So you peed on the stick, and (SURPRISE!) - You are pregnant!
The first thing that most women and couples do next is nail down their care provider and maybe an early ultrasound. Then comes baby registries, nursery designs, and baby shower invitations.
But a step that is becoming increasingly popular is researching childbirth education classes available. Is this a necessity?
As a mom of two babies and pregnant with our third, I would raise my hand with a resounding "YES."
In our culture, unfortunately, birth is a hidden wonder. We seem to only hear about the horrors that await a pregnant mommy and soon to be daddy. Rarely has a couple trying to conceive and start a family witnessed the birth of a child. The births they have seen (straight from the wonderful world of television) are adrenaline filled, full of screaming, and drama, and somehow the father always passes out or is portrayed in some other negative light.
These are not the births I know or have witnessed.
I see women gathering inner strength, going inside themselves to bring their babies into the world. I see men tenderly touching their partners faces and backs, in utter awe of the goddess transformed before his very eyes. I see women laughing as they near 10 cm , and I see men being amazing doulas and supports for their loves.
And this is why childbirth education is so important. There are so many methods out there - Hypnobabies, Bradley, Roots, etc... but they all touch on the physiology of birth. Of what to expect at each stage of the process. They all teach that birth is a normal, bodily function, and that women have all of the parts necessary to give birth in most cases without intervention.
These methods also teach how to know and communicate with your care provider about what interventions may be necessary. They teach parents to be well-informed consumers and to be confident in their decisions.
Without the childbirth classes I took before the birth of each of my children, I would not have gained the indispensable knowledge necessary to calmly birth my babies. I would not have known what was normal. I would not have known what to expect. I would not have been prepared with a way to cope with any discomfort that I might encounter.
In our society, childbirth classes make so much sense as a way to educate parents about their rights, their choices, and what to expect during birth. As an instructor, my main focus is to prepare these couples for birth, whatever their birth may look like.
America has painted a picture of birth that is not very accurate. It is full of fear and doubt. But with the power of childbirth education, we are slowly taking an eraser to these incorrect assumptions, and painting on the truth.