I get to teach! Birth and the First Three Months

Update!  I am no longer teaching for Pregnancy Arts as Deb has retired from CBE and commenced her career as a Certified Nurse Midwife!  It’s very exciting for her, and our area is very lucky to have her in that roll.  Therefore, I will continue teaching at Ypsi-Arbor Childbirth Education, Ariana and my joint venture.  Check us out!

It’s happening!

I get to teach childbirth education! This has been a dream for awhile, and while I have taught a few private classes here and there, I haven’t found a class model that I really wanted to teach in a group setting. Well, that’s not quite true, but the style of class I wanted to teach was already being taught, and by a Man_150x390fabulous, inspirational teacher.
Deb Rhizal, of Pregnancy Arts and Mara’s World, a doula, mother, and wellness coach, has the most fantastic, evidence-based, and feel good class I have attended. So much of her class has gone directly to my clients, as I try to emulate the feelings I left her class with, and share them with new families as they ask me questions about what to expect, and how to manage labor, birth, and the postpartum time.
Recently, Deb has been super busy with all sorts of new life adventures and letting go of the 6 week course was a necessary change to her schedule. I jumped on the opportunity! I believe this class, Birth and the First Three Months is important to have in our local Childbirth Education resource list. I think that it is essential to have available to help families really prepare, to be empowered to make the right choices for them and their birth.  So, I asked if there was a way I could be entrusted with her curriculum, and continue to share it with the community.  And she said YES! 40-weeks-pregnant-term-internal-large
The reason this class is so great is that it does an amazing job of speaking to all people.  We all come to pregnancy and birth from a different place, with different stories, and different belief structures.  This class can speak to everyone, from those planning a home birth, to those who feel most comfortable in the care of an OB.  It covers labor and birth, but also the postpartum time, as families really do the hard work of adjusting to the major changes that come when you add another (tiny) person into the fold.  This class is truly about encouraging women to do their research, both by reading, and asking questions, but also by looking inside and seeing what feels best.
babyandsacinfoSo, here we are, just a month away from the start of class, and I am so excited!  I am working on perfecting my presentations, and getting some feedback as I go along.  It is going to happen, and I am so honored to get to work for Pregnancy Arts in this way.  Check out all the great information Deb has on her website about the class, and please let your friends know that there is a really great class starting up again this fall!   Registration is on the Pregnancy Arts website.  I will be teaching at Indigo Forest in Ann Arbor.
Deb also teaches this class in a condensed version, as well as a breastfeeding class.  Check those out too!

Doula as Luxury Commodity?!

doula support
Women Supporting Women

There is a fallacy going around right now in the Doula community.  It is being said that Doulas are not needed, or deserved.  That Doulas are WANTED, and therefore are a luxury service.  I would beg to differ!  Women have been supporting women through childbirth for all time.  Sure, there wasn’t always a trained, non-medical, non-judgmental support person hired by families to provide, “physical, emotional and logistical support through the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum time”. There have been the wise-women, other mothers (who had also gone through natural, and well supported birth), sisters, sister-wives, midwives, the shaman, and so on and so on.  The wisdom of childbirth and mothering has been passed down through generations, and only relatively recently has birth become the often frightening, and disempowering, medical process it is today.  Women do DESERVE to be supported by their community of mothers and sisters and wise-women.  They do DESERVE to be informed, supported, confident, cared for, trusted, and empowered.  They may not want a Doula, they may want a Doula who is unavailable, they may want a Doula, who for some reason or another is too expensive for their budget.  We don’t always get what we want, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve the support a Doula would provide.

doula, labor, support
Katy at Work

As Doulas we are trying to make sense of this contemporary version of women in community. How do we provide this essential service, this service that we feel is so missing from modern maternity care, and not lose ourselves in the process?  How do we support our families, as they support us, as we do this work?
I think there can be a better answer than only providing the service as a luxury (and charging as such).  I have to admit that I’m not sure what it is exactly.  The fact that the field is growing so rapidly at this point in time means that there are more and more women who know that this is important, who believe they can make a difference in their communities.  I know we can be more creative though.  I know that the problem doesn’t lie in women not deserving to be supported, and asking for support anyway.

Doulas, support, everyone deserves a doula
source unknown

So what can we do to create an environment where every woman gets the support and care she deserves, as well as allowing Doulas to make a living wage and support their families?  I really think there is a better solution to this than just saying “We provide a luxury service”.  Perhaps it lies in the fact that ALL women deserve to feel non-judgmentally supported.  Whether they believe that or not is a different story.  How do we teach women that they do deserve to be unconditionally supported?  How do we teach women to lift each other up, and give that unconditional support?  I think once we have an environment that is healthier and more supportive to pregnant and birthing women, the business side of this work will become a little clearer.  I hope so, and I guess I’m going to have to remain optimistic as I continue to do this work I love, and provide an essential service to the deserving women of my community.  In a way that feeds my heart, and soul, and family.