What do immunizations have to do with learning about preparing for labor and birth?
Uh…Not Much! Maybe Nothing!
Here is a question I get in every childbirth class, “Are you going to go over vaccinations?” My answer every time, “ No, this is The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth, not the Bradley Method of Vaccinations.”
That might seem like a bit of a “snarky” answer but I try to deliver my message with kindness and humor. I know next to nothing about immunizations pros or cons, risks or benefits. I am not about to give my opinion about that touchy subject in my childbirth class. TRIGGER ALERT! Lately, especially in California, this subject triggers strong and sometimes ugly emotions. But just like all the other issues that come up, I have a plethora of educational resources, professionals to refer to, links, and book titles I am happy to pass along to my expecting parents. Just because I give resources and information doesn’t mean I am taking a stand on any issue or problem. I’m just giving information. That is all.
Trigger Alert! Does Your Reaction Seem Rational?
Well, I’m a bit upset, frustrated today, and I may just need to vent. I just had an expecting couple quit my Bradley Method class because they said by handing out immunization information (which had both anti-vaccine, delayed vaccine, and pro-vaccine information in it) that I was in fact promoting the anti-vaccine issue. I completely and totally disagree! I didn’t teach anything on the subject. I didn’t make a statement about my feelings on the subject. I gave resources and information on both sides of the issue. That is all. I feel strongly that all sides of an issue need to be presented. Some parents will decide to have a natural birth and breastfeed and vaccinate or not vaccinate. Some will go completely the opposite way. I am here to support them whether I agree with them or not.
Why would a couple choose to quit a class based on an issue that has nothing to do with learning about the birth? It’s the epitome of cutting off your nose to spite your face. I find when experiences similar to this arise, there are other issues. It may just be easier to blame me than to deal with the real issue. Hearing information that is different from what you have always believed to be true, or factual, can be very threatening and a little scary. I’ve seen it so many times in the 20 years I’ve been teaching childbirth classes. Parents who work through their fears almost always end up with amazingly positive birth experiences, no matter the outcome. See Isabella’s birth story
Even a Cesarean birth or a medicated birth can be an amazingly powerful and positive experience, just as wonderful as a natural birth.
People spend 22+ hours in my Bradley Method Natural Childbirth classes preparing their emotions, their heads and hearts, and their bodies for the amazing process of birth. The kind of couple who signs up for Bradley Method classes has done some homework, is understandably a little scared (totally normal) about the impending birth, but they are committed to creating the safest, healthiest birth possible for their child. There are no guarantees. When it comes to labor and birth, there is always one thing you can count on – THE UNEXPECTED! These couples want to learn, and once they get started, they really tend to get into the whole concept of safe, healthy, natural birth.
That said, my goal is for parents to gather all the information and decide for themselves what kind of birth they want to have. They should not look to me to tell them what they should do. They should look to me for education, resources, and information. Then they should investigate, ask questions, read, and come to their own conclusions. They should only look to themselves and decide with their care providers what is best for the mom and the baby.
So, do your homework. What kind of class is right for you? Hospital class? Bradley Method, Birthing From Within? Lamaze? Hypnobabies? What resonates with you?
Start your childbirth class in your 5th or 6th month of pregnancy.
Expect to hear or read things you may not necessarily agree with or that are different than what you thought to be true. That’s okay!
Take what you want and what works for you and have fun!
Do the best you can for your baby and yourself. That’s all you can do.
“Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou