June 7th, 2009
Several fundamental differences make the BIRTHING FROM WITHIN ™ approach more than just another childbirth education method. This holistic approach to childbirth education was pioneered by Pam England who wrote the book by the same name. It is designed to be a complete childbirth mentoring class as well as a complementary class to any traditional childbirth education class.
All BIRTHING FROM WITHIN™ mentors believe in the philosophies and assumptions that are the cornerstones of this process. Some of the philosophies include the belief that childbirth is a profound rite of passage, not a medical event even when medical care is part of the birth.
The purpose of childbirth preparation is to prepare mothers to give birth-in-awareness, not to achieve a specific birth outcome because pregnancy and birth outcome are influenced by a variety of factors, and cannot be controlled by planning.
In order to help parents activate their coping resources, it is critical for childbirth classes to acknowledge that unexpected, unwelcome events may happen during labour. It is also fundamental that parents receive support for any birth option which might be right for them (whether it is drugs, technology, home birth, or bottle- feeding).
Pain is an inevitable part of childbirth, yet much can be done to ease suffering. Many proven pain-coping techniques are taught in order for parents to develop a pain coping mindset before labour begins. Pain coping techniques work best when integrated into daily life, rather than “dusted off” for labour therefore parents practice and master the techniques so when the need arises in labour they are comfortable and confident in using them.
Fathers help best as birth guardians or loving partners, not as coaches; they also need support and they have a class specially designed just for them so that they can get the information they need. This class is also important for life partners and other birth attendants or doulas.
For parents, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum is a time of continuous learning and adjustment; holistic support and education should be available throughout that period. Many topics aim at fleshing the pre-natal education so that childbirth preparation becomes also parent preparation.
A typical BFW childbirth class is divided into three parts: a multi-sensory activity, building a pain-coping mindset through BFW pain-coping practices and practical information. Classes do vary as content is mostly determined by parents’ individual needs and differences.
Typical information that is covered may include topics such as:
How to Birth in Awareness
Pregnancy, Labour and Birth Basics
Exploration through Birth Art
Coping and Accepting Unwished for Surprises
Challenging Cultural Assumptions
Father, Partner or Birth Companion Support Skills
Bonding, Feeding and Caring for Your New-born Baby
Postpartum Planning, Adapting and Healing
Nurturing Yourselves as a Family
Types of Classes that are offered:
6-Week series Weekend intensive Private classes Workshops
Mentoring for Moms
One on one mentoring is available in any of the following
- BFW topics
- How to feed your baby
- birth choices
Workshops on specific topics
We do a number of topics from the BFW menu as morning workshops. These are ideal for pregnant women as well as Doulas, nurses and midwives who want to get up to speed with some of the new and powerful ways of assisting pregnant women.
- Birth art – a means of exploring fears and worries
- Mythbusters 101 – debunking old wives tails
- Birth tiger safari – confronting your tigers-fears and finding ways to cope
- Birth in our culture – where are you coming from
- Birth stories – healing your birth trauma
- Walking the sacred path – rich interactive process using a labyrinth to understanding labour, birth and postpartum
- Pain coping practices – Building a pain coping mindset for birth and life
- Sacred women circles – honouring what our bodies have done and are about to do.
Courses for Parents
These are usually attended by the couples and this allows for some powerful issues to be dealt with in a nurturing and open environment. The group setting gives participants the option of sitting back a bit if it gets too intense and also listening to the similar and unexpected dreams and fears of others. The normal course that we run is either a weekday evening class or a Saturday morning class for 6 consecutive weeks. The course is a hands on class that works through the key points found in the BFW philosophy as well as many of the art and creative exercises that are used to draw out your own subconscious wisdom. Role-playing and many other techniques are used to search hidden issues and prepare to handle the unexpected.
There are some thought provoking videos with birth choices and labour drugs that are discussed.
There is also a session specifically designed for birth partners as they are intimately part of the birth and need to have their own individual fears and worries addressed. This father’s and birth companions group class is a wonderful opportunity for partners to get practical information and support for the upcoming event.
If you are wanting to train to become a BFW Mentor, then check out the latest information here about our First-Level BFW mentor program.