Mr. S and I attended our 2-day intensive birth class over the last two Sundays. It was great! The classes were taught by our doula using Birthing from Within principles. Birthing from Within has a more introspective bent than other birth classes – it encourages the couple to explore their thoughts and fears about birth and confront them. We learned a lot about labor and birth and the immediate aftermath, practiced pain coping techniques while holding ice, did some visualizations and art projects and generally thought about and talked through our ideas about childbirth. There were only two other couples (who were absolutely wonderful) so it was the perfect balance of personalized attention and having other people to share it with.
I can’t think of any part of the class that was not useful. Even though I have read a lot of books and know the basics of the physiology of labor and birth and the newborn period, it was nice to review and be able to ask questions about it. Our doula has children of her own and has attended many births, so she was able to answer our questions from her experience. One thing she told us is that couples from her last birth class had labors that ranged from 5 hours to 50 hours! So we should be prepared for anything (although it is more likely to be in the middle of those…) She also gave us an overview of what exactly would happen were we to get an epidural or a c-section. I was definitely squirming a bit as she described the c-section (it still terrifies me), but I do like knowing exactly what would happen.
The most unique part of the experience was the art projects – I doubt they play with pastels in Lamaze class! My favorite project was the first. We made labyrinths to represent the experience of labor.
The labyrinth encourages us to think of labor as a journey. It is not a straight journey – but rather windy and you have to trust that if you follow along you will eventually get to the center. Once you get to the center (baby is born), you still have to come back out. This is the postpartum period.
I highly recommend that any pregnant couple take a birth class together. Birthing from Within is probably not for everyone, but we enjoyed it!