Google Isn't Your Birth Class
It is a wonderful tool, but Google isn't your birth class. Even for the brightest and best researchers out there, it just isn't a replacement for an engaging course based on a solid curriculum. After a few years teaching, we have realized that many people know this deep-down, but it almost seems a travesty to "waste" a perfectly good internet buffet of facts. I mean, we are in the 21st century! If we can't Google "how to have a baby" and become scholars, then what good is it for anyway? Amirite?
You get a lot of nonsense
The thing about trying to learn about birth through a conglomeration of internet searches is you get a veritable mixed bag of good advice, half-truths, and utter nonsense. For every evidence-based piece of knowledge, there are at least a dozen more quack pieces. One too many exhausted parents have enthusiastically written unhelpful editorials. Their experiences are valid and make for funny reading, but are often exaggerated and therefore they only show the downsides of having a baby. It is simply very difficult to prepare for birth, or having a baby, or learning how to get sleep after baby by using Google. That's not to say that our favorite search engine can't be a good starting point though, but it takes a ton of work to filter it all.
You get a lot of contradictions
Because you can pull up so much information, you may get a few vital questions answered. But then, the answers begin to contradict one another. Now, your head is spinning. "When should I leave for the hospital?" makes you think that you should leave now. "What do contractions feel like?" gives you a murky idea of "waves". "Exactly, how painful is labor?" guarantees it's torture . It may be, but that's neither here nor there! Our favorite, ”can I just choose a Cesarean?”. Google tells you nothing definitively.
Google doesn't know you
Most importantly, the world wide web doesn't know you. I mean, it knows your favorite takeout, what's on your Amazon registry, and where you make your after-work detours. Ok, that is impressive, but it doesn't know what you want for your birth or parenting experience. You aren't quite sure yet! That's why you talk to people! You want to know about what giving birth is like and what newborns do. But maybe you don't have a strategy for finding that out in a way that's accurate and that reflects your values. Unfortunately, you can't quite get that one-on-one experience that demands a human connection from your browser.
A birth class not only answers all of your birth and parenting questions, it helps you formulate the questions. It helps you figure out what is important to you. It helps you learn ways to make decisions, communicate with your doctor, and cope with the twists and turns in birth. A great birth class gives you tools for dealing with pain in birth. It prepares you for what's happening and what's to come. You learn what's true and what's myth and where to find scientifically-backed resources. On top of it all, you build a relationship with your educator. You trust them to give it to you straight and to assist you in your journey with compassion and joy. After all, you're gonna need your teacher for after baby comes because they are the expert in newborn and parenting education too! Or at least, they ought to be!