Prenatal educator and doula Delia Aaron will return to Rossland on Sept. 15 for a free two-hour introduction to “Birthing From Within,” a holistic — physical, mental, and spiritual — approach to childbirth and beyond.
Aaron’s previous workshop in Rossland on May 7 was a success, so she decided to return with another “sampler” for the full 16-hour Birthing From Within course. She will offer this course at her Nelson studio for six Tuesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 27.
Birthing From Within is “not just another birthing class,” Aaron said. It’s both “informational and transformational,” intended to help expectant mothers find awareness of their body and emotions, and confidence in their intuition.
The course begins with “centring practices and awareness techniques,” and moves into the stages of labour, informed consent, partner’s roles, how to ask health care questions, how to create a birth space, and finally looking beyond birth to meeting the unknown, diapering, swaddling, breastfeeding, and more.
“The best time to enrol is at five months or more in pregnancy,” Aaron said. “The closer a woman is to her due date, the more she will recall the techniques learned in class.”
The course is not only for women; “it includes the papas too,” she said. In parents’ lives, “this is a time of continuous learning and adjustment,” and it is one of Aaron’s guiding principles that fathers and birth partners need support and education to assist the birth itself as “guardians or loving partners, not as coaches,” and to feel prepared for the transition to parenthood.
A longtime yoga instructor, Aaron completed her training in holistic childbirth in California five years ago, and has taught childbirth preparation and postpartum classes for four years. She opened The Sistering Tree in Nelson and offers full doula services and private sessions in addition to courses to help women manage menstruation and track fertility.
The studio has become a hub for new families in Nelson and has received a lot of excited reviews from Nelson families who thank her “honest, grounded, and heartfelt presence,” among other accolades, but now she hopes to branch out to Rossland, Trail, and Castlegar.
The full six-week Birthing From Within course is a “reliable alternative or complement” to the public health prenatal classes offered at Selkirk College, Aaron said, with content focused on building the mother’s inner awareness.
Pam England, the author and founder of Birthing From Within, writes, “A new mother, with only months or weeks before giving birth, does not have time to gather, learn, and assimilate all the information out there. Many women are conditioned to believe that if they have lots of information, then they will ‘pass the test’ or be able to control their birth outcome.”
England suggests this “addiction” can be counterproductive to what she considers a fundamental task of pregnancy: “to consciously tune into, develop, and trust your own, new, maternal intuition. While you are growing a baby in your belly, it is an optimal time to grow awareness and gut instinct.”
The course covers a broad range of practices, reinforced with hands on activities and dialogue, but Aaron stressed that the practices and new awareness are equally applicable regardless of the way a woman chooses to give birth. “A mother could have every intervention in the book and still be birthing in-awareness,” England writes, unchanged by cesarian operations or epidural injections.
“I trust a mother’s intuition regarding where she wants to give birth, whether it be at home or in the hospital,” Aaron said. “I can assist in creating an environment where she can give birth in the most undisturbed way possible. I offer guidance in meeting the unknown in birth, by releasing attachment to the outcome, since there is no guarantee of what a birth will look like.”
“A lot of women, because they’re working with such a powerful unknown going into childbirth, have an ideal outcome in mind. But sometimes that vision falls apart,” Aaron explained, “and that leads to birth trauma.”
She gave the example of an unexpected medical intervention: “If we find ourselves under a bright light in the O.R., how can we make that birth yours, so you’re not a victim?”
“Ultimately I want to help you find security in the freedom of trusting yourself, and tap into the wisdom of your own body so that you know how to meet each moment of labour and birth,” she said, citing practices such as breath awareness, visualization, massage, toning, and positioning.
Among her guiding principles, Aaron believes “childbirth is a rite of passage, not a medical event,” even if medical care plays a role. To this end, she offers tools to help demystify the medical side of the experience, suggesting important questions to ask health care providers — midwives, doctors, and nurses — to avoid “blind faith” in health authorities, and strategies to make a “win-win” team with doctors.
As a doula, she offers “emotional support and physical guidance to labouring women,” meeting with them several times before the birth, helps partners experience the whole process, and then giving postpartum home support.
She also offers tools that activate women’s “evolving process of self-discovery,” and “creative self-expression,” to prepare for pain and unwelcome events. “We have lots of exercises to prepare women to trust their bodies’ ability to give birth,” she said.
Perhaps most importantly, Aaron advised that these practices “work best when integrated into daily life, rather than dusted off for labour.”
Aaron’s workshop is free and runs from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Rossland Library.
She offers a $25 discount on the full Birthing From Within course to people who participate in the Rossland workshop.
Pre-register by phone, 551-3156, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.thesisteringtree.com for more information.