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The One Minute Childbirth Education Class

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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