A Married CBE Team Supports Couples Prenatally with Lamaze Classes – An Interview with Rosemarie DiMare, CD(DONA), LCCE, of Mother to Mother Services in Central New Jersey

Today’s Science & Sensibility post is written by regular contributor, Kathy Morelli.  To learn more about Kathy, please check out our contributor page or visit her at her website.

Lamaze Childbirth Educators work hard to be innovative and creative when designing their childbirth classes.  Today’s post highlights a LCCE who thinks out of the box by offering couples the opportunity to enjoy a couples’ retreat weekend while taking their childbirth classes.   Teaming with her husband, Rosemarie DiMare, this couple meets families at a comfortable, romantic resort, and includes sessions for mothers led by Rosemarie and sessions for partners led by her husband, John. Read more of Kathy’s interview with Rosemarie below.- SM

I had the honor of interviewing Rosemarie DiMare, a long-term doula and childbirth educator. She and her husband,  John, recognized the importance of including the male perspective duing the childbearing years and developed a unique way of helping families open to their pregnancies and new lives as parents. Their story follows.

Rosemarie DiMare has been in the childbirth business since 1997.  She is married and has two sons, ages 19 & 16 years old.  Rosemarie became a DONA certified doula after the birth of her second son and began teaching childbirth education classes as well. In 2007, she became a Lamaze certified childbirth educator. Her inspiration was her own doula.  S&S asked Rosemarie some questions:

S&S: What was your inspiration for becoming a birth worker? 

My doula was amazing, and in 1996, I was hearing more and more about doulas; it was a new profession at the time. I really loved the idea of supporting women in their births. I wanted to give back to the community and help women in my work, and I wanted to be a full-time mom. So, in the beginning, I didn’t take many births. The first year, I only took 4 births. Within the first year of becoming a doula, I started teaching childbirth education classes.  At that point, my husband began working at home, so I could really start to do the work of birth.

S&S: Tell us about your childbirth education journey and why you chose to become a Lamaze-trained educator? 

I’ve been a childbirth educator for almost 15 years.  I have developed my in-depth childbirth curriculum over those years. I take a lot of training and I incorporate information from different sources. I noticed that prenatal couples were taking hospital-based childbirth education classes. These classes were not informing them about their choices, instead they were being told what was going to happen to them. I felt a need to educate people about their options and choices. I am not bashing hospital based classes, I just don’t see how they tell prenatal couples the whole story.  I believe that if you don’t know your options, you don’t have any, so it is important to get some education about your options.  I always tell women, plan to afford a doula,  don’t expect Dad/partner to do everything. Get some help

I certified with Lamaze in 2007.  I really felt the Lamaze philosophy connected with my philosophy. I am blessed to be associated with Lamaze.  Lamaze is about developing confidence in your body’s ability to give birth.  It is not about the breathing. Lamaze has a moderate approach. We’re not against interventions if necessary, but not everyone needs it. I believe that Lamaze reinforces my own belief that if a woman has a really good support system: a good doctor or midwife, a doula, a good partner, a good hospital or good home setting with a midwife, she has the chance to have a good birth experience. I love the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices. More and more women want to have a say in their birth and are willing to go the extra mile to find and see a provider that will respect them and work with them.

S&S: How did you come to create your unique “Before Baby Arrives Weekend Getaway classes?

To me, it’s all about creating good, positive memories.   We all remember the details of the birth(s) of our children.  I wanted to help families create positive memories to empower women of future generations.

I’ve been married for 23 years. John, my husband, and I work together through our church, mentoring couples preparing for marriage. We work with couples teaching them practical skills such as how to fight fair and how to work together as a couple. We talk about finances and also cover the spiritual aspects of marriage.  It’s something we’ve been doing for a long time and it’s a lot of fun for us. And when I teach my childbirth classes at my home, of course John meets the couples and gets to talking to the Dads, who like to pick his brain about what it’s like to be a father.

One day we realized it was a very useful, needed service to incorporate both the male and female viewpoints in prenatal education. We felt we could help the Dads a lot too, during the prenatal time.

S&S: How do the breakway prenatal classes help couples open to their new family? 

We thought that it would be nice to set something up where the pregnant couple could break away from everyday life to be with their partner  and learn about the wonder of childbirth.  We wanted to deepen the experience of pregnancy for the couples and also help them focus on the pregnancy and open up emotionally and psychologically to the experience of their baby.

I started thinking about the importance of the dads and how having a baby really changes your life for the better.  We combine Lamaze-based birth philosophy with mentoring couples for marriage and parenting.   We wanted to help dads (and moms) realize being married and being a parent is, in reality,  not a 50/50 proposition, but is actually requires you to give of yourself 100%. When mom is pregnant, birthing, breastfeeding, there are lots of times partners will need to pick up the slack.   We emphasize communication and what you can do to strengthen your relationship during the transition to parenting.

We have structured, safe couples groups and also groups just for the men and just for the women,  so men and women can share their fears with their partner and also share their fears privately.

We teach the normal childbirth education curriculum and include a lot of the Lamaze research-based information about birth. And we also emphasize decision-making skills, such as how a budget needs to be totally re-arranged, how fathers need to help by protecting the circle of family life. With the men, John discusses the realities of sex after a baby arrives, educating them about how six weeks afer birth may not be enough time for healing for some women, how overwhelming breastfeeding can feel to both partners, and how a woman’s sex drive can differ from a man’s.   John says that he teaches that men need to respect, honor and love their spouses.

There’s a lot of teaching time and sharing time but the weekend also has some downtime built-in, to let the couples take the time they need for themselves. It is truly a retreat, to replenish, to open to the beauty of childbrith and to gain new skills for parenting.

 S&S: Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?

I’d like to say if there are any other CBE couples out there who want to plan such an inclusive class experience, do it, you’ ll know if it’s a total fit for the two of you.  You can put together your curriculm and your props, and help couples to cope with pregnancy, birth and the transition to parenting in a holistic way.

Have you thought of a childbirth education retreat weekend?  Are you thinking outside the box when and where you offer your childbirth classes?  Do you teach in an unusual location? An uncommon format?  Combine your curriculum with something else to meet the needs of pregnant families?  I would love to highlight your unusual classes in a future blog post if you would drop me an email to let me know a bit about you. – SM

About Rosemarie & John DiMare  

Rosemarie & John DiMare have been married for 23 years and have two sons. They live in central New Jersey,  where they mentor couples through pregnancy, birth & the transition to parenting. Visit them at their website Mother to Mother Services.

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Healthy Birth Practices, Healthy Care Practices, informed Consent, Uncategorized , , , , , ,

  1. | #1

    It was a pleasure interviewing Rosemarie for this article!

  2. avatar
    Connie Sultana
    | #2

    What a great idea! Hats off to Rosemarie and John for creating a holistic class that helps to build a strong foundation for the couple!

  3. avatar
    Lee Anne
    | #3

    What a brilliant idea! Thanks so much for this interview from such a seasoned CBE, doula, wife, mother and woman. Really inspiring!

  4. avatar
    | #4

    I attend church with Rosemarie and her husband, John, and she is truly the real deal, as is their marriage. I’m a nursing student and considering becoming a nurse-practitioner midwife and she’s been invaluable in educating me, debriefing me, and inspiring me.

  5. avatar
    | #5

    Rosemarie is a dear friend of mine and she was also my doula for the births of my 2 kids. She has truly found her calling, and you can tell she is passionate about what she does. Her and John are both so knowledgeable and helpful. She taught me more about childbirth than I learned in nursing school. I learned how to truly trust my body and trust birth. She helped to ignite a passion for childbirth in me so much that I became a birth doula myself. I would consider her my mentor doula :)
    Great article!

  6. avatar
    | #6

    @Grace I only wish that they had the couples retreat when I was pregnant! I would have loved to have gone with my husband. :-)

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