The Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Course brings together the best of childbirth education and mindfulness skills to support expectant parents towards greater well-being, balance and wisdom as they go through one of the most transformative experiences of a lifetime: becoming a parent.
The class prepares parents for the big event that giving birth is and includes all the usual components of a childbirth education class such as the physiology of labor, positions for birthing, and breastfeeding. However, the course goes well-beyond a traditional childbirth class as it equips couples with life-long mindfulness skills providing a healthy foundation for coping with the stresses and challenges of parenting, family life, and indeed, life itself. One learns the full spectrum of practices that are taught in a traditional 8-week mindfulness course as well as mindfulness practices tailored to childbirth to support partner communication and working skillfully with discomfort and pain during birth
The mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting training (MBCP) was founded in 1988 by Nancy Bardacke, certified nurse-midwife and mindfulness teacher. The program is an adaptation the ‘regular’ mindfulnesstraining (MBSR) created by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Nancy has woven her 45 years of experience of paying attention to the birth process and needs of expecting parents into creating and adapting the MBCP course.
The MBCP course includes 8 weekly classes of 2h45 hours, an additional stillness day and a post-birth reunion. Classes include the physiology of childbirth, mind-body awareness practices, hand-on practices to work with pain during labor, positions for birthing, breastfeeding and parenting a newborn. Participants learn mindfulness meditation as a self-regulation approach to the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy, birth and parenting.
In this class you will:
- Access deep physical and mental relaxation
- Learn to engage the mind to work with pain during labor
- Increase confidence and courage for the experience of labor and delivery
- Practice prenatal yoga for strength and flexibility
- Develop skills for managing stress in pregnancy, parenting and daily life
- Enhance partner communication skills
- Become more aware of our own approach to parenting
Course materials include a workbook and guided audio practices. Home practice is an essential ingredient to the success of this approach (30 minutes a day is recommended). Being more aware of and in tune with your body and more connected to the amazing physiological experience of pregnancy.
What you will learn
- Letting go of unhelpful and fearful beliefs or expectations around the birth experience and replacing these with trust and confidence.
- Embracing and surrendering to the sensations of labour rather than resisting these which generally allows for a quicker, more effective labour and overall more positive birth experience.
- Partners can use their mindfulness skills to support the birthing mother to remain centered and present throughout and especially in the more challenging moments of labour!
- Be flexible when things don’t go according to plan. As much as we prepare for the birth, the whole process is a leap into the unknown. Mindfulness supports us to be comfortable with not knowing, let go of our expectations and be more open and accepting with the outcome of the birth.
- Being a more confident and much less stressed new parent. Postnatal life is intense: the constant responsibility can all be very overwhelming. Mindfulness supports you to remain present, loving and calm – the best gift you can give your child.
Participants to the MBCP report that learning mindfulness brings benefits greater than they could have imagined during and far beyond the birth process. Mindfulness practice continues to serve in the immediate, intense, joyful and sometimes stressful weeks and months of learning to care for a new baby. Many report that the mindfulness practice has indeed been a source of strength, growth and pleasure in the early years of becoming a family.
This course caters to the expectant couple and supports the pregnant woman as well as her partner. The program is open to first-time parents as well as to those who already have children. We welcome people from all backgrounds and sexual orientation. Single parents are welcome to the course and we would like to support them the best we can. We would recommend then choosing a birthing partner, be it a doula, midwife, mother or friend to attend this course with you.
When to start
Most people take the course toward the end of their pregnancy. However, some people may want to start their meditation practice much earlier. These include people who simply seek the benefits of a meditation practice throughout their pregnancy, or who have a meditation practice and find it easier to maintain it in a group context, or who have lot of fear around childbirth, or who are experiencing a pregnancy complicated by other health factors, or are challenged by other stresses in their lives at home or at work. As many studies show, stress can be a contributing factor in a number of difficult pregnancy conditions, such as preterm labor or low birth weight. Those who want to begin mindfulness practice earlier are welcome to start the course at any point in their pregnancy.