Generally, childbirth education classes are information-based lecture and discussion, often with videos. Typically the focus is on labor and birth, including possible interventions and procedures, and sometimes breastfeeding and newborn care. The intentions and attitudes of a particular instructor or class location will impact what and how material is shared.
MBCP is a childbirth education course AND mindfulness training in one. We cover evidence-based information on the physiology and anatomy of birth, labor & delivery, and breastfeeding. We work with experiences of pain and fear to build a variety of tools for the individual and the couple to draw upon in their own experiences. We develop ways to strengthen communication with our partners, our medical care providers and our families that lead to wise decision-making. We learn and practice skills to support life right now, that will support us through whatever may happen in the unique experiences of birthing and parenting journeys.
Please be aware that no class should offer any guarantees around a specific experience or outcome - that just isn't how life, or birth, works.
In short - yes. In MBCP, we spend considerable time learning to engage the mind to work with pain, so that participants are prepared to use all their inner resources in labor, regardless of how their particular birth experience unfolds. The invitation is to build your toolbox to support your personal preferences, advocate for yourself, and drawn on resources within and beyond yourself.
Partners will develop skills and tools for being in service to the labor process and for being connected to their own experiences of transformation into parenthood.
If it is your preference to have a low/no intervention birth experience, then it can be very impactful to take the time to prepare mentally, physically and emotionally during pregnancy.
This class is for anyone giving birth. Medical interventions and procedures can be used wisely to support safe passage of gestational parent and baby.
Mindfulness holds space for all experiences with non-judgment and compassion - there is no one way to give birth or to parent, there is the way that you find works for you and your baby.
AND...there will be time before an epidural can be placed, or a spontaneous labor happens before a scheduled induction or Cesarean, and there will be sensations after birth when the body is recovering, when you will need to work with intense physical, mental or emotional experiences - this is where mindfulness can hold anything.
If if is your preference to plan for medical pain management and/or interventions, this class will support you!
We support the choices made by birthing people.
This is how we approach birth with from a mindful perspective, making space for all the ways babies come into the world and for all the ways families come into formation.
The term "natural birth" as it is commonly used sets up unrealistic expectations and false dichotomies.
We foster a class environment that is non-judgmental, compassionate and supportive of the unique experience of each pregnancy and parenting process.
In this way, we hope to shift the cultural expectations around what birth should actually be to expectations of respect and safety, empowerment and choice, with the birthing person at the center of this experience.
Partners are strongly encouraged to attend class – this may be a spouse, a family member, a friend or a doula.
However, a pregnant person is more than welcome to come on their own. An expectant parent needs to find their own inner resources to work with their body/mind during the labor and birthing process.
A birth partner will also have their own unique experience.
The skills learned in MBCP will be of benefit to all who will be present for the birth and primary caregivers for the newborn.
There are many ways to use the mind in childbirth - self-hypnosis, full body relaxation, breathing techniques are certainly some of the common exercises in other childbirth classes.
We are doing much more - to quote the Mindful Birthing Foundation:
Although the practices we learn in the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting course definitely teach us how to work with pain during birth, we can learn so much more. Mindfulness is about learning how to live fully in each moment. Through mindfulness we wake up to our lives as we live them, becoming more aware of our automatic reactions to life around us. We learn how we might make different choices, responding to the moments of our lives with greater clarity, kindness, patience and wisdom rather than automatically reacting to how things are. This is a life skill, one that we can call on not only for birth but as we parent. So much of parenting requires us to work with our children in the present moment, just as they are. The course prepares us for parenting and for living the birthing experience and life right now in all its fullness. As Nancy often says, “When your two year old is having a melt-down in the supermarket because you won’t buy him/her the candy bar at the check-out stand, you don’t need hypnosis, you need mindfulness!”
Claire has been trained in the MBCP curriculum, so she knows how to skillfully guide and support these practices with a trauma-sensitive approach and upholding ethical standards of practice. Read more about Claire's training and experience as an MBCP teacher here.
Whenever you are ready!
As a general guideline, finishing up class by the 36th week of pregnancy is recommended – as most babies arrive between 37-42 weeks.
For those looking to establish or deepen a mindfulness meditation practice throughout their pregnancy, or who have a lot of fear or anxiety around childbirth, or who are experiencing other stresses in their lives at home or at work, or who are experiencing other health factors impacting pregnancy, may find starting early in pregnancy to be helpful.
Many studies show that stress can be a contributing factor in a number of difficult pregnancy conditions, such as preterm labor or low birth weight. We are looking to mitigate the stress in your life through the tools of mindfulness.
I will be happy to speak with you about your particular situation and Estimated Due Date to find a group class or arrange private sessions that works with your schedule.
Yes, it is. So is being a parent.
Feel free to talk with Claire about the class schedule, expectations and invitations, and ways to make the time to prepare in this way for the big changes that lie ahead.
The 3-day Intensive focuses on birth education/preparation with an introduction to mindfulness practices and tools. It is a condensation of the first 6-weeks of the full 9-week course.
It is not possible to gain the depth of understanding of mindfulness, both its power and its potential for helping us in birthing, parenting and your lives right now in just a weekend. That understanding may begin to come over time with consistent home practice. It is also not possible in a weekend workshop to create the kind of friendships, connection and community that happens as people share experiences together over time, and we do the best we can with the time we share.
The workshop is designed for those who are unable to participate in the longer 9-week series, for whatever reason, or for those looking for just the introduction to mindfulness and emphasis on the birth experience.
If you have had a prior birth experience, either the 9-week or weekend workshop would be appropriate to support your preparations for this new baby.
There are so many ways to become a parent. Whether through surrogacy, adoption or other circumstances, if you are curious about bringing mindfulness into your parenting journey, I would love to support you. We can create private sessions and customize the curriculum to best suit your needs.