I refer to my approach to childbirth education as “woman-centered.” Why? I believe woman-centered birth supports normal birth. The two are inextricably linked. According to the Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators, “woman-centered childbirth recognizes the primary role of the mother, and allows labor to progress according to the mother’s natural rhythms.” As an ALACE trained educator, I stress the importance of respecting the mother’s instincts and choices about how to give birth, including positions for labor and birth, comfort measures, and choice of caregivers and support. My goal is to help women reclaim trust in their bodies inherent abilities to give birth in a safe and unhindered manner.
This does not mean there is not a role for the father in birth or that I do not value the role of fathers. A father most definitely goes through a “birth” of his own–into fatherhood–and the psychological growth he experiences is significant. He also experiences fears and changes as he prepares to meet his baby and is of significant importance during labor and birth in his irreplaceable role of loving and supporting the mother of his baby. My beliefs about birth are underscored by the feeling that the mother is of central importance in the process of birth and that respecting birth as a woman-centered and woman-directed passage is the healthiest, safest, and best way for babies (and therefore, families!) to be born.