F.A.Q.s (Frequently Asked Questions)
In addition to learning mindfulness practices, what childbirth education is covered in the course?
We cover the same topics that are covered in childbirth preparation classes, such as the physiology of labor, comfort techniques and positions to facilitate labor and birth, breastfeeding and early parenting. In addition, we spend considerable time learning how to engage the mind to work with pain, in order to use inner resources in labor. This is a unique childbirth education course in that it teaches skills that are not only beneficial for labor, but for parenting and life in general.
How much meditation will we do?
Mindfulness exercises are simple, but not easy. We learn a variety of meditation skills and practice them during each class. The couple makes a commitment to practice at home with the CDs given out in the class.
Does my partner also learn the meditation practices?
Yes, partners also learn the mindfulness practices. They, too, will have a birthing experience and the practices can be of great benefit in helping you deal with the challenges of birth and will greatly benefit them (and you) in your new role as parents. Many partners say that, while their original purpose in taking the course was to learn how to support their partner, they also learned something extremely valuable for themselves – both for their private and professional lives. They often report being very calm during labor and birth and are thrilled that they are truly able to help their wives. Many partners also express deep satisfaction with the communication skills that they learn in the course and both men and women feel a deeper sense of intimacy with one another.
What if one of us has to miss a class?
It often happens that someone has to miss a class because of illness, travel or unexpected circumstances. In such cases, it is helpful if you continue to practice at home, learning the practices that the class is learning that week. I am happy to have a phone conversation to review what was covered in the class that was missed. If I know in advance that you cannot come to a class, I will record the class so that you can listen to it from wherever you are.
Can I come to the course by myself or with someone other than my partner (a friend or family member)?
Absolutely. If your partner is unable to attend the full course, it is recommended, if possible, that they attend the first class, which provides some understanding of what we will be learning and what you will be practicing at home. You are also more than welcome to come by yourself or to bring a friend or family member, as long as they will participate fully in the course and will practice at home with the CDs. Mindfulness is a life skill and can be of great benefit to everyone.
How is this course different from Hypnobirthing?
The mind can be used in a variety of ways in childbirth, including hypnosis. However, the practices that we learn in the MBCP course teach us much more than how to work with pain during birth. Learning mindfulness can help us become aware of our automatic reactions so that we can respond to our children, partners, and other loved ones with greater clarity, kindness, patience and wisdom. Parenting requires us to respond to our children in the present moment. This life skill can benefit us not only for birth, but for parenting and living our lives more fully and consciously.
Is this course focused on a home or a hospital birth?
MBCP is suitable for everyone, regardless of where and how you are going to give birth. This course is for people interested in learning mindfulness for childbirth and parenting. There is no one “right” way to birth a baby. Couples who take this course choose a variety of birth settings – hospitals, homes and birth centers. Knowing how to access deep inner resources to work with the experience of childbirth is a skill that can be of great benefit, regardless of where and how you choose to give birth. Participants report a tremendous increase in confidence which deeply impacts their choices in labor and birth.
If I know in advance that I will have a Cesarean birth, will I still benefit from taking this course?
Yes, absolutely. A Cesarean birth is still a birth experience, one in which you can be very present, as you welcome your baby into this world. The mindfulness practices can be helpful for working with the pain after the birth, for breastfeeding and for the challenges of parenting.
At what stage of the pregnancy should I take the class?
While most couples take the course towards the end of the pregnancy, some couples want to start their meditation practice much earlier. This is especially true for people who may be stressed during the pregnancy or who have a lot of fear around childbirth. Studies show that stress can affect the health of the mother and/or baby, so beginning a mindfulness practice earlier in the pregnancy can be helpful. Sometimes a couple gives birth before the end of the course. As mindful parenting is a big part of the course, coming back to the class with the baby can be very helpful to them and inspiring to the other couples, who hear how the new parents used mindfulness during the birth.
Is the yoga practice that is taught in the class balanced or do I still need to take a prenatal yoga class?
The yoga practice (mindful movement) is a well-rounded practice that even beginners can do with modifications that are included. The yoga practice is on a CD which the couple is given to practice at home after we first learn it together in class. An additional benefit is that this mindfulness/childbirth preparation course covers the full mind-body spectrum and eliminates the additional expense of taking a prenatal yoga class. Both partners report that they feel stronger, more flexible and calmer after just a few weeks of doing the yoga practice. I am a certified yoga instructor and am happy to demonstrate modifications of the poses for all levels of fitness, including absolute beginners.
I took a childbirth class for my first baby and I had a positive birth experience. Why should I take this course – will I learn anything new and useful?
Unless you already have a mindfulness practice, this course will not be a repeat of what you already learned. You will learn an extremely useful skill which will help you not just for the birth, but for the challenges of parenting two (or more) children. If you already have a mindfulness practice, this is an opportunity to discover how to use mindfulness in pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Many couples who have other children also report that the mindfulness practice greatly improves their relationship with each other and with their other child or children.
I had a very difficult birth experience with my first baby. Do you think this course will help me have a more positive experience with my next birth?
Every birth experience is different. By learning how to be in the present moment, it becomes clear that the previous birth experience is simply a memory. Through practice, we are able to recognize memories as they arise and come back to the present moment – to THIS birth experience – right now. Parents who have taken the class for a second (or third) birth have reported very positive results. The course can help us to be fully present for a totally new birth experience – and a totally new baby.
What happens in the reunion class?
The reunion class is an opportunity to see each other again, to meet the new babies, and to reflect on what the birth experience taught the parents and how they are continuing to use their mindfulness practice to meet the joys and challenges of parenting their newborn (and perhaps other children as well). The couples often feel very connected to one another having learned and practiced mindfulness together and many strong friendships are formed. Many parents continue to meet informally to chat or to practice mindfulness together and have found the experience of moving through their parenting journey together to be deeply gratifying.
What if I want to take the course but don’t live in Jerusalem?
I am happy to offer this course in different locations around the country for a minimum of 6 couples. If you are able to get together with other expectant couples in your community and to host the meetings, I am willing to offer this course in your area.