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The One Minute Childbirth Education Class

By ceridwen |

Today on Facebook the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) asked its community members, “You have 60 seconds on an elevator with a pregnant woman. What do you tell her?”

The question is directed to a lot of childbirth educators and therefore seems to be asking us to narrow down our hours of advice and classes into a sixty second sound bite. But most of the answers they got are respectfully minimal along the lines of “I wouldn’t tell her anything unless she asks…” and “I would just smile at her.” One commenter wrote, “I usually tell pregnant women to ignore those sorts… of well-meaning info bombs.”

These are women who have been trained to work with pregnant women, after all. We have a lot to say but we also know there’s a time and a place. I would never say a word to a stranger in an elevator. Can you imagine? The idea of being stuck in a closed space with unsolicited advice–it’s bad enough getting advice in open fields and public courtyards.

But in the spirit of the what the underlying intention of this question probably is, a couple of teachers offered their soundbites: “Have confidence in your body and your brain.” And “get a doula.” I have a few quickies I throw out from time to time: “Stay home in early labor” is a recent favorite. Sometimes I say, “It hurts. But there are things you can do.” Sometimes I tell partners, “Don’t crack jokes during active labor.” But I can never really settle on a one-liner.

When I was pregnant for the first time a new mother once told me, “On day four you’ll hate your husband and wonder why you ever married him. But that feeling won’t last long.” It was actually one of the most helpful pieces of advice I got from anyone.

Have any of you been given or given a good one-liner on the meaning of it all: birth, baby, motherhood? I’d be curious to hear it.

photo: RobinsonsMay/Flickr

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About ceridwen



Ceridwen Morris is a writer, mother, and certified childbirth educator. She is the author of several books and screenplays, including (Three Rivers; 2007). She serves on the board of The Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York and teaches at Tribeca Parenting in New York City. Read bio and latest posts → Read Ceridwen's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “The One Minute Childbirth Education Class

  1. Danielle625 says:

    I know what you mean. As someone who just completed my training to become a childbirth educator, and will be sitting for my certification in the Spring, I would never give advice that wasn’t asked for. But when I get onto online forums such as cafemom, or places like that… and people ask, I always tell them…
    TAKE A CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION CLASS! Not one that the hospital offers either. I call those “good patient” classes.
    Take one that is independent, and informative.
    I wish I had with my first child!

  2. sarah says:

    “you can’t plan everything”. the longer and more explicit your birth plan, the more likely you are to encounter deviations from that plan. murphy’s law.

  3. Susan says:

    Remain flexible, take a good comprehensive childbirth class such as Bradley Reborn and go for it. You are brilliant and you and your baby know just what to do.

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