Many people think birth classes are only for first time moms. I have even heard midwives, doulas, and other childbirth educators say this. I believe a birth class is for anyone who hasn't achieved the birth they desire. So this would of course include a first time mom. This would also include a mom who previously had a medicated birth and desires a natural birth. Also, couples planning a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) need to prepare in order to avoid another cesarean. Even the most supportive provider will not be able to VBAC for you or walk you through the whole labor as it happens. Like anything in life, when you are going to do something you have never done before, you should learn how!
I love the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). I am active in our Monterey County chapter and I recently taught a webinar for ICAN on avoiding a cesarean (based on this post). I'm really proud that ICAN featured an article on the curriculum I teach, Birth Boot Camp, in the July 2014 of the Clarion, and wanted to share it with all of you!
If you are interested in joining ICAN, getting access to the Clarion, educational workshops and webinars, and a discount at the ICAN store, you can do that here!
A fellow educator wanted to share this message anonymously, and I'm pleased she chose to share it here. I hope this helps to start a productive conversation between grandparents and their expecting children. - Cori Gentry, BBCI
Dear expectant grandparents,
Congratulations! Whether this is your first or fourteenth grandchild, you are no doubt overjoyed to hear that your family is expanding and you are anxious to be helpful and involved. What a special time! Your son(in-law) and daughter(in-law) are certainly thrilled to share this excitement with you. As you anticipate meeting this new sweet little bundle of joy, there will be many opportunities to show your support to the expectant parents. Current research shows that the birth experience has a long lasting impact on families, so please accept these words of advice to help make this exciting time as safe, harmonious and joyful as possible.
Before the Birth
You may notice that the parents of your grandchild are doing research, taking classes and exploring options about pregnancy and birth. They may make decisions for their baby that differ from the decisions that you made for your babies. Please do not take this personally. Each set of parents are entitled to make their own decisions with the information they have. Do not feel obligated to justify your own choices. This is the beauty of raising adults- they get to make these heavy decisions and bear the responsibility for them. If you have questions, ask for reasoning with patience and respect.
The mother may not give birth by the estimated due date. In fact, labor may not begin for days or weeks after the due date. This can be normal and healthy, as the average pregnancy lasts 41 weeks and 1 day. She may be emotional or even feel guilty for making family “wait” longer than expected. Try to alleviate her of any pressure and show patience and understanding.
Ask how you can help and what the parents expect from you when the time for the birth arrives. If they do not ask you to attend the birth, do not take this personally. Birth is a very private and personal event. This does not mean they intend to exclude you, but that their priorities are for privacy and minimal interruption to the birth process. The mother needs to feel uninhibited to follow her instincts, moving and making noises freely. She may be concerned about your comfort level in that setting and needs to avoid being distracted from her goal- birthing her baby! Here are some ideas for other things you can do during the birth:
On the other hand, they may ask you to attend. What an honor! Here are some things you should know to expect:
After the Birth
The moments after the birth will be a flurry of excitement!
In the days and weeks after the birth, it is important for the mother to recover from birth and allow her body time to heal. She should remain in bed for most of the day and should be able to nurse her baby without limitation. This will help establish good milk supply and give the baby a great start nutritionally. She will need help with meals, laundry, errands and other chores. Any help you can offer or organize will be a priceless gifts to the new mama!
As you probably know, each birth and each baby are unique. I hope these tips help you know how to best show love to the new parents and the baby. There is nothing like welcoming a new child into a family. May this birth bring your family happiness and bond you as only a birth can!
~ A mama and childbirth educator
Natural Birth Series
Sept 28 – Nov 15
Infant Sleep for Expecting & New Parents
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Gentle Cesarean: Planning & Recovery
Toro Park, 3-6:30pm
Natural Birth Refresher
Salinas, 1– 4pm
Preconception & Early Pregnancy Class
Salinas, 1– 4pm
Sibling Prep for Parents & Kids
November 4th & 5th
Toro Park, 2:-4pm
Fall Home & Birth Center Birth Series
Nov 7 – Dec 12
Natural Birth Series
Nov 29th – Jan 17th