Most couples in Australia do pre-natal preparation classes before the birth of their child. Most of us feel it is important to get information about this big event, which is foreign to most of us in our culture today. For others it is about taking time to focus on baby, in their otherwise busy lives and maybe to connect with other families in the same situation. All these reasons are important and valid. But what might we learn in a typical pre-natal class? And what do we actually really need to learn to feel prepared, as we don’t know how our births will unfold?
On the Coast most prenatal education happens in our hospitals. These classes are taught from the hospital’s point of view within the particular hospitals policies. It can be useful information for a couple to know what their chosen hospital’s policies are, but does it prepare them for birth?
You will more than likely learn about the stages of labour and how the epidural procedure happens. Or you might learn to go to hospital, when contractions are five minutes apart, which can be a reassuring guideline. But what if their never is five minutes between your contractions?
Birth preparation, in my opinion, needs to be much more soulful than what is offered in most places. Birth is so much more than getting that baby out. It is an overwhelming transition to a very different stage of your life. We can’t prepare us to a specific kind of birth, but we can prepare more deeply to be ready for whatever comes our way. There is no right or wrong way to give birth, but it is important that it is a good experience. To do this we need much more than labour stages and obstetric procedures.
In soulful preparation there is emphasis on your specific journey, and how you can make good decision for yourself and be present in the situation. This could involve practicing getting information about a procedure, or ask questions to work out, what is really needed and what is routine policy.
It also means building a strong and deep connection with your partner so he has good understanding of how to support you, and has explored how he might feel watching his woman in that very intense late labour place.
And then of course working on how to cope in labour by building a pain-coping mindset. This part is often very small in basic birth preparation classes. Or it is taught as a specific technique that has to be followed to birth ‘right’. This might be helpful to some Mums, but what about all the others? Building a pain coping mindset doesn’t mean that there will be no pain. It means building up resources within to deal with labour and birth, whatever the journey looks like. It is an awareness tool that might also help you cope in general with the enormity and intensity of birthing a baby and even into your parenting.
Soulful preparation offers many more things of course, apart from offering a caring, nurturing environment where you can safely and respectfully explore your inner resources to meet your birth experience with confidence.
So, just like it is crucial to shop around when you are choosing your birth place and your caregiver, it is also important to consider what you need to feel prepared for your birth? What information and support will be helpful for you? This is one option which takes a different approach to your normal basic hospital preparation class.
Congratulations on your pregnancy and on taking the time to investigate what is the right choice for you and your baby.