

We propose something radical: beyond affirmations, pretty pictures, and obstetrical facts. Seeing Birth as a Hero’s Journey means that we aren’t so concerned with achieving a “natural” or “vaginal” birth, or, vaguely, “empowering women.” (What does that mean, anyway?) Our focus is on preparing the Birth Warrior inside each birthing person–so that they are ready to do whatever it takes in each moment. Sometimes, that will mean digging deep for the strength to keep going or to surrender to a power beyond their understanding. Sometimes it will mean doing “the next best thing” and having a cesarean birth, though they tried with every ounce of her being to avoid it. Sometimes it will mean looking “weak,” moaning, crying, being confused or vulnerable. Sometimes it will mean making peace with not being able to speak up for themself, or not doing whatever it was they hoped they could do or say. Sometimes it will mean that the the wise and compassionate action is getting an epidural.

Compassionate means: Reducing the anxiety and fear that parents have as they approach the initiation into parenthood. In our classes, we don’t make promises, and we don’t make threats. So our childbirth classes and professional workshops go deeply into personal exploration, into the realm of the Mystery, mindfulness, intimacy, myth, art, emotions, beliefs, and learning from every part of who we are: body, mind, spirit, and soul. We strongly believe that our workshops and classes reduce or prevent emotional birth trauma, fear, burn-out, frustration, disappointment, and guilt– for everyone at the birth.

When we struggle so hard–as birth activists or as pregnant people–to “Get what we want,” or achieve particular birth statistics, perhaps something is lost. Perhaps the outcome of the birth is none of our business and beside the point. Maybe… there is something more important to psyche and the arc of our lives than “a good outcome.”

We hold the strong belief that we are preparing true Birth Warriors: they do not hope, or distrust, or try to control. They do what needs to be done in the moment. They know what to do when they don’t know what to do.

Join our Birth Warrior tribe: take a Birthing From Within class or workshop. Birth and life will never be the same.