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Antenatal Training; Thoughts from Amanda

Added 09/11/2012

When a baby is in the womb from very early on in the pregnancy he hears the sound of his mother’s heart beating. We could say his mother’s heart sings to him continually while he is in the womb. This sound becomes familiar, comforting and also reassures. How wonderful is this? That no matter what is occurring in the mother’s daily life, no matter what the child may be experiencing in the womb, the mothers heart continues to sing a song of love to her child. The mother doesn’t even need to be aware that her child can hear the song of her heart beating. It still occurs; how wonderful is this? Let’s pause for a moment, feel beyond these words simply being a nice thought and recognise the potential this recognition offers. This is a story I share on antenatal training programmes where I teach students who are preparing to work as antenatal teachers or doulas. Why do I share this story?

Why, because it reminds us to see beyond daily life, not to deny it, simply to open to a potential of communication of love that is our true nature. Pregnancy, birth and parenting are not experiences that are easy to respond to with formulas. So it makes sense that student antenatal teachers are asked to question everything within them; what do they believe? What do they value? Are they willing to go beyond all the stories of good births, difficult births, and beautiful births? Each woman that enrols for their services will have a unique experience of pregnancy and birth. How many times have we heard women say that no two of their pregnancy’s or births were the same? If this occurs for a woman within her own experience of being a mother it is most unlikely that any two women would ever have the same experience.

So the role of an antenatal teacher or doula is to be present in the moment to each woman she encounters. To start with a clean slate if you like, not to assume anything. To listen with ears willing to hear, to see beyond the appearances and to hold steady that the answers are always available in the heart of the mother. Of course students are taught the physiology of birth, nutritional needs in pregnancy, supporting women through changes in their life, group dynamics, yoga and lots more.  But most of all there is space and support on the training for students to experience trusting themselves. Students are supported to teach from the heart that they may gently whisper trust and support to the hearts of all who come to work with them.

The role of an antenatal teacher is a wonderful opportunity to communicate to women that it is safe to trust their self. To affirm that there is a presence of love within them as there is within everyone that knows how to respond moment to moment, that tenderness arises from this presence which enables us to respond to life with a sense of ease. To experience more of what is real and more of what is natural to our self. To bring encouragement that it is possible to establish a relationship with the child before birth.  This work also involves opportunities to be of assistance in providing information and knowledge from which parents can then make their own decisions as to how they would like to welcome their child into their lives.

As any antenatal practitioner will tell you working with pregnant women will also involve accepting the experiences of miscarriage, termination and sometimes the death of a child. These experiences are also part of the many aspects of the decision to have a child. Of course that is not to say the intensity of the situation is not met.

This work is needed and is of assistance in our communities, the true gift of this work is the opportunity to open our own hearts to each and every woman that knocks on our practice room door or enrols for our birth preparations sessions. To meet women and their babies in a way that we would like to be met; with acceptance, with awareness and with willingness to hear and see each woman and child for whom they truly are. Imagine for a moment being accepted simply for who you are; How wonderful is that! This is the potential the story of the mothers heart beat reminds me of.

If you are inspired to work as an antenatal teacher or a doula, check out the professional training on the website

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