Last week I was invited to visit a local birth class, taught by Anne Corbin. Anne teaches the Bradley Method in her home. It wasn't what I expected at all.... the room she teaches in is beautiful and welcoming, with throw pillows and gorgeous relaxing colors. And Anne? Well, she is just so darn funny! I left with cheeks that hurt, from laughing so much! The following is a little glimpse into what her classes are like, and why she does, what she does.
Me: Can you tell us more about yourself and how you got into the Bradley Method?
Anne: Yes, I would love to tell you more! My mom is a midwife and has always been passionate about birth. When I was pregnant with my first baby at twenty, she told me she would pay for me to take childbirth classes and recommended the Bradley Method. We were excited to learn more about birth and loved attending our classes. By the end of our 12 week course I was absolutely determined to have a natural birth. When the time came for my baby to be born, I labored for about 9 hours. Which is relatively quick for a first time mom, but it was all pretty intense labor and completely changed me, and rocked my world. The moment of birth was very transformative for me and was the biggest high of my life. I couldn't stop beaming with pride that I had succeeded at having my natural birth, none the less, in a hospital. When I found out I was pregnant again 5 months later, I prepped myself all over again for the natural birth experience. This time hiring an out of hospital midwife. After the delivery of my second baby, I decided to passionately follow my love of birth. I had seen a few births and wanted to be around birthing and pregnant women. I was then trained as a doula, at the Seattle Midwifery School. I found that being a doula was very hard for a mom with two small babies, and abandoned my dream at the time so we could travel and pursue my husband's career. I went on to have 2 more home births before deciding to become a Bradley teacher. I prayed about it, and felt it was my calling. While pregnant with my fifth baby I filled the requirements for becoming a teacher. Always have, and always will, love sharing my knowledge and passion about birth with other moms. I have been brought closer to God in that hour after birth than I ever have been.
Me: What made you decide to start teaching classes?
Anne: As I was saying before, I had always wanted to be involved in birth, one way or another. Being a birth instructor was a much better fit for me than being a doula. You can schedule your time! I am still hoping to be a doula for some of the women who attend my classes. But now I can do it on a "not guaranteed" basis. I chose Bradley specifically because I had enjoyed it when I took it, and also because it's one of the biggest childbirth education classes out there, and I wanted to be able to reach as many women as possible.
Me: How does the Bradley Method differ from other childbirth classes?
Anne: The Bradley Method differs for a few reasons. It's the only class that is 12 weeks long, and includes the father in the process, training him to be a coach. It teaches more in depth information about complete pregnancy care - exercise, nutrition, breastfeeding, etc. It is more than a method, it is a way of life.
Me: The class I visited was a fun mix of real life experiences, jokes, and good advice. Is that how all of your classes are? And what is that cute dog's name?!?
Anne: Yes! My classes and most Bradley classes are about sharing and getting to know each other. It is supposed to be relaxed, laid back, and straightforward. (His name is Koda and he is 12. He attends all of the Bradley classes. He is definitely a trained coach!)
Me: That room is just dreamy. What was the inspiration behind it?
Anne: I wanted the room to be a calming environment from your daily hassles and worries. And to go along with the natural birth theme, of a worry free hippie. Because of our relaxation exercises, and other birth exercises that we do in class, I needed to have furniture that could be moved around, and was useful and conductive to relaxation.
Me: I'd love to know more about how you balance teaching childbirth classes with 5 kids. What works for you, and what doesn't?
Anne: Because of the loving support I receive from my husband, I am able to teach my classes. He loves that I am passionate about birth and wants me to have a hobby. Just learning to balance my priorities and to not hesitate to ask others for help if I'm ever in a bind.
Me: I can so relate to that. I think as mothers we often are shy about reaching out when we need help. It's something I'm working on being better at.
Me: What are your future plans and hopes for your business?
Anne: Eventually I would like to be teaching about 3 nights a week. I would love for my name to spread and have the ability to really challenge other's thinking on birth, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and what is "normal" or accepted in our society. Ultimately, I just want to reach women and educate them so they can make educated decisions about their birth.
Me: Is there anything else you'd like readers to know?
Anne: My childbirth classes can be helpful for everyone! Even women planning an epidural can benefit. The information received can help you make choices. No matter what type of birth you have, there are always choices to be made. Coping mechanisms are helpful during birth no matter how you birth, for the rest of your life. I am not judgmental on how or where a woman births. My only hope is that she is proactive in making her choices. If she is choosing an epidural, why? Does she know the facts? The risks? Etc... If she has the tools to make educated decisions then she has the power to truly choose her birth!