When I was seven months pregnant, I began to explore my options in childbirth, working where I work helped me a lot and I was able to get my hands on a lot of research. I decided to take childbirth education classes and went through Lamaze. I had great experience and I was recently featured on the new blog Giving Birth with Confidence, where I talk about the impact the class had on me. The article is below but feel free to click here for the original post.
Why did you decide to attend a childbirth education class?
As a first-time mom, I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to take a class to help prepare my husband and myself. The last thing I wanted to feel was anxious or nervous – I just wanted to be focused on meeting my baby.
Why did you choose a Lamaze class?
The main thing that attracts me to Lamaze is the Healthy Birth Practices; they are so simple and so natural. I did not want to go in to the hospital on birth day and follow blindly whatever a doctor or nurse said just because they are professionals — I wanted to be an informed woman. I have always been like that; my dad always told me that I started asking why to everything as soon as I could talk. To me, Lamaze was all about educating yourself to make the best decisions for you and your baby and that made me feel comfortable. I also did not want to have to learn a technique; I wanted something that would come naturally and relax me.
What was the format of your classes?
I took a class one evening a week for 2.5 hours for a period of 4-5 weeks. I took my class thru the DC chapter of Lamaze.
What were your impressions of the first class?
Our class only had four other couples, so it was very intimate. I didn’t know what to expect, but our instructor involved the dads first. She got them to talk about their fears and expectations. Listening to them talk made me and I’m sure the other moms feel more relaxed and free to voice our feelings as well. Being 7 months pregnant when we took the class, I really liked the relaxation exercises and massages we practiced too!
Talk about some of the more notable details of your class.
The one thing I noticed is that we were all first time parents. One of the first questions the instructor asked was if anyone was planning to take advantage of the pain relief options at the hospital. She was not judgmental, but rather let the course information present itself to help women make their decision. All of the moms present at the beginning of the course were planning on getting an epidural because of their perception of childbirth. I remember one of our classes had to be rescheduled because our teacher was also a doula. She came to class the next week and told us about her client’s birthing experience. She told us the client was moving around during labor and trying different positions – several of the moms didn’t even know that was possible. At the end of the class, two of the moms decided to find a midwife instead of continuing to see their ob/gyn and one mom decided to find a hospital that would allow a water birth.
How have your emotions and thoughts and the way you feel about childbirth changed after taking the class?
For some reason, when people see that you’re pregnant, they decide to tell you about their labor experience and of course, they are all scary stories of people laboring for days with 4th degree tears! So naturally I was very nervous about giving birth, and I didn’t think I could do it. That fear is what drew me to take a childbirth education class.
During the class, the teacher made it seem like birth wasn’t so bad. That was the first time anyone described birth to me that way. She showed us a video where a woman was laboring at home but was sitting on the floor watching TV with her husband – she was so relaxed! Nothing like the movies! I was starting to feel like, “I can do this!” The class left me wanting to educate myself even more! I searched for more videos, blogs and articles on natural birth and the more I learned, the more natural it seemed. It seemed like the only way to go and made me wonder why people were not exploring this option more. I came across one woman’s blog who had her natural birth with her family and friends present and after the baby was born, they celebrated with champagne. She looked so happy in the pictures, even while she was pushing I didn’t see pain in her face, but rather determination. I knew that was the experience I wanted!
Be on the lookout for the birth story coming soon!