Prenatal Education in Calgary, Alberta
It is hard to express how excited we were at Birth Boot Camp when we had our first Canadian instructors certify. Woohoo! We were suddenly international! One of these very special “international” Birth Boot Camp instructors is Laurie McGowan who is teaching prenatal education in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and we are so thrilled to have her! She is an amazing woman passionate about birth and all things related. Check out her interview below, and take a birth class with her in Calgary, Alberta! (PS, she is also the FIRST Birth Boot Camp DOULA in CANADA!)
First, could you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your own birth experiences and how they influenced your desire to teach prenatal education classes in Calgary, Alberta.
My name is Laurie McGowan of Adventures of Little based in Calgary, Alberta, CANADA! I am a mom to two lovely and spirited girls, each with a different birth story. I have experienced a medicated birth and an unmedicated birth, both in a hospital setting. Not only were my husband and I unprepared for the labour and birth of our first child after attending the typical hospital prenatal classes, we were unprepared for breastfeeding and postpartum care.
I feel blessed that our doula with our second child opened our eyes to natural childbirth through empathy, education, and empowerment. Our second hospital birth was quick and joyful and an unmedicated vaginal birth. I realized then that if I didn’t have real information about birth, there were probably many other women just like me needing this information.
What first got you interested in the realm of birth?
I owned and operated a store with a focus natural parenting items like cloth diapers, eco skin care and green living. I loved working with parents and frequently talked about birth and education during my time with them. I had felt changed by my doula, but with a young family, a corporate career in the environment field and my store, I didn’t see a way to make it a focus. As my children entered school, my husband and I really went through our priorities and made big changes to our lives. I closed my store, left my career and focused on training to become a prenatal educator.
What are your particular passions concerning birth?
I love seeing light bulbs go off in the eyes of students and questions arising from the material.
I don’t see myself as a teacher. I am a sharer of information.
We have limited access to midwives in our province and I love to talk about them in class. I think the more people that know about the midwifery model of care, the more they will ask for their services as a consumer.
The class is also suitable for mom’s being served by an obstetrician. The class helps women to find their own way to birth by giving them an array of tools, as opposed to telling them how to birth. It’s modern and comprehensive information that is evidenced based and perfect for the mainstream woman that may not have come across the benefits to natural birth.
There are lots of different birth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp even though you live in Calgary, Alberta, a long way from training!?
I spent a great deal of time researching prenatal instructor programs. I wanted a program that contained up to date information, had great material that was ready to go and a solid back end to help me grow as an instructor. I stumbled upon Birth Boot Camp and knew it was right.
I hadn’t heard of them and at that point there were no other instructors in Canada. I didn’t get to see the material in real life until training, but I could see from their marketing materials as well as the pre certification work that it was modern, comprehensive and attainable for a wide range of women with low risk pregnancies. I was even more impressed once I got my hands on the field manual that each couple receives. Our manuals are updated every year to ensure the information I share is current.
I also wanted a supportive organization that understands marketing and how to run a business. I have access to our board members as well as all of the certified instructors. Each and everyone of them want to see the others and the company succeed. Collaborations and building each other up is a priority. I actually blogged about why I traveled for Birth Boot Camp training, so you can read that here!
Tell us a little about your Birth Boot Camp training experience. Where did you train? What did you like about it?
I loved the precertification process. I spent hundreds of hours reading and writing to complete the study guide. We had a Facebook group and were able to communicate with others. We had great discussions that widened my perspective. Flying into Dallas Fort Worth was easy and inexpensive. The hotel location was great with access to food and the shuttle. I shared a room (and made a lifelong friend) to save on costs.
The training itself was just as exhaustive as the pre certification process. The days were long, but because our pre work was so in depth, we really focused on how to share the information in the classes. Sarah and Donna are amazing resources of knowledge for teaching and where to find the up to date research. The exam scared me, but I was grateful for the chance to test my knowledge. It boosted my confidence as well as validated being certified.
How is teaching your own prenatal education in Calgary, Alberta going for you? What do you enjoy most about it?
I look forward to class nights. I always learn something from the students questions and how to share the material more effectively. I love seeing couples leave class relaxed and ready to take on the next week. I love the interactive parts of class and I see the students enjoying it as well. If we can share information with them and then provide a means to practice it, they can have the confidence to ask the questions and to provide the support their partner is needing.
In what ways did the Birth Boot Camp teacher training help prepare you for teaching actual classes?
The training gave me ideas to approach difficult subjects as well as a variety of teaching skills. Donna and Sarah have different approaches and shared other instructor’s styles of teaching. We were able to identify our own skills and work from there. Presenting a topic to the rest of my classmates during training seemed like a scary task, but it felt great to do! By the end of the training session, I felt prepared to share the learnings with my own students.
Tell us a little about your students. How do you believe childbirth education is having a positive impact on them?
My students’ care providers have been obstetricians and midwives. Each couple has found childbirth tools that work for them as well as identifying what doesn’t work for them. They’ve come up with really thoughtful questions for me and their providers. I’m continually learning from them and their experiences.
To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?
I see natural birth education as a venue to help students learn about how amazing their bodies are and to build confidence in themselves and between each other. Being able to fully inform yourself on what is within the realm of normal and be comfortable making the tough decisions will help, not only to better the mother and infant outcomes, but better the relationships beyond birth.
Knowledge is power.
Where can we find you?
I’m located in NW Calgary, Alberta, Canada and serve Calgary in addition to the surrounding areas of Cochrane and Airdrie. I love sharing information on my blog and through social media.
Mobile: 403 805 6326
Facebook: Adventures of Little