by Keri Samuelson
In this day and age, encountering young mothers is common. With so many of our daughters fitting into this category, updating the ways we educate these expectant mothers should be a top priority. Young people may think they can handle everything on their own, but the truth is that they may still need to learn the basics when it comes to childbirth. They need to know what to expect and how to react. Here’s my take on how to tackle the experience:
Update The Imagery
We have many tools at our fingertips, but some of them require a bit of updating. For instance, it’s imperative to revamp the video and online databases that we frequently employ in hospitals, high school classrooms and the like. Young people today simply do not relate to the characters depicted in movies from the 80s or 90s. They want to see people they can relate to experiencing what they themselves are about to. Do yourself a favor – avoid these outdated resources, and make suggestions to libraries or clinics that still use them.
The Whole Truth
Tell girls the truth – this will need to encompass more than just some action shots of women giving birth. If you are for instance sponsoring a program for expectant mothers, invite women who have recently given birth, and have them detail everything from the beginning to the end of the laboring process. This way, mothers-to-be will have fewer surprises in tow. Also, make sure there is time for questions, and be sure to allow questions to be asked confidentially (on slips of paper, for instance, that you collect and read without announcing the asker), so that the session is truly as relevant as possible.
Show them that birth is unlikely to be like the shows they watch on television or the movies that they have seen. It sometimes can take many, many hours. It can be exhausting and might be very painful, but it is also very normal and usually safe.
Celebrity Guest Spots
Information is a wonderful tool, but the presenter of this information is what can make or break its effectiveness. In this day and age, celebrities are given the floor more than medical professionals, and so it can be a wise decision to have celebrity mothers give their own testimonies of and their experience. Obviously, not everyone has access to a celebrity, so perform simple Google searches for celebrities you know of that your clients might identify with, and see what they have to say about motherhood on their website, or in interviews. If this still doesn’t work, look for local superstars whom you know have given birth – athletes, state officials, teachers, etc. that you know your young clients will look up to and listen to.
These are, of course, just a few ideas for making childbirth education a little more relatable to youth that are expecting a child. It begins with accurate information, presented by someone who they feel they can trust, and delivered in a manner that doesn’t sugar coat the process either.