Thank you to everyone who submitted posts and responses to our blog carnival on "How Did Your Childbirth Classes Help You?" When I became pregnant with my third child, I was determined that, for the first time in my motherhood career, I would take a childbirth class. I did it as much for my own education as I did for my husband, who, even though he knew more about birth than the average guy, could benefit from an in-depth course. After taking a five week Lamaze childbirth class series, I was blown away. I wanted to go out and tell all expectant couples to take a childbirth class (from a reputable organization, of course). Even though I had read (and read and read) books upon books and articles about birth, there is something about an in-person class that can't be replicated in a book. And for some partners, the education that comes from a class may be the only instruction they receive before the big day.
Lisa, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator in Calgary, Canada, writes about her first experience with a childbirth class as "life-changing." Lisa said:
Childbirth class with Nichola changed me from an educated women to a confident expectant mother. Calm and collected, Nichola guided us through the overwhelming amount of information in a way that made sense. Each individual came to their own, different conclusion based on the same information. I was able to choose my own birth adventure, thanks in part to the knowledge and support of a wonderful childbirth educator.
Lisa's childbirth class experience extended far beyond her pregnancy, sparking a passion that led to becoming a childbirth educator herself.
For Laura, it wasn't until her birth experience that she realized the full value of childbirth classes:
They had talked about the cascade of interventions, how one can lead to another. I steered clear of them all. I started to feel scared and panicky. They had talked about transition, that it is normal and means you are close to the end. I remembered and relaxed, continuing my rhythm and ritual. Before I knew it, my body was pushing.
Beyond birth, Laura viewed childbirth classes not just as means to an end, but as a catalyst of change:
Childbirth classes gave me more than just confidence or tools to achieve my ideal birth, they were a rite of passage. They helped me become a mother.
Crystal's experience with childbirth classes was initially overwhelming:
How would I possibly master everything I had learned so that I could be completely prepared for whatever might come my way during labor? How would my sweet D be able to handle what could potentially be a very long labor without the help of a doula? What if I can't get this little one lined up properly for birth?
But somewhere along the line, while learning to summon her inner strength in preparation for birth, she discovered what it was that gave her strength -- her faith. From that point forward, Crystal felt prepared to handle the information and her upcoming birth:
Our childbirth class did more than just prepare us for birth. It helped prepare us for new life all around us, in whatever form it may show up.
Mariam's strength in birth came from her practice of techniques learned in childbirth instruction:
...there was no other explanation for the calm end to my birthing time and my [eventual] ability to relax other than the fact that I'd practiced remaining collected and confident in my body's ability to birth all along.