Ask A Childbirth Educator

We ask health and wellness professionals the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS talks to childbirth educator Gillian Doria.

Photo credit: Karin Benedict

Gillian Doria is the owner of Montreal Childbirth Classes. She trained for three and a half years to become a childbirth educator and got her diploma from the University of Bedfordshire (UK). She has been a childbirth educator for 14 years and is also a birth and postpartum doula, having trained with Doula UK and MotherWit Doula Care in Montreal. She has lived in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, England and France. She has two children and enjoys running, yoga, traveling and going to the movies. Gillian offers doula services and private prenatal education classes to expectant families in Montreal. For information about her classes and other services, visit her website, www.montrealchildbirthclasses.com, her Facebook page, or send her an email at montrealchildbirth@gmail.com.

How would you describe your job in just one sentence?

A childbirth educator’s job is to help empower couples to make the best suited decisions for themselves, regarding how they would like their birth to unfold and to help them gain confidence in caring for their newborn.

What made you want to be a childbirth educator?

I was volunteering for a parenting support group in Paris, France and they were looking for members to train as childbirth educators in order to give childbirth classes in English. So, as my husband and I had taken childbirth classes with our first child in England and really benefited from them, I thought this would be a great way to support other couples who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these classes.

How can expectant parents benefit from your services?

Couples will learn about what happens to a woman’s body during labor, the different options for pain relief, relaxation techniques, how partners can support the labouring woman, and baby care: how to bathe and soothe a crying baby, breastfeeding, what effect a newborn may have on a couple’s relationship, etc. If people take these classes with other couples, they will also meet others in the same situation as themselves and hopefully form a support network for each other.

What happens at your first meeting with expectant parents?

It depends whether it is a group setting, a private class with a single parent or a couple, or if it is a refresher class for a couple who has given birth before. But generally I ask them about their preferences, in terms of how they would like their birth to go, in an ideal situation. Some may want a natural birth without pain medication and others may want something more medicalized. Some may not yet know what kind of birth they would like and that is fine, too. Hopefully by the end of these classes they do know the answer to these questions and feel more empowered to ask for what they want. I think it is important to respect the couples’ wishes as to the type of birth they would like, while keeping their minds open to other possibilities that might arise.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your field?

That childbirth classes are only for those who want a “natural birth.” Classes are open to anyone expecting a child who wants to gain more knowledge about birth and the first few weeks with a newborn.

What do you love most about working with expectant parents?

Helping women gain confidence in their ability to give birth and giving confidence to their partners in supporting them in that process. I also love seeing parents as their confidence grows in the knowledge that they will be able to care for their newborn.

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