If I were asked to choose one word summarizing the role of a Childbirth Educator, this is the word I would choose. Impact.
Installing confidence in new parents as they make plans and transitions towards becoming a family is one of the highlights of a Childbirth Educators career. In this role a educator is able to work alongside their clients to help them mitigate the choices and challenges they may face in labour, birth and early parenting. A Childbirth Educator has the opportunity to provide clear, well-researched, and relevant information that impacts a new family’s life in perpetuity. Wow. How awesome is that?!
Childbirth Educators bring a diverse skill set to their courses, which benefits their prenatal course registrants. Not all of our skills and experiences are the same, and one does not necessarily need to be a parent to become a fantastic Childbirth Educator. A passion for birth and parenting, research-oriented initiative, and drive are all qualities that successful Childbirth Educators possess. Do you love teaching? Awesome! Do you love people? Even better! Do you have a passion for birth and parenting related topics? Perfect!
I use to be obsessed with the show “Mythbusters.” There was something so gratifying in gambling on whether a myth would be busted or ratified. Challenging myths and exploring evidence-based opportunities available to new parents is a big part of a Childbirth Educators role in the classroom. We are the “mythbusters” of the modern-day childbirthing world who breakdown the walls of conformity between accepted and expected. Ooooo... I sense a t-shirt tagline in the making!
Name one other profession in the world that can get 10+ adults giggling simultaneously over topics like mucous plugs, leaky breasts, and sphincters. None! Childbirth Educators take the uncomfortable and make it cheerful. We replace fear of childbirth with fun and fact. We normalize the not-talked-about, we expose the eclipsed, clear up the cryptic.... And we can teach people all sorts of wonderfully fun positions for pushing a baby out too!
Deciding to certify as a Childbirth Educator diversifies and developments your skills in pedagogical communication, research methods, lesson planning, marketing, business practices and much more. A well developed CBE program will boost your confidence AND set you on the right path towards registering those first few families. It is a commitment that qualifies you to take your passion for birth and parenting and transform it into a journey of a lifelong career. A career with tremendous reward. A career with tremendous impact.
Being a birth worker is such rewarding work. Unfortunately we live in reality where every birth is not a joyous, momentous celebratory event. There are down sides to being a birth worker, emotionally connected to the clients we serve. And today I'm going to touch on one of the real sides of being a birth doula.
I'm not very good with knowing the date. I'm not sure if it's because I'm usually working on things in my calendar that are days or weeks ahead, or if being self employed just means I'm not looking at the calendar in the same way I did when I went to an office job each day, but regardless, I very rarely know what TODAY is unless I look it up. This means sometimes I miss important dates unintentionally (sorry Mom!!). And when you have attended many births over the course of time, it does become pretty hard to remember all the dates of birth for your clients, no matter how much you would like to. Especially in instances where the birth is longer, spanning one or more days. But I digress......
Sometimes, regardless of knowing the actual date, I have a nagging feeling that "today" is significant. A date forever etched in my mind. Last week was one of those times.
Four years ago I supported a couple through the birth of their child. Only the birth was also the death. There wasn't a rhyme or reason. One day things were going great and the next day my client was not feeling movements, went to the doctor and it was confirmed that at 36 weeks gestation their child had passed away.
Its not easy to be a doula all the time, but especially under tragic circumstances. Supporting a healthy mom, who wanted to have an unmedicated birth and watching her go through the painful experience of an induced birth knowing that at the end she would not be able to take her baby home with her, instead she would be planning a funeral once he was born. Sitting alongside her amazing partner through the long process, both of us talking to her about the benefits of using medical interventions in this situation, even knowing that her birth plan didn't include these options because of the potential risks to babe, but since babe was not at risk............what interventions were best for her to get through this ordeal? Remembering that a fetal heart monitor wasn't being used because there wasn't a fetal heart rate to monitor. Navigating with family members who were also grieving and wanted to be with their daughter (sister, niece...).
That day will forever be etched in my mind and on my heart. I tried my best to be strong for that couple, but their strength surpassed us all and I learned so much from them through the experience. I grew, learned and changed that day. And no matter how emotional and difficult, I wouldn't trade it for the world. The one thing about being a doula is that it is a career of love and passion. It's a heart-centered service. And whether that results only in supporting a couple through life, or periodically means supporting them through death, the support is given through the love you build for your clients.
I had the pleasure of working with these clients again. And helping them greet their daughter into this world. That bright beautiful being just turned 3 and brings them so much joy. But their son will always be a shining reminder of strength we all hold within.
I love being an instructor and helping others fulfill their dreams of working with people through birth or postpartum, but I know that sometimes as an instructor I forget to share the full picture of what this work means. The quiet side of the role we sometimes are required to play when we support a loss instead of a birth. But it's important we talk about this side of our work too! It's not always joy and celebration.
But it is always rewarding.
We are so honored to have Shaunacy King from Peterborough, co-owner of Glow Maternity, join our team and work to help make our Childbirth Educator program as fabulous as our other programs (Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula).
With a background in academia, Shaunacy is driven by an evidence based approach to educating and assisting expectant and new parents. “My background in social research naturally drives me towards approaching birth and parenting from a perspective of advocacy. Meaning, I strongly feel that each family should receive all of the facts that will lead to their best birth and birthing ‘their own way’.” And this philosophy is what makes her such a great inspiration to our CBE students. She wants each of YOUR families to be empowered too!
But is it worth it for you to become a Childbirth Educator? Have a look below at this great visual display of the benefits of receiving certification, especially if you are already a birth or postpartum doula. As a Childbirth Educator you are in a great position to gain clients after they have already made a personal connection with you during their CBE class. If you are not looking to be a Birth or Postpartum Doula, you could set your business up to work closely with those professionals in your community and network together to help increase each others businesses.
Yes, our Childbirth Educator training is intense. But that is what makes it well worth it in the end for you to be the BEST business professional you can be :)
Why would someone choose to become a Childbirth Educator? Some of the reasons are:
* they have a passion for birth, parenting, helping, empowering or all of these!
* their family life would benefit from the fixed schedule a Childbirth Educator over the variable schedule of a birth doula
* they want to offer a diverse perspective on birth in their community
In class trainings are being offered throughout Ontario in 2015 and will extend to other provinces in Canada in 2016. Use the link below to register for one of these sessions and start your certification journey as a Childbirth Educator today!
Interested in sharing your thoughts on the Doula Canada page?