Are these classes only for those planning an un-medicated birth, first-time parents, or those planning home births?
No matter what type of birth you are planning, I recognize every mother and father's birth journey as unique, valid and profound. The class content is uniquely customized to your needs and can apply to many different types of birth. And though we focus on pain-coping practices that can help with a labor without pain medication, these practices carry over to all aspects of pregnancy, labor, birth (un-medicated, assisted, and cesarean), postpartum recovery, and new parenting stress. Partners can learn from each other because we are all trying to do our best, out of love for ourselves and our babies.
Up to half of my class participants have children already. Many parents have felt dissatisfied with their previous birth preparation or experiences and want to address particular concerns or worries about their current pregnancy. Parents with existing children really enjoy the time together and bonding with their new baby.
Why do dads/birth partners love Birthing From Within classes?
The birth of your child can be one of the biggest moments of your life. Many prenatal classes focus on mom coping with labor and treat dads/birth partners as birth coaches. Not much is explored when it comes to their emotional landscape. Together we explore your specific needs, hopes and worries as partners and as parents, as well as adding to your 'toolkit' and confidence to support your partner. Dads and partners are often surprised at how much they gain from the classes (and moms at how much they gain from their partners coming along!).
The father cannot attend these classes, is it OK for me to come by myself or bring someone else?
Whether it is just because of scheduling conflicts or you will have someone else attending your birth, I encourage you to bring a support person (such as a friend, family member, life partner, or doula who will be supporting you at your birth). If you do not have someone to attend with you though, it is certainly not a requirement. I am more than happy to accommodate any of your needs.
I, and Birthing From Within, value and celebrate parents of all sexualities, gender identities, backgrounds and cultures. Our class content and activities will be tailored to your own situation and needs in concert with those of other participants'. Birthing From Within processes and skills can also be very useful for parents on surrogacy or adoption journeys; please contact me to discuss your needs.
Can I bring my older children?
Unfortunately not. Children's very legitimate needs for attention tend to disrupt this intimate, at times intense environment of learning and personal exploration. You deserve, and need, this time to focus on yourselves, each other and your new baby. Please arrange childcare for class times (perhaps as a baby shower or blessingway gift?).
I've heard there is art involved. I'm not artistic, what if I don't feel comfortable doing it?
In Birthing From Within classes, sometimes we do something called “birth art” as some of our multi-sensory learning experience. These are casual, short exercises. They’re not about making art that looks pretty; they're about learning what to do when you don’t know what to do (much like birth). The point is to be able to reflect on the process that we went through in making the art in order to learn more about ourselves.
Labor is a right-brained activity and the process of making art helps you hone that skill. The class places no emphasis on the product that you make but rather the process that you went through. You never have to show your art to myself or anyone in the class unless you feel like it.
Can these classes be taken in conjunction with other childbirth education classes?
Yes, please take whatever prenatal classes you may feel that you need to prepare. Because Birthing From Within is not specifically a method, I believe that any and all preparation that parents feel they need to do is appropriate. I encourage parents birthing in a hospital or birth center take facility-sponsored classes so that they are familiar with the protocols and procedures to expect in those environments. I am always happy to answer any questions and help you explore about how to best prepare.
Why should I take a live class versus an online class?
Everyone learns differently, so I have no idea if a live or online class is best for you. Hell, my full-time job is to create online learning, so I totally get the convenience. Here's the deal though, birth and parenting are very real and raw experiences. Our time together is nothing short of intense (and fun). You will meet other people who are going through something similar to build your support network, you will also get hands-on experience in pain-coping, comfort measures, and participating in solution-focused dialogue. It's hard to translate some of the multi-sensory experiences and conversations from workshop form to an online experience. I'm currently exploring blended learning for local families, that involve some live classes and some online, as well as piloting an online class series in 2018.
Why do you call yourself a Childbirth Mentor and not a Childbirth Teacher?
It can be hard to explain in one little blurb, but it basically comes down to this; We are learning together and you teach me as much as I teach you, which is the most important aspect of mentoring. Though I know a lot about childbirth and parenting in my many years of mentoring classes and working as a birth/postpartum doula, I cannot assume what you need to know completely to give birth. I do not stand in front of the class, lecture, use Powerpoints, or other standard teaching tools. I facilitate learning amongst all the participants, asking questions and giving information where needed. These classes are a paradigm-shifting way of learning about childbirth, using multi-sensory activities, information, role-playing, and pain-coping practice to explore your needs and wants.
What should I bring with me to class?
Bring an openness to a new way of knowing and preparing for birth and parenting. Wear comfortable clothes, because we may be sitting on the floor and moving around a lot as well. If you need other seating arrangements, please let me know so that I can accommodate your needs. We will be using some art materials that usually do not stain, but wearing cotton garments will help prevent that. Feel free to bring a snack for yourself or to share, as well as a notebook if you would like to write things down. All other materials will be provided.
We will be spending so much time together, will you be our doula?
This is always the greatest compliment I could receive and the question gets asked a lot. I am no longer working as a full-time birth and postpartum doula, but I am always happy to refer you to other local doulas who understand the philosophy of Birthing From Within (many have taken my classes and workshops). I can take clients on a once a quarter basis, depending on the circumstances and my availability.
What about after we've had the baby?
Our classes can be a very intense experience and we all create a special bond. I can provide a 1-2hour postpartum visit in your home, online, or by phone when possible, to go over your birth story, answer any questions, give you resources or to provide any other postpartum support you may need. I try to check in by email, text or phone, but you are always welcome to contact me at any time (prenatally or postpartum).
What is your refund policy?
A non-refundable deposit payable through PayPal is required for each private class session/series scheduled. If a scheduling conflict occurs, sessions can be rescheduled. If you need to cancel completely, the deposit will not be returned. You can pay for a whole series at once, or by session. There is no refund for group classes. If you need to cancel, please find a replacement participant(s) for your spot(s). Contact me with any questions regarding this policy.
I cannot afford the class fee. Will you work with me so I can attend?
Please contact me if you are having financial difficulties, but truly desire to take my classes. We can usually figure something out and I can offer a sliding scale for participants. Don't forget, it's a great gift to put on your baby registry. I have gift certificates for those that want to gift you with the joy of a parenting preparation class.
Where can I learn more about Birthing From Within?
Please visit www.birthingfromwithin.com to get some useful information about who I learned from, how it has helped countless families around the world and more resources to help you in your preparation.