Birth Class-It's Not Just For Moms!
Some pregnant women might wonder why their partner, who is decidedly NOT pregnant, should have a birth class. And some partners might wonder why they need to learn all this stuff when they will not be giving birth.
Oh, but the partner DOES need a birth class, perhaps even more than the birthing woman!
So let's talk about why your partner needs a birth class.
Truly a birth class is not just for moms!
We talk a lot about how empowering birth can be, but it isn't just an empowering experience for mom. In fact, partners can be deeply affected by a negative or empowered by a positive birth experience. Josh McGowan, whose wife is a Birth Boot Camp prenatal educator and doula in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, expresses these feelings.
"I wish I had known more; more about what natural birth was, more about having a birth plan, more about the power of a woman's body. Our class covered some basics but not the info we really needed. I wish I had known more about how to support my wife during the birth of our first child. I wish I knew there were alternatives to lying on her back to have a baby. With our second child, we had a birth plan and a doula. I felt more prepared. I felt supported and was able to be a better partner and provide my wife more comfort."
PS, that first birth class wasn't one of ours! Childbirth education isn't all created equal.
It's Their Birth Too!
Instructor Natashia, who teaches birth classes in Green Bay, Wisconsin, points out that birth isn't just for the woman. "My thought is that men have a birth story too. Education can certainly help them become the knight in shining armor!"
Katy Wentworth who took a birth class in Houston said that, "My husband and I are so glad we took Birth Boot Camp together during my pregnancy because it helped us feel so prepared. We knew what to expect ahead of time so that when labor started, nothing took us by surprise. In fact, for most of my labor, my husband and I just stayed home before I transitioned and we went to the birth center.
He acted as my doula before I was ready for my actual doula to take over. He was so wonderful and helped me through each contraction, using the techniques we learned in class. We really would not have had such a peaceful birth experience had we not been so prepared by Birth Boot Camp. We both highly recommend it to any couple, regardless of birth plan. It will be the greatest tool you have for a positive birth."
Often we see fathers at birth portrayed as whimpering, idiotic, or fainting sidekicks in ridiculous portrayals of sitcom childbirth. Salvador Lopez, husband of our childbirth instructor Valerie in San Antonio, says that, "I was honest with myself and knew I knew nothing about what my wife was going through and I didn't understand what my role was going to be beyond 'the father'. Childbirth education filled in the blanks and gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed to be an engaged husband and father. It helped break the father stereotype and I was able to take an active role in the journey with my wife and our baby."
Many partners go into the birth experience simply lacking and confidence in their ability to participate in this unknown and seemingly frightening event. Maryellen, who is a childbirth educator and doula in Lafayette, Louisiana says, "My husband went from wanting to stand out of the way during my birth, before Birth Boot Camp classes, to setting up my birth space and being my number one support during labor. He also will now make conversation about natural birth with anyone who will listen!"
We love to see partners who are passionate about birth!
Realistically, if your partner has never given birth, there is a lot they simply can't understand about the birth process or even the experience of pregnancy. A birth class can fill this understanding gap.
Mark Bunnell, father of five and husband to Angela, our childbirth instructor in Grand Junction, Colorado says this, "Childbirth Education classes provided me with the knowledge of what my wife was going through during labor and delivery so that I was prepared and confident as I helped support her."
Most of us know little to nothing about supporting a woman through labor. A good birth class will prepare you with the necessary tools.
BOTH of you.
Danielle, a student who took a birth class in Abilene, TX said this, "My husband was there for me and KNEW how to help me through it because we were prepared through Birth Boot Camp and through Hailie!"
Birth is like sex, we tend to try to avoid the subject. And nobody dares mention the way that birth can potentially impact your sex life. And while we feel that the importance of the birth to the mother should (and usually does) hold great sway over the feelings of the partner, some partners simply don't see the value of spending hundreds on a birth class.
Sometimes showing how birth can impact the relationship, including the sex life, is helpful to illustrate the longstanding importance of birth for both the mom and her partner. This quote was sent to us from a former student who preferred to stay anonymous.
"It's hard at first for us (men) to understand why birth education is so important to the moms - we aren't the ones with the reality of having to deliver a baby out of our bodies. But as husbands, we are supposed to protect our wives - and learning about childbirth leaves us better equipped to protect them from birth related trauma. If I'm being honest, sex is a priority for me in our marriage. And if my wife experiences birth trauma, it is very possible that it may impact our sex life in a negative way. I want to do my part to prevent that from happening."
Childbirth education isn't just about childbirth, it is about preventing the consequences, both emotional and physical, of a traumatic birth experiences.
Caryn, a childbirth educator in Carrollton TX, reports on the transformation she saw in Jason, one of her students, from the first class to the last. Jason says, "Birth Boot Camp equipped me with knowledge about the different ways I could be a better husband for my wife during birth. It helped me understand what my wife would be going through. The videos we watched were incredibly helpful. I really needed to see those."
Birth is a transformative process, and childbirth education can be too. We know that amazing partners everywhere deserve all the benefits of childbirth education.
Birth class is not just for mom!