Childbirth Education: Mind-Body Medicine and the Power of a Well Asked Question

December 2, 2014

By Carol Penn, MA, DO

I teach a one-day childbirth preparation course — an odd phenomenon in itself, especially when you think that people will spend a year or two planning a wedding that is a single day’s event versus the birth of your child and the impact that childbirth has on one’s life and all of eternity.

Recently a single woman attended with her boyfriend, the father of their unborn child. She was both unusual and brave, as she openly acknowledged that this was not a “committed” relationship. Yet, here they were, questioning, open, at odds, yet together.

Recently, the Director of my Department asked me how I was able to find out so much information about the couples and individuals attending my class. Reflecting back on this question, I think I listen and listen deeply and ask the open ended questions that the Mind-Body Medicine protocols encourage. It is this deep listening that creates safety and when people feel safe, they tend to open up and share.

What I have recently made available to the couples and individuals that come to me for childbirth preparation are three questions that I hope will assist them in developing a consciousness of compassion for themselves, each other, and for parenting.

What is your greatest concern regarding birth?
What is your greatest concern regarding parenting? and
What is your greatest concern regarding your relationship?.

With these questions in mind, throughout the day we take a journey through giving birth and setting the stage for a lifetime of parenting and partnering. Conversations between the couples flow as they share with the class and each other.

My desire is to have them leaving the one-day class understanding the physiological process of labor and birth, yes, and to create an opening that furthers them on their continuum to understand their individual and collective unfoldment of the physiology of the soul, mind, body, and spirit of parenting and partnering.

I may never know what happens to the brave young pregnant woman and her boyfriend, but I do know that at least on that day she left the room smiling and holding hands with the father of her child and they looked very much like a family in the making.