education and insurance

or “the value in a childbirth class AND a doula” 

photo by Kim Holderfield, Simple Pleasure Photography

Childbirth classes and doulas. Many expecting couples think they are of equal value, so they only need to choose one  – if you take the class you shouldn’t bother hiring a doula, and if you hire a doula, you shouldn’t bother taking a class (years and years ago I was guilty of this faulty logic myself!)

Recently this analogy to driving popped into my head… driver’s ed and insurance. You wouldn’t drive a car without learning how first. As the person responsible for the vehicle you need to know the ins and outs of the car, how it works, what to expect on the road, what the signs all mean. So you learn and you drive, and hopefully you are a good driver, a careful one, a responsible one. You weigh your options and you make choices every day as you drive.

But you aren’t the only factor in whether each trip is a success – there are others beyond your control. Some of them are in other people’s hands – not everyone out there is a good driver! Some of them are completely out of anyone’s control, you could encounter a storms or trees falling or a sinkhole that causes damage to your car.

So you have insurance. It’s not insurance against anything bad happening, because that isn’t possible. You have insurance so that if something unexpected DOES happen, you have someone to call for advice, a cushion for the cost of repairs, some peace of mind that even if a trip doesn’t end up how you thought it would, you will have help along the way.

When you’re expecting a baby, a comprehensive childbirth class is your driver’s ed. That’s where you learn the ins and outs of pregnancy and birth, what things are common, what uncommon things you might encounter, what questions to ask when you are faced with decisions. You are responsible for this new life so you will learn and you will weigh your options and make careful choices about your pregnancy and your child’s birth.

But you aren’t the only factor in how the birth goes – some of them are out of your control. Some of them are in other people’s hands – your care provider, and if you are birthing in a hospital, the nurses, staff, and the policies and procedures of the hospital. Some of them are completely out of anyone’s control. Sometimes there is fetal distress or a positioning issue that can’t be resolved or other complications.

When you have a doula, it’s not insurance against anything bad happening, because that isn’t possible. You have a doula so that if something unexpected DOES happen, you have someone to call for advice, someone trained in helping women birth, someone with a lot of tricks up their sleeve, some peace of mind that even if the birth doesn’t end up how you thought it would, you will have help along the way.

Doulas aren’t just for when things go wrong, of course! A doula can have as big of a role, or as little, as you desire. For more on what a doula does read this great blog – Your personal Yoda: What A Doula Can Do For You

Baby Steps offers natural and prepared childbirth classes, breastfeeding classes and support, and doula services in the metro Atlanta area. Current locations include Alpharetta, Douglasville, Dunwoody, Lawrenceville, Rome, Sandy Springs, and Decatur. If these locations are not convenient for you we also offer private, in-home classes on your schedule. Contact us for more information. babysteps@babystepsonline.net