How much meditation will we do?
We will learn many meditation practices, including gentle yoga, body scan, sitting meditation and we will practice them in class. We encourage daily meditation practice, as the most important insights will come from your experience with the practice. It is not mandatory to practice daily. However, daily practice with the techniques is highly encouraged in order to get the most out of the class. This is a unique class and daily meditation practice is hard work! Childbirth and parenting are hard work too, and daily practice can offer a real anchor for you in the more difficult moments. Daily practice also enables us to be more present for the many joyous moments that come with birth and parenting.
Does my partner learn the meditation practices too?
Yes. Childbirth and the transition to parenthood is stressful for partners and the practices can be helpful for this. Partners will learn how to support a woman through the intense experience of childbirth and will gain confidence. Although partners often initially sign up for the class in order to support their partner, they often find the practices to be helpful in their own family and work lives.
How many couples are in each course?
There can be up to 20 people/10 couples in a class.
What if my partner or I have to miss a class?
Occasionally someone needs to miss a class because of illness, travel or other unexpected situations. As long as you are continuing to practice at home (using the practice that we are focusing on that week) you will be able to keep up with the class. We may have a phone conversation with you to review information, and encourage you to review parts of the book, Mindful Birthing, to cover missed information.
What if we need to miss the all day session?
Even if you are unable to come to the all day session, or can only come for part of it, we encourage you to take the class. The all day session is a wonderful way to deepen your practice but even if you can't come you will still benefit from coming to the weekly classes.
Can I come to the course by myself?
Of course! Pregnant women are welcome to take the course on their own. If you have a partner and they are unable to attend the course, we encourage them to still try to come to the introductory session. This session provides some understanding about what we will be learning.
Can I come with someone other than my partner, like a friend or family member?
Yes. People have attended the course with a good friend or a doula. The practice can be helpful for anyone and the friend, doula or family member should participate and also try the daily practices along with the pregnant woman.
Is this class mainly for people who want a "natural" or unmedicated childbirth?
No. This is a course for people interested in learning mindfulness for childbirth and parenting. The truth is, none of us know how our particular birth will unfold. It may be that choosing medication is an appropriate choice for a particular individual in a particular situation at a particular time. There is no one "right" way to birth a baby. Just as there is no one "right" way to parent a child. However, class participants have said that this course increases their confidence in their capacity to give birth and this confidence has the potential to impact their choices around pain medication.
I plan on giving birth at a hospital/at home. Is this class right for me?
People who take this course choose a variety of birth settings - hospitals, homes and birth centers. Choosing the birth place where you feel comfortable is important, but more important is knowing how to access deep inner resources to work with the experience of childbirth moment-by-moment.
Because of my situation, I know I am going to have a cesarean birth. Would this class still be appropriate for me?
Yes. A cesarean birth is a birth experience for which you can be fully present in a way that welcomes a baby into the world. It is not unusual for woman to have some post surgical pain after surgery and the practices can be very helpful for coping with pain, enhancing your healing process postpartum, for breastfeeding and for the challenges of parenting.
When in my pregnancy should I take the class?
This is up to you. Most people take the class closer to the end of pregnancy, however, it can be extremely helpful to have the practices throughout the entirety of the pregnancy. This is especially true if you are experiencing a high level of stress in your daily life. There is research that supports stress as a contributing factor to preterm labor or low birth weight. Those who want to begin mindfulness practice earlier are welcome to start the course at any point in their pregnancy.
How is this class different from Hypnobirthing or other mind/body classes?
There are many ways to work with the mind to cope with pain. Hypnosis is a very effective way for many people to cope with the pain of childbirth. In Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting we learn how to work with pain, but we also learn ways to live each moment fully, be aware of our automatic reactions, and learn ways that we can notice those reactions and make different choices. MBCP teaches us to live our lives with more kindness, clarity and wisdom and extends into the realm of parenting where those characteristics can help us to parent in a way that allows us to see our children just as they are.
I took a childbirth class for my first birth experience and the birth was fine. Won't this course just be a repeat of things I already know?
Unless you have taken a mindfulness meditation class in the past, this won't be a repeat of things you already know. You will learn many skills that are not taught in a traditional childbirth education class.
Also, often when couples are expecting their second (or third) baby, it is hard to find time to focus on this pregnancy. Having the opportunity to learn something new with your partner and having a date set once a week to do something together can be a helpful way to connect with your partner. Many people who are parents already learn skills that become extremely helpful in their relationship with their older child(ren).
I had a very difficult birth experience with my first baby. I am looking for something that will help me have a different kind of experience with my next baby. Do you think the course will help me?
The tools you will learn in this class will allow you to experience your birth fully however it is. Through mindfulness we can learn ways to find acceptance to see things just as they are. Often, especially with a history of a difficult birth experience, there is a lot of fear around birth and through mindfulness we learn to recognize fear as the passing mind state that it is allowing us to be present, knowing that this birth is a new experience.