I took a really nice childbirth education class before I had my daughter. It was incredibly helpful for labor discomfort, understanding common medical interventions, and the actual physical act of birth. But while all that was great, the only mention of postpartum was that I should snuggle my baby and lay around for 2 weeks after birth… (And to be honest, as a very active pregnant woman, this sounded like my worst nightmare).
And so when those first two weeks postpartum were up, and I was still exhausted emotionally and physically from birth and caring for this sweet tiny human, I didn’t know what to do. I didn't know what I needed. And I didn’t know who to call or if I even needed to call someone. I felt isolated.
That’s why when I became the Regional Director for BIRTHFIT NE Portland, I was incredibly excited to read the curriculum for our Prenatal Series, our childbirth education class. The materials don’t end at a beautiful baby being born, but continues on through that postpartum time to help parents navigate what that postpartum may look like, what resources may be needed, and tips and tricks to support each other during a physically and emotionally taxing time.
Simply preparing for birth and not postpartum is like only preparing for a wedding and not marriage.
Birth, like a wedding, is one day (okay one day ish). But postpartum is forever. We need to prepare our minds, bodies and relationships for the big life change that comes with parenthood.
Top 5 Reasons You Need to Take the BIRTHFIT Prenatal Series
- Identify your birth preferences in a judgement free zone.
This will look different for everyone and that is A OKAY! There is no wrong way or better way to birth a baby. No one way makes you more womanly or worthy of love and respect. There is no easy way to birth a tiny human. This class is here to help you understand the benefits and risks behind common procedures and different birthing practices, and to feel supported and empowered in your decisions.
- Role play different birth scenarios.
In this class, we create a birth preference sheet rather than a birth plan, because so much of birth is surrendering to the unknown. The universe has this tricky way of throwing curveballs our direction at any moment. As my father would say “Inspect what you expect.” Meaning: have a game plan if everything goes the opposite of how you thought it would. You and your partner will discuss different unexpected birth scenarios like breech baby, extended labor, fatigue, unplanned c-sections etc. and talk through these tricky situations NOW rather than in the moment. This will help you navigate the unknown in a calm, mindful manner, rather than from a place of panic and fear.
- Address fears together.
Pregnancy, birth and parenting changes your body, your mind and your relationships. Whether this is your first or fifteenth pregnancy, it is important to connect with your partner and yourself to identify and address fears and anxiety around labor, birth, and the motherhood transition. We work to establish a mindset shift around these fears, identify common desires, and establish a plan to move forward from a place of love and support rather than fear.
- Create a postpartum plan and support system.
Together with your partner, you’ll identify priorities during the different phases of the first year postpartum from recovery to rehabilitation to rebuilding. These priorities will shift and change and may include sleep, bonding, and nourishment to support groups, mindful movement, and strength building as time progresses. You’ll draft a support team for both partners with allies who can be there to listen, but not always try to fix problems, identify spaces you may need assistance (like with pets, grocery shopping, or house cleaning), and discuss how and when to reach out for more help, emotionally or physically.
- Learn how to navigate your new normal while making time for yourself and your relationships.
This is my favorite part of this class. Seriously. A new baby means relationship dynamics change, identities shift, and priorities are altered. In this class, we’ll discuss tactics for making your relationships center around more than your baby’s eating and pooping schedules, help you establish your sense of self in a new parenting role, as well as how and why to prioritize some alone time and time dedicated to you and your partner. You and your partner will also strategize ways to make this realistic… Not everyone has grandparents around the corner to watch baby for date nights!
Ah typing this out makes me even more excited to teach this class and I hope you’re pumped too!