Scanning the internet looking for all the answers about birth has got you feeling like…fill in the blank. Getting prepared is kind of necessary, but how much of it can you reasonably wing? More importantly, what exactly are you gonna learn that you can’t get from a Bing search?
Yea, you’ll learn the stages and phases of labor. Yea, you’ll learn what happens in a Cesarean (or, rather, you should). Yea, you’ll also learn a little about breathing. But you’re looking for more, even if you aren’t quite sure what it is yet. There are three huge things that are important to learn in your birth class, and yet, they are so often neglected!
They are the “why”. It is totally true that you can Google it all and read “What to Expect” or “The Girlfriend’s Guide”.Books are invaluable resources. They give you tangible knowledge and can answer all of the “how” and “what” questions. The knowledge that you may not realize you seek, however, are the less tangible bits of info. The skills to integrate the knowledge.
Here’s why you’re looking for a birth class. The 3 most important things you’ll learn in a birth class.
1.) Communication skills. In order for you to feel heard, it’s important that you understand and can speak the same language as your birth team. Is it the fairest? No. After all, everyone should be hearing you no matter what, but in real life, it doesn’t always work that way. The ability to effectively communicate with your doctors and nurses is pivotal. When you can talk to each other with understanding, you are more likely to be heard and respected.
2.) Decision-making skills. Informed consent is important, but what does it mean? It means that you are communicating with your team (see above) and determining your course of care with the given recommendations and with your goals in mind. Discernment and compromise are important skills, particularly when it comes to pretty huge life events. Making decisions goes beyond simple pros/cons lists and is a nuanced process. Mindfulness-based judgments of one’s entire self and the process can vastly improve your confidence in making difficult (and easy!) decisions.
3.) Flexibility/adaptability. Things change in an instant. That’s why it is important to be able to go with the flow. It’s absolutely possible to have specific goals in mind, and still remain flexible enough that those goals are not so impenetrable to shifts should nature dictate. This is also why learning about all the ways to birth and parent are important! After all, you are taking a class to learn. What a disservice it would be to not learn of all the different ways to do something!
Of course you’ll learn about the biology of birth, how to get comfortable, etc. but the 3 most important things you’ll learn in a birth class are how to effectively communicate, how to make decisions mindfully, and how to remain flexible!