Do I need childbirth education?
Why should I take a childbirth class?
What's the difference between Lamaze, Bradley, Hypnobabies and Hospital childbirth classes?
What kind of prenatal education is right for me?
Can't I just go with the flow in labor?
If childbirth is so natural, why is it so confusing and frightening to figure out what's going on and what I need?
Do any of these questions resonate with you?
Everyone has an opinion about childbirth.
If you're pregnant and preparing to have a baby, I have no doubt many well meaning friends and family members have offered unsolicited advice about how you should prepare for delivery and what you should do on the big day. Does any of this sound familiar?
"You HAVE to take a natural childbirth class!"
"You HAVE to get the epidural!"
"Childbirth is natural, so you shouldn't need drugs or interventions to do it."
- "Childbirth is scary, painful and gross. The best thing to do is schedule a cesarean."
There is no right and wrong in childbirth.
There are as many opinions about childbirth as there are people on the planet. The truth is, there is no right and wrong in childbirth; there is only what's right for you! But just how exactly do you find out what's right for you when there are so many options? Wouldn't it be great if there was a one-size-fits-all childbirth education curriculum so you could be guaranteed that you would get just exactly what you need out of it or at least know which way to go to find what you do need? If you are a birth professional, wouldn't it be great if you had a tool that you could use with every client to help them get the results they need? Does one size fits all childbirth curriculum sound like unicorns and rainbows? It might not be as far from reality as you think!
It all starts with you!
You're the only one who knows what the best method of childbirth is for you, and that may mean picking and choosing ideas and tools from a variety of philosophies and approaches. The truth is that no matter what kind of childbirth class you take, you will bring your past experiences, personality, opinions, fears, hopes and dreams with you. These create your worldview, or the glasses through which you see and interpret the information you encounter. So, no matter what, you're going to get what you want to get out of the class you take. Rather than beginning with a certain method or philosophy of birth, it might make more sense to explore who you are, so you can create a road map that best fits your needs.
Personalized Childbirth Education - Creating Your Unique Road Map
While two people may be traveling to the same place for the same reason, each person's journey will look different. Whether you fly, drive, walk, take bathroom breaks, stop for snacks, read books or chat with fellow travelers completely depends on you. We're all hard-wired with a certain disposition and when you break that down and begin to own your own truth, that knowledge can become a road map to help you discover what kind of journey is best for you. This is true in life, and childbirth is just another life experience.
Do you know what you want?
Offering choices to women about the childbirth experience is ineffectual unless they understand the implications of those choices. Most of us just want a good experience, right? More along the lines of "the hills are alive with the sound of music" and less The Hills Have Eyes, yes?
But what does good mean to you? Just because your mother, sister or friend followed a certain road map in their journey and called it good doesn't mean following the same map will mean good for you. Even if I were to let you pick and choose what you want or don't want in a birthing class, you wouldn't necessarily know because you don't know what you're going to need!
How you think and feel and what you value in life matters, so take some time to ask yourself questions like:
- How do I want to feel when I'm giving birth?
- What kind of medical care do I usually want?
- When you think about the "perfect birth," what does it look like?
Questions like this are a starting point to unraveling what makes you tick and what you can focus on when you're making decisions about your birth experience and can help you have a positive and meaningful memory regardless of the childbirth "method" you use or how your baby enters the world.
Written by Missy David, the Honeybee Mama