In a room full of mothers, saying the words ‘childbirth education’ can bring up a chorus of anecdotes about attending a weekend of learning, dozing off at hours of information, having their partners feel irrelevant or incompetent and covering only the basics.
But childbirth education needs to be reborn, to change and adapt to meet the needs of women – not just the needs of hospitals.
Around one third of first time Aussie mums feel traumatised from their birth experience. So accepted is this that we now have generations of women who think all birth is inevitably traumatic. Whilst many elements of pregnancy, labour and birth are unpredictable, this does not and should not equate to trauma. What can lead to birth trauma is not feeling safe or in control of your experiences.
It is about the language used in a birth space, the way a woman is made to feel, and the ability to make her own informed choices about her body and her baby.
This is where childbirth education is not just important, but essential. The role of childbirth education should be to take the fear out of birth, and make women and their partners feel prepared and excited. In a time where birth can feel overly medicalised and impersonal, childbirth education should be a space where midwives can support women becoming mothers – valuing one of the biggest transitions in their lives.
Introducing My Own Birth
We are Sarah and Tess and we founded My Own Birth, a private childbirth education experience. No two women, families, birth experiences or babies are the same, so we think childbirth education shouldn’t be either.
This model allows us to focus on the individual needs of the woman and her partner and allows us to explore topics in greater detail – passing on essential knowledge about pregnancy, labour, birth and at home with baby.