In today’s world, couples live far away from their families. Couples no longer live in tight knit communities nor do they have access to village community. Once upon a time our grandmothers lived in neighborhoods or communities. In those communities, there were lasting relationships and networks of support for motherhood and new parents. Your grandmothers and grandfathers lived, worked, celebrated and grieved together. Travel and communication was complicated and cost prohibited.
In small villages, young girls would have opportunities to watch, support and observe the older siblings, cousins and neighbors as they dated, married, birthed and breastfed. This daily exposure to pregnancy, birth and postpartum was an ongoing lesson in life, realistic expectations, and unexpected outcomes. Young girls learned what to experience in childbirth by witnessing the women in their neighborhood.
However, with this loss of the ‘village’ the younger generations have lost the opportunity to experience and observe life with all its intricacies. Childbirth classes can replace what has been lost. A comprehensive class can teach the couple about their birth options, preferences and help them to make a plan for a positive empowering outcome. Classes should cover all the nuts and bolts of pregnancy from nutrition to exercise, through the stages of labor, the pros and cons of medical interventions, postpartum recovery, infant bonding and breastfeeding. This knowledge educates couples and reduce their fear of the unknown. It empowers them to make better choices adding in improving their desired birth outcome.
When a childbirth class covers both the pros and cons of medical intervention, it empowers the parents to become better advocates for themselves and their baby. Parents can choose how to move forward to make healthy choices to affect their birth outcomes. Couples can also make personalized decisions on the care they want and need to avoid unwanted or unneeded interventions to have improved maternal and fetal outcomes and experiences. A good childbirth education will compliment and not hinder provider care.
Childbirth classes usually have a component of relaxation. It can vary from weekly relaxations and visualizations, to massage techniques, mantras and a whole collection of personalized options. The reoccurring practices makes couples set aside some time to practice a skill set to empower the partners in the birth room. A better understanding of maternal needs and desires in labor combined with a practical skill set for the partner will improve partner-mother relationships both in and out of the birth room.
An empowered confident partner can create and support a calm and safe birth environment for the mother. He/she can provide confidence to the mother, support her in the way she desires and most importantly be her voice when she can do or does not advocate for herself. By the partner assuming the logistics of labor, much like Atlas supporting the world on his back, the mother is free to surrender to the sensations she is feeling and move through the birth without anxiety or fear.
Birth is a life changing event for everyone.
A baby enters the world and a woman becomes a mother. The partner become a parent. Parents become grandparents. A new paradigm is created which deserves support from childbirth classes to superior provider communication to an empowering birth experience.