Childbirth education is unfortunately a one size fits all approach these days – often with an emphasis on common sense & promises attached: a better birth, a smarter birth, an orgasmic birth, a calm birth, a gentle birth, etc. Yet, no two births are alike – literally – and there’s no one way or right way to birth your baby. There’s also nothing more synonymous with the status quo than empty promises & the tenor of common sense. And, the status quo when it comes to birth & parenting today isn’t working. People’s dissatisfaction with their birth is on the rise and this is the first generation in the U.S. that faces a higher risk of maternal mortality than their mothers did a generation ago. Yes, you read that right – things are actually getting worse – not better for birthing people today. A one size fits all approach can great make promises to you, and be chockfull of great info — but rarely do they actually help you when it’s game time. Moreover, what often makes common sense doesn’t actually make birth sense. In today’s overwhelming Parenting Industrial Complex, the presumption is common sense works & if you have the right information you’ll have the birth you want. The problem with this is that information doesn’t actually change anything especially in the context of common sense – but skills do. Skills are key because too much content can actually shut down your brain’s learning capacity and teach you to override your own instincts & awareness – which you need to give birth!
So, here’s the deal: birth happens in your body, and so you need to use your body to learn about how to give birth in childbirth ed. That means you’ll need to get out of your head and into your body and then find a way to get your mind and body to work together. That process needs to start in childbirth ed class – and that’s why we created Birth Sense.
At Birth Sense, our work is inspired by the Paula Method and we bring together the best of Lamaze, Birthing From Within & Conscious Parenting into highly engaging, hands-on classes that fully engage mind, body & soul in preparation for the birthing and parenting journey. We teach you the hands-on skills you actually need to attune to your body’s unique needs. We give you plenty of curated information too and as trained educators, we actually know how to teach it to you rather than deliver it to you in a lecture, demo or discussion (blah…boring! AND proven to not be as effective as experiential learning). We buck common sense when it doesn’t actually make sense. And, we don’t believe childbirth preparation is a one size fits all process, rather: the essence of childbirth preparation is learning to work with your body’s instinct to birth your baby, and that is a very individualized process. Most of the programs that teach a certain type of birth or promise a birth outcome are missing some key information about the bioindividuality of physiologic birth & why some births don’t go the way you planned. Now don’t get us wrong, we’re on board for you to have the best and most positive birthing outcome possible – we just don’t think promising you a certain outcome will help you. We want you to prepare for the unknowable journey of birth & parenthood – to have the best possible outcome you can have, and hopefully an enjoyable one too. The only promise we make to you is that you will actually learn. And, we stand by that promise with our money back guarantee – if you don’t learn, you get your money back. We put our money where our mouth is.
We make sure you actually learn.
Teaching and learning is our strong suit. We have designed the course based on the most effective teaching styles and methods so you don’t get bored and you’ll actually recall what you learned when you most need to. Unlike most childbirth classes, ours are not content dumps and we don’t rely on passive methods (demos, discussions and lectures) to teach you because the research is abundantly clear: those methods are not as effective as hands on, active learning processes. Moreover, passive methods ask you and your instincts to take a backseat in the class – similar to the same oppressive dynamic that can occur in a birthing room, which we all want to avoid. The troubling underlying assumption in classes run passively is the notion that you need to be instructed each step of the way to give birth, rather than making space for you to bring your whole self to the process as you will need to when you actually give birth. Learning passively can easily mislead you – making you feel more prepared than you really are, and giving you a sense that the locus of your control is farther outside of yourself than it really is because you’ve been asked to check yourself out of the process and the focus on knowledge solely external to you rather than within you.
Our classes keep you & all that you bring to the table at the forefront of the experience, giving you the opportunity to learn in a way that’s integrated. Each class includes movement and activities to learn directly through experience and apply what you’re learning. We engage you fully in the learning process – your intellect, critical thinking skills and analytical skills will be activated along with your somatic, instinctual and intuitive sense. In a dynamic and engaging format, we teach you the content and skills you’ll need. In fact, we stand by the efficacy of our approach and guarantee you’ll retain key information or your money back.* Our founder has a Masters of Science in Education with over 10 years of experience teaching and training teachers – she is also dual certified as a Childbirth Educator.
We help you navigate the unknown.
We scour scientific research and evidence so that you don’t have to and we can give you the most up to date information. We connect this evidence to the latest in biopsychosocial approaches by offering a range of perspectives from embryological to cross-cultural and historical. We believe evidence is critical and yet evidence-based information is inherently limited – often oppressive – and your decisions shouldn’t be subject to the research latest trends. Because birth is synonymous with the unknown, decision making when it comes to birth requires far more than knowledge of evidence and information. It takes real grit and skill and many ways of knowing to navigate the unknown. Your experience will be uniquely yours as you navigate your birth, we help you become smart and intuitive in your decisions.
We help you thrive.
It’s no secret that pregnancy, birth and early parenthood are rewarding and challenging. You will find yourself doing things you never thought were possible. Even when you feel your worst, you will become a better version of yourself. There is a continuous process of change that occurs from pregnancy to birth and postpartum connected to not only your reproductive health but also your overall wellbeing + that of your family’s. We help you build a reservoir of knowledge and resiliency skills so you can build a foundation of wellness that lasts for years to come.
We get the bigger picture.
From pre-conception to postpartum, becoming a parent is a deep journey. We believe raising a human being today requires more skill and awareness than ever before and we’re here to help you. Our goal is not just to help you have a better birth but to also hold space for your process of becoming a parent from the inside out. Our curriculum includes the most comprehensive conscious parenting tools available so that you can have an integrated experience – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
We’re raising the bar.
Childbirth education is only one part of your childbirth preparation and it’s going to take more than 1 class to prepare you. That’s why our offerings extend beyond the traditional scope, we provide you with more tools and sophisticated information in a safe space that you’ll be able to apply to any situation that might come your way. To do this, we spend more time with you in our classes than the average class and go deeper than the average class. Beyond our childbirth education classes, we offer infant CPR, infant massage and sibling prep & more. We’ve got you covered. We walk the talk given the many larger initiatives we are engaged in with our partners and affiliates to advance maternal fetal health – we’re not just invested in your individual outcomes, we’re also invested in better public health outcomes.
We’re looking out for you.
Giving birth today is high stakes, especially with the current pandemic, rise in poor maternal and fetal health outcomes and polarizing culture. These issues come many challenges and risks – including an increased prevalence of birth trauma. We believe that everyone has the right to a trauma-free and cherished birth experience, and we believe people should be supported in many more ways than they are currently. Our curriculum is oriented around trauma reduction and building resiliency skills. While we want the best for everyone, statistically we know that sadly some people will experience trauma and we want everyone to have the resources to work through challenging experiences because believe everyone has the capacity for resilience.
The 7 Birth Sense Pillars
Each of us can cultivate birth sense.
We are all born into being. All of us have an experience of birth that lives inside of us through our implicit memory. In addition, we all pick up information about birth throughout our lives even if it’s limited – in our culture, families, in the media etc. Cultivating birth sense is an inquiry into what lives within us and around us when it comes to birth and how we can distinguish what’s true about birth vs. where we’ve been mislead by common sense. Birth follows its own rationale and logic – quite different sometimes from common sense notions. This is one of the keys to your resiliency because 1. you can clear the way to experience birth from a place of strength, clarity, compassion and understanding rather than fear, resentment and failure. Unchecked assumptions, black or white thinking or common sense thinking can leave us less resilient. 2. Cultivating an instinctual and intuitive sense about birth that’s not shrouded in myth and false promises but rather is grounded in your embodiment will prepare you for the essence of childbirth – and working with awareness and instinct.
Birth is a whole brain & whole body experience.
Birth doesn’t take place in the intellect. It’s your entire being gives birth – and as such, your entire body and your entire brain are engaged in the process. Birth is a physiological experience as much as it is psychological, social and cultural experience. That’s why our curriculum is not only rooted in the science of birth physiology but also in the entire the psychosocial and cultural experience of birth.
Birth is the full spectrum.
Whether you have a vaginal or cesarean birth, you have given birth. If you conceived naturally or through IVF, your pregnancy and birth are just as valid. There is a full spectrum of people who birth and ways that they birth. There is no one right way to birth your baby and there is a wide range of normal. Moreover, each birth is unique – and each individual will experience birth differently. Similarly, preparation for birth is a highly individualized process. There are no one size fits all approaches. We offer a range of classes to reflect this full spectrum.
Birth is an everyday experience.
Since the 20th century when birth became more medicalized, birth has become less and less a part of our everyday experience making it not only less of a normal, familiar experience to people but also negating its significance in our day to day experiences. The hyper medicalization of birth has contributed to this disconnect in that fewer people understand the normal physiology of childbirth, the full spectrum of experiences, the unknown nature of birth as well as the possibility that birth is something you can cope with and face without fear. We help you understand birth as a normal occurrence in the context of normal physiology, history & your everyday life – whether you are having a home or a hospital birth.
Birth is synonymous with the unknown.
Despite all that we know today, there’s still much that we don’t know about birth. There is far too much individuality and variability in the experience to ever be able to predict what you will experience. By that same token, there’s no way to plan one type of birth. You can plan for birth, and plan in a way that prepares you to navigate the unknown – and positions you for the type of birth you want to have. That’s what we’re here to help you with.
People don’t birth, cultures do.
We don’t give birth in a vacuum. The systems and structures in our world influence birth – and our experiences are a microcosm of the macrocosm. Whether we look at the history of obstetrics & gynecology in the U.S. or current issues of medical sexism and gender inequalities which impact the medical care of women and children, there is no part of our experience untouched by cultural influence. We give birth in the context of larger cultural and societal norms, environment and beliefs As Kimberly Seals Allers says, “people don’t breastfeed, cultures do.” And, as Yuval Noah Harari so aptly puts it: “Biology enables, culture forbids. Biology is willing to tolerate a very wide spectrum of possibilities. It’s culture that obliges people to realize some possibilities while forbidding others.”