Tag Archive | childbirth educators

Why I do what I do…

I was feeling a little nostalgic this evening going through my childbirth education training manual. My original certifying organization, ALACE, is undergoing some reorganization and a “rebirth” into two new organizations. So, I was thinking back to my beginnings with the program and how excited I was about it and what an absolutely perfect match it was for me philosophically. I came across this section in the beginning part of the manual and thought about how perfectly it sums up why I do what I do. It also sums up the attitude and perspective that drew me so strongly to ALACE in the first place:

“Do you ever wonder why you are drawn to childbirth education when there are so many other pressing environmental/social/political causes clamoring for your devoted service? Perhaps you already see how our work is related to many other forms of activism. Cultivating respect for the mother and the process of birth is part of the larger process of understanding the interdependent patterns of nature…Giving birth, knowing you have done it yourself, your way, is a rebellious act in our technocratic society. In an age that promises to fix technology’s side effects with more technology, it is an act of faith in nature, and in oneself. The people who choose this route are often the same people whose hope for the future inspires them to work for a better world, not just for themselves, but for everyone.”

A self-determined birth is a potent symbol of womanly power, of human courage, of loving compassion, even of ecological holism. It may look like childbirth educators are just showing charts and teaching relaxation, but we are also helping to create a gentle atmosphere in which personal and cultural transformation can take place.” (emphasis mine)

Empowering Women, Transforming Birth

ALACE lady

Timing Poem

I recently finished reading Teaching Natural Birth. In it, the author shares a poem called Timing, by Anne Clark. I haven’t read it anywhere else and a google search didn’t turn it up, so I wanted to share it here. I especially liked the closing paragraph.


by Anne Clark

Some people live life at fast and furious rates.

It’s the fast-food burger, the instant photo, the 12-hour birth.

Some thoughts that life, children and birth cannot be hurried:

A baby’s needs and wants are the same.

Meet the cries for dependence in a toddler, and a year later you’ll rarely have him on your lap.

Push him from your breast, out of your bed before he’s ready, and as an adult he’ll be on your lap, or worse, lost.

Some thoughts when my first couple asked me to provide labor support:

I should have paid them for the experience.

Hours of labor; a tender soul slow to yield to the pressure of insistence; a novice support person petrified by the intensity of it all; a center in myself created for the needs of this mother and father and baby.

To the mother, gently suggested, no rush, you’re fine, feel your baby, he’s strong. Let him come.

Mothers deliver their own babies.

My waiting hands caught him, a living, flowing, glistening sunbeam.

Forever hooked on Birth.

And from that day determined to give up anything instant (the hamburgers were agony.)

Delivery is drugged, controlled, guilt producing, hurried.

Birth is natural, forgiving, unhurried.

As a teacher of natural childbirth I try to teach the difference between Birth and delivery. Any woman can be delivered of her baby. It is up to us, the natural childbirth educators, to elicit the deep-down birthing knowledge that every woman possesses and to enourage patience in a natural process that, like life and children, cannot be hurried.