Should Your Natural Childbirth Educator Have Given Birth Naturally?
At Birth Boot Camp, we require that all of our natural childbirth educators have themselves had a natural childbirth. Reactions to our natural birth requirement for instructors are sometimes interesting. For some, the response is, â€œOf course my natural birth teacher should have had a natural birth!â€ For others, the response to this requirement is less than happy. This subject comes up regularly; therefore, today we address this important policy.
First, let us be clear- we understand very well that not all births can be natural. We don’t teach â€œnatural birth at all costsâ€. We know that, sometimes, for the safety of mother or baby, vaginal birth is not possible. We also recognize that pain relief can be a necessary intervention for a variety of reasons and can yield the healthiest birth possible for the mother and/or baby.
While some have been offended by our natural birth requirement for our childbirth instructors, this requirement is not at all about the instructor, nor is it a judgment of anyone’s birth experience. The natural birth requirement is about the student.
Our students have demanded this requirement. For many of them, their birth teacher is the only person they have ever met who has had a natural birth. Many are fighting an uphill battle with friends and family. Often those in their circle have no experience with natural birth and even mock the very idea. Kristina, a birth teacher in North Carolina has found that, â€œ It makes you relatable and gives you a sense of compassion that can’t be falsified. Knowing you achieved a successful natural birth inspires your clients to know you aren’t a superhero. You are them, and they can achieve their birth goals, too!â€ For these students who â€œstand alone,â€ so to speak, they lean on the experience of their childbirth educator.
Regina, one of our birth teachers in San Angelo, TX says that, â€œMy students ask me all the time about how many births I’ve had and what the outcome was. Often this happens in the first class or before. It gives a level of credibility that I’m not sure how an instructor would gain without that personal experience.â€
Book knowledge and teaching skills are incredibly important. We expect our instructors to have that knowledge and develop those talents. But we cater to an audience of couples who want a teacher who can look them in the eye and say, â€œI did this, and I know you can do it too.â€ There is value in this that is hard to quantify. In short, our students want a childbirth educator who has had a natural birth. We are simply filling that desire.
Many of our instructors have had medical professionals in their classes, who themselves are planning a natural birth. Some of these professionals have caught hundreds of babies themselves, yet they sought out a birth class to learn how to do it. Andrea, who teaches birth classes in Spokane, Washington, had one mom-to-be tell her, “I don’t know a single person that has had an un-medicated birth and everybody thinks I am crazy for wanting one… Not only have you had one yourself, but you can help teach me how I can have one too!”
Hailie, a natural birth teacher in Abilene, TX, also found this to be true. â€œOne couple told me that they wanted to take my class and hire me as their doula not only because they wanted a natural birth, but because I had a natural water birth. They wanted to learn from someone who had actually had the kind of birth they wanted and knew how to achieve it.â€ Having seen a water birth wasn’t enough; an instructor that had experienced what they wanted — that was what this couple was looking for. This experience is not uncommon among instructors.
Many of our instructors joined our ranks only after taking a Birth Boot Camp childbirth class. Hillary, a VBAC mom is one of these. Now a childbirth educator and doula in Midlothian, TX, she says, â€œFor me, when I took my Birth Boot Camp birth class, it was important for me to know my instructor had been through a natural delivery before as well as had breastfed for at least a year. I felt like I could learn more from her knowledge AND personal experience. Now as an instructor, my students have expressed the same thing. They know that I can give my personal, first-hand knowledge and experience as I teach.â€
There are many childbirth education companies out there, and Birth Boot Camp is not the only one with a natural birth requirement for their instructors. Our natural birth requirement has generated some heat, but we have no plans to change it. Upset has not come from our students, but rather from others in the birth community. Our goal as a company and as individual instructors is to provide our students with what they want, and we believe that this requirement is part of that package.
Some women looking for breastfeeding support will seek out other women who not only have knowledge of breastfeeding, but have done it themselves successfully. Some women who are planning a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) will seek out a doula who has herself had a VBAC. These support people are more than just their accumulated knowledge, they are a reminder. They are just like you, and they have done what you plan on doing.
We purposely include all types of women in our marketing materials from different cultural and racial backgrounds. We want women to look at our materials and see someone who looks like them. We want them to look at their instructor and see someone who has done what they are planning on doing. Our purpose is to serve our students to the best of our ability and give them what they want. The natural birth requirement is one way we do this.
At Birth Boot Camp your instructor will have vast book knowledge of natural birth, training with experienced childbirth educators, and she will have experienced her own natural birth.
The video below features various birth professionals and care providers talking about why they love Birth Boot Camp. Our childbirth instructors do an amazing job preparing their couples for birth, and their care providers notice!