By Barrie Rein Thunneman, Birthing From Within Mentor ~ Full Moon Birth
Most first time parents find themselves faced with a whole variety of options as far as childbirth preparation. Do I take a childbirth preparation class? If so, what kind? There’s so many different styles and options to choose from, how do I know what will be the best class for me? Should I take the classes offered at the hospital where I’m giving birth or should I consider classes offered by an independent childbirth educator or Mentor?
The amount of choices in childbirth preparation can be overwhelming. So what makes my Birthing From Within childbirth preparation classes unique amongst all the other options out there? In a nutshell, what I’m really teaching in my classes is how to face the unknown with acceptance, love and compassion. I bet you were thinking, “Hey wait I thought she was going to teach us about positions for laboring, about how labor works, what to expect when we get to the hospital or birth center, about pain medication options and how they work and about navigating common labor variations?”
Yes, all of those things are addressed in my classes plus many other topics including learning a whole variety of pain-coping practices and how to work together as a couple. We talk about unwished for events, Cesarean birth, and what might help each parent to navigate challenges.
What makes my classes unique is that from the very beginning of each series, labor, birth and parenting are acknowledged as rite of passage events in the course of our human lives. For thousands of years in a variety of cultures there has been an understanding that what is needed to move through a rite of passage event is the ability to face the unknown. The only way that humans historically have moved through the great unknown of life has been to do whatever was needed in each moment with as much strength, grit, tears, courage, sweat, or even blood as they were able to muster and the ability to do the next best thing with whatever occurs as part of the journey. Often times they discover something new about themselves or each other in the process.
So how in the world can a childbirth class prepare a parent for something like that? One of the ways we prepare in my classes is by engaging in activities that give parents an opportunity to experience a small taste of the unknown and by practicing mindfulness and self reflection to not only think about what helped the parent to move through, but to build an internal sense of resiliency and self compassion. Activities like birth art allow parents the opportunity to be in the moment and ask themselves questions like, “what do I do when I don’t know what to do?” When parents learn pain-coping they are practicing different ways to move through discomfort and learning how to watch the thoughts and stories the mind creates about their experience. Parents hold ice as a tool so that they have an unpleasant stimuli to test the practices out with. Couples get to experiment together with what worked, and what kinds of support matches their needs. There is no right answer or correct way of navigating any of it. The idea is to build the muscle of self awareness, acceptance and self love so that with a compassionate heart, they are able to do whatever might be needed to move through the journey in the unknown realm of labor, birth and parenting.
So if you take my childbirth classes you’ll learn all the practical information about how labor works, pain-coping practices and positions for labor and birth and all kinds of other practical information. With every activity, every discussion, every practice what I’m really hoping to leave you with is the ability to do whatever is needed. I want you to know that focusing on the process vs. the outcome can be much more helpful, and that your choices, your way, and your experience are valuable and unique. I am helping you cultivate the inner knowing that you have the resiliency and tools needed to navigate your own journey through the unknown rite of passage known as birth, with acceptance and compassion in your heart for yourself and one another. This is what I’m really teaching in my classes. I hope you’ll join me.