I am an independent childbirth educator. “Independent” in this case refers to me, not to a method of childbirth. I teach on my own, independent of any particular hospital. I am an autonomous educator and as such I teach accurate, evidence based, complete information–I tell the truth about birth, because I am free to tell it! I am employed by the individual pregnant women and their husbands or partners, not by any hospital or institution.
In a sense, I also facilitate your developing sense of yourself as an independent birth giver–supporting your ability to give birth under your own power, guided by your own ideas, based on your own plans, and under your own autonomy.
I am proudly associated with the Association of Independent Childbirth Educators who explain independent childbirth classes as follows:
“By far though one of the greatest contributors to restricting access to birth information is the typical seemingly benign hospital-based birth class. Women can be enticed by a one or two-day crash birth course in their local hospital because it’s conveniently located, is completed in far less time than a full coverage birth education series, and it offers economic incentive in the form of low cost if not free birth classes. Women are often unaware of the conflict of interest posed by receiving their birth information solely from the birth education resource at the hospital where they are birthing because that is where their careprovider is affiliated. Take a similar life stress event such as purchasing a home. The savvy consumer knows to engage their own realtor, choose an independent home inspector and an independent attorney. This consumer knows that they can limit their exposure to purchasing a moneypit by not falling victim to the conflict of interest provided by the referral links between realtor, inspector and attorney ~ they all want you to buy this home. How much more important than a real estate purchase is a mother and her baby’s care? Why surround oneself solely with people who believe birth is a disaster waiting to happen?”
I originally certified by ALACE (now with CAPPA and ICEA) and they have the following perspective on independent birth education:
“How are ALACE independent childbirth classes different from hospital classes? Many parents find that independent classes stress parental choice instead of presenting hospital policy. Independent teachers are usually better able to give an objective view of the complex issues and choices to make during birth.
Whether you attend classes in a hospital or with an independent teacher, the important thing is that you understand that you have choices throughout labor and birth, and that you feel empowered to make the choices which are best for you and your family.”