June 30, 2020
Series: Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators - The Childbirth Educator is In!
By: Mallory Emerson, LCCE | 0 Comments
This month’s Brilliant Activities for Birth Educator series continues to support childbirth educators who are offering virtual perinatal education. With the COVID-19 global pandemic, and pregnant people being in a high risk category, virtual and online classes are the new norm. Regular contributor Mallory Emerson has pivoted to virtual teaching better than almost anyone else I know, and I am delighted she agreed to share her newest idea. You can find all the Brilliant Activities for Birth Educator series posts here, for great ideas both in person and virtually. - Sharon Muza, Connecting the Dots Community Manager.
Many things have changed during life in a pandemic. While connection with my husband and two kids has been at an all-time high the last few months, I have been missing the in-person connection with both my doula clients and families in my childbirth classes. For those families, it also seems that the support of their loved ones during such an important transition as welcoming a baby is very missed. While I have been diligent and thorough about the resources and referrals I share in my virtual classes, I wanted to offer more opportunities for families to connect with me and each other during this challenging time.
To support that goal, I began offering twice-monthly “Drop-in Coffee Chats” for current and past doula clients as well as parents from my recent childbirth classes and new parent support groups I volunteer with through a popular, local organization, Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS). I sent an email to everyone with a recurring Zoom link and a brief description of the purpose of the virtual get-together.
What parents needed to know:
Very casual get together
No need to RSVP
Come for the whole hour or just pop in for a bit
Come alone or with your partner (and your baby)
Bring questions, things to share, or just a desire to chat/listen
I’ll have my coffee (and sometimes my breakfast) at hand, feel free to do the same
My goal for these drop-in hours was initially to allow more opportunity for my doula clients to connect with me since we are not doing in-person prenatal visits currently. However, as I expanded my invite to include more families I have worked with, I realized my real intended outcome was to help decrease the sense of isolation that creeps in during early weeks with a baby even in the most ideal situations.
So far, I’ve had three Sunday morning meetings and have had a handful of families hop on to each Zoom session. It’s been a mix of families from classes, doula clients, parents with babies from one week old to one year old, and even pregnant folks still waiting for their little ones to arrive. I have shared resources, asked questions, held space for hard feelings, and most of all been encouraged and impressed by the sharing and connection happening between families who have not met before. The experience of welcoming a baby and becoming parents has always been somewhat unifying, and now while we do this challenging work in the midst of COVID-19, the drive to know we are not alone is even stronger and more important.
I am glad that I have taken the time and made the commitment to this casual virtual meet up. I can see how appreciative families are for this connection with me and other families and I am happy to offer this small act of kindness during these stressful ties.
How are you helping families in or outside of classes form strong bonds even when we aren’t in the same physical space? How has your work changed over the last few months? Do you think you might do something like this to help connect families?
About Mallory Emerson
Mallory Emerson, LCCE is a childbirth educator and doula in the Seattle area. She currently teaches Great Starts classes with Parent Trust for Washington Children and is passionate about providing evidence-based information to new families so that they can confidently navigate the decisions of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. Mallory first trained with the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations at Bastyr University in 2014. She is a Great Starts certified educator and also completed the Passion for Birth training before becoming a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator in 2017. Mallory is a DONA-trained Birth Doula serving the greater Seattle area and is currently working towards DONA certification. You can learn more about Mallory on her website, MalloryEmerson.com.
TagsChildbirth education Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Series: Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Mallory Emerson COVID-19