Tuesday, November 06, 2012

There has to be another way to teach childbirth education



"I was looking for a skill set that wasn’t afraid to challenge what is not working for women within the dominant paradigm of birth – a paradigm that has been built primarily on fear, and the management and medicalization of women’s bodies."

Years ago, I had an “a-ha” moment after finishing a year-long childbirth education program in NYC. I had felt well versed and knowledgeable about the evidence-based research when it came to birth and teaching childbirth education, but I had a  very clear feeling that “there has to be another way to teach this material.” Often, during our class discussions that year, there was a sense that we all felt the need to walk the fine line between offering comprehensive information to our clients and, on the other hand, being afraid to give so much information that we scared our clients away.

When Karen Brody’s program came out (originally as “FEAR to FREEDOM Birth”) my ears perked up and I was immediately reminded of that moment. This was my answer to finding a complement to a physiologically based childbirth course, and to introducing a new birthing paradigm. I didn’t hesitate to sign up for the three month pre-launch course. It proved to be an intense summer --  completing a program that’s normally completed in 6 months into 12 weeks -- but I was determined. And besides, I was completely engaged and drawn into the curriculum.  Since that time, Karen has renamed FEAR to FREEDOM and has come full circle with the new name --The BOLD METHOD for Birth.  As a birth activist, doula, doula trainer, and childbirth educator this new name really speaks to all sides of what BOLD is about.

In order for a shift to happen in childbirth, we as educators need to recognize where our own body of knowledge is coming from and how we share and teach this material. I realized that in connecting to the feminine, which is at the core of The BOLD METHOD for Birth, I was shifting -- not only in how I was thinking about childbirth but also in how I was teaching it to pregnant women and the families that I worked with.

How can we, as agents of change, truly make an impact if we’re not questioning where our own birth pedagogy originates? Do we feel as if only scientific evidence will legitimize our work, while undervaluing other kinds of evidence that we hold in our minds, our hearts, and in our bodies? While I value and stay up to date with birth research, I also recognize that pregnant women need more, and that as a childbirth educator and doula, I need more!  I need the power of the feminine to balance and ground my work.

I feel a deep desire to explore fear, the feminine, spirituality, energy, empowerment, and love with women. Intuitive wisdom is just as important to me as the latest research on breastfeeding or the impact that medications have on laboring women. I continue to want to go deeper and I want women in my class to have that opportunity for depth as well. I want pregnant moms to feel like they have the tools to do the work themselves before labor starts. As a doula, I know how important it is for pregnant women to take accountability for their birth experience.  I also know how vital holding sacred space is –  for myself and for everyone else in the room, especially the laboring mom.

When I found Karen’s training, I was looking for a skill set that wasn’t afraid to challenge what is not working for women within the dominant paradigm of birth – a paradigm that has been built primarily on fear, and the management and medicalization of women’s bodies. I love that The BOLD METHOD for Birth doesn’t make women feel they’ve failed if they don’t “get it right.” There is no right or wrong when we’re guiding women to discover their own truth. Owning that truth as a doula and educator has given me the strength to truly support women, without an agenda. True empowerment is an invitation to wake up to the truth of one’s self. That truth isn’t dependent on a birth outcome. Rather, it gives permission for everything that shows up at a birth to be a tool for deeper awakening.

This program supported me to take the journey from fear to freedom. Embracing The BOLD METHOD for Birth gave me that foundation. I have been using these methods for over a year now and experiencing the joy in extending this invitation of empowerment to the pregnant women I teach as well as to those I witness and support as their doula.

Aimee Brill CD, PD, (DTI), LCCE is a certified doula, Lamaze certified childbirth educator and a BOLD METHOD certified birth facilitator in Syracuse, New York. She is also a doula mentor and trainer with Doula Trainings International (DTI). www.villagebirth.com  www.doulatrainingsinternational.com
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The BOLD Method for birth is opening up enrollment in our birth facilitator training this week ONLY and giving away free bonus ‘presents’ to anyone who enrolls. For more information on our bonuses go to:www.boldbirthmethod.com. To learn more about The BOLD Method and enroll to train with us go to:www.changethecultureofbirth.com. 

3 comments:

mandi hardy hillman said...

"How can we, as agents of change, truly make an impact if we’re not questioning where our own birth pedagogy originates?"

Amen.

karen brody said...

Yes, I was thinking this too Mandi! Aimee has such a great way of getting to the truth of the matter.

Karen

Elizabeth Mangum-Sarach said...

Well said, Aimee. As a woman, and friend, who has been on the receiving end of your genius (both intellectual and intuitive genius) I am grateful that you continue to BOLDly explore the birth world. Thank you for all that you do and the inspiration you continue to give to many. xo Elizabeth