Tomorrow evening is our last of eight childbirth classes. I was thinking about that today (and, honestly, about how glad I am that we’ll be done – we drive an hour each way to get to class every week!) and how I’ve never really shared (with anyone, I don’t think) why my husband and I decided to spend the time and money and get a comprehensive childbirth education.
Sometimes I find it difficult to share on the topic of pregnancy and birth and why we’ve chosen the route we’ve chosen. No matter how good the intentions or how carefully the words are chosen, it always comes off a little too “I’m doing things right and you’re wrong if you’re doing it differently”. But, to not share would be a big mistake I think. This is a huge part of my life. These are researched, thoughtful, prayed over decisions – and if sharing the decisions we’ve come to helps someone else in making their decisions (whether they’re the same decisions as ours or not!), then I think it’s worth it.
So with that in mind, here are the major reasons we decided to do childbirth classes.
We’ve Never Had a Baby Before!
To us, it seemed like a logical idea to take classes given our total lack of experience when it comes to all things pregnancy, childbirth, and kids. I mean, my husband is a doctor – and even he recognized that we had a huge gap in our knowledge and understanding of things. We’re two youngest children. Our experience before now with pregnancy and babies is pretty limited.
We Prepare for and Research Any Major Life Event
We research everything, and I happen to like being prepared. We couldn’t imagine going through this phase of life without doing our due diligence.
Our Midwife Suggested Taking Childbirth Classes
We spent a huge amount of time selecting care providers for this process. We’re planning a homebirth with an incredibly skilled and experienced midwife. We’ve also been receiving co-care from a fabulous OB/GYN (and, get this, both providers actually know, like, respect, and trust one another). So when this midwife that we fully trust and respect with this process told us that she recommends that all first-time parents take a childbirth class, we listened to her recommendation.
We Needed to Reframe How We View Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Kids
Frankly, Americans have a very negative perspective on pregnancy, childbirth, and kids. Pregnancy is seen as a medical condition to be managed. Childbirth is the worst, most inconvenient thing in the world that could ever happen to you. Kids certainly aren’t seen as the blessings the Bible tells us they are.
My husband and I feel differently about all of the above. But because we’ve grown up in a culture with all those attitudes, the messages still got into our heads and have affected this experience. So that means we needed to reprogram ourselves. The education we chose has helped us to do just that.
Because of the Path We’ve Chosen, We Need to Take More Responsibility for This Natural Life Event
I’m not getting prenatal care like the majority of pregnant women get prenatal care in this country. Because of that, we’ve absorbed a lot more responsibility – and that includes knowing more than the basics.
I Don’t Have a History of Being Super Confident in My Body’s Abilities
When it comes to my body, my first instinct isn’t how powerful it is or how fearfully and wonderfully made I am. There are a lot of reasons for that (and that’s a whole other post). The way I’ve combated the natural instinct I have to think my body is broken and incapable, is to equip myself with knowledge. Because knowledge is power.
In case you’re wondering, the childbirth education we chose is called BirthWorks. It’s an 8-week course (that was the length of our course, anyways) that is incredibly comprehensive, but does focus on the fact that birth is an instinctive, natural process. We feel like we got an incredible education (I mean, we learned about everything from medical pain relief options, to C-sections, to trusting your body with the birth process, to writing a birth plan, and so, so much more). And as a bonus, our teacher happened to be the author of the workbook they use for the course!
In the end, taking childbirth classes was really the last piece in the puzzle for me when it comes to preparing myself for a positive birth experience. I know I’m educated. I know my body is capable of this monumental event. I have an incredible support team (my midwife, my OB/GYN, and my husband), all of whom continually reflect back to me that I’m strong and able to handle this. And most importantly (and this is the most comforting thing to me), I know that my life and our baby’s life is in the hands of the Father.
What about you? Did you take any childbirth classes? Why or why not?