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Washington, DC, 20003
United States

Intuitive Parenting offers evidence-based breastfeeding, childbirth, and parenting education for both expecting and new parents in a comfortable home setting located in Capital Hill, Washington DC.

Blog

Why I teach Your Birth Experience

Kimberly Hawley

There are so many wonderful approaches to childbirth education available to expecting parents. This is both a blessing, as different people will click with different philosophies, and a struggle, as it can be overwhelming to sort through them all.

So where does Your Birth Experience fit into this array of options, and what makes it different?

Before I answer this question, I think some personal background will help.

I wanted to teach childbirth classes long before I was pregnant for the first time. I was completely overwhelmed by the number of certifications, and eventually decided that I would wait until after I became a parent. But after planning for a birth center birth and ending up with a cesarean for a last-minute breach baby, I found that the certifications I had previously liked no longer felt right. I had learned firsthand the importance of preparation and flexibility, but also the complexity and unpredictability of birth.

I wanted an approach to childbirth education that helped define birth in more than just the outcome or what interventions were used. I wanted to educate parents with factual information, to reduce fear, but also to give them positive elements that would transcend the parts of birth that are out of our control.

Pregnant women in class Washington DC childbirth education

When a friend showed me the Your Birth Experience (YBE) certification, I started to get excited. Here was everything I’d been looking for in birth education.

  • Evidence-based information
  • Awareness of bias in how educators present information
  • Reducing fear
  • A curriculum that could be customized to prepare a pregnant person planning a homebirth just as well as a pregnant person planning a hospital birth with an epidural.
  • An emphasis on informed decision-making and active participation in birth
  • Encouraging ownership of whatever the “right” decisions are for you, the pregnant person
  • A curriculum that truly supported the fact that there is no “right “way to give birth. That the birthing person is an individual with unique needs and values that powerfully shape what a good, positive birth is for them.
  • And despite the fact that this last point is at the end of the list, it is one of the best, most important parts about YBE. In every YBE class, we spend time envisioning your ideal birth and exploring how your personality affects decision-making and communication in birth.

Why is this so powerful? Because walking you through this exercise takes you from your ideal birth, which almost no one actually gets, to a birth vision statement that can apply to births that go as planned and those that don’t. It helps you see elements of your good birth that can transcend birth stories and help you preserve important aspects of birth when things need to change. And by understanding the role of your personality in birth, you gain important tools and insight into what support you specifically need from your support team. Good support can often be the key to a positive experience.

Pregnant women in childbirth class Capitol Hill Childbirth Classes

I learned firsthand how framing birth this way can change how we think about birth. I did these exercises for myself last summer, around 8 months into my second pregnancy. We lost our daughter to stillbirth at term, and despite the trauma of the experience, I can honestly say it was a good birth. That may sound crazy, but separating the birth from our loss, it was a good birth. My birth vision statement and the insight that YBE gave me helped us move through the experience. Of course, the amazing support of our midwives, doula, and hospital staff helped as well.

YBE provides a way to integrate the ideal birth with the real birth you end up with. It helps you connect what you know about yourself with what you need in birth. It reduces fear and empowers you to advocate for yourself. And yes, it teaches you all the important stuff you need to know about labor stages, birth positions, interventions, and comfort measures.

If preparing for a positive birth with YBE sounds right for you, check out my childbirth classes (both group and private)!