Series: Journey to LCCE Certification: Taking A Lamaze Childbirth Education Seminar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Today, an occasional series starts on Science & Sensibility, “Journey to LCCE Certification.”   We will follow Cara Terreri as she progresses on the path to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  Her journey starts with her Childbirth Education Seminar and will continue as she develops her own curriculum, teaches her first classes and sits for the exam.  I invite you to cheer her on and offer your support, suggestions and encouragement based on your own experiences on a similar journey.- SM

After having worked for the Lamaze International headquarters office for seven years now (marketing, writing, managing the Giving Birth with Confidence blog), it’s safe to say that I’ve drank the Kool-Aid. Slowly but surely, the words I pored over while editing became part of my own beliefs – even before I began my own birth journey. And until my last birth, I was happy to remain in my role of reaching women through writing. But my most recent, and most amazing birth (first unmedicated and truly empowering experience), ignited my desire to be more directly involved either as a doula or educator. But how? I already have a part-time job in marketing and writing (for clients in addition to Lamaze) on top of three children, a husband, and a dog – when would I find more time to devote to a budding career in birth?

While I still haven’t answered that last question, in the meantime, I attended the Passion for Birth Lamaze Childbirth Educator Seminar as the first step on the path to being a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  There was going to a workshop in my hometown, and the timing worked with my other obligations.  This workshop was going to be taught by Passion for Birth founder, Teri Shilling and  co-taught by Ann Tumblin.

At the end of day one, I was blown away. Walking into class, the first thing I noticed was how the tables and each seat were meticulously set up with loads of colorful, playful – and questionable (like, balloons and a ping pong ball?) – class materials. It was like walking into an art class! When class began, I was immediately engaged by the teaching techniques. Nearly every activity and exercise was meant to double as something that could be replicated in your own Lamaze class, including some techniques that should not be used. For example, class kicked off with the dreaded PowerPoint slide. Ann reviewed the slide, turned off the projector and asked everyone to write down the six bullet points reviewed. No one could. Why? Because PowerPoint is a horribly ineffective teaching tool! This was just one of countless “aha” moments for me over the next three days.

In spite of a nine-hour day, the instructors excelled at keeping me engaged and involved, and allowing me to learn – and successfully retain – the material. Beyond the teaching, I really enjoyed the community aspect of class. Participants (27 of them!) came from all walks of the maternal-child health arena, which allowed for interesting dialogue with differing but respectful perspectives.

The Lamaze Childbirth Educator Seminar was, in a word, inspiring. I truly believe that if I could mirror my classes using the Passion for Birth techniques I observed and learned, I would be one fantastic educator! Because Teri still actively teaches childbirth classes in her community, I also felt confident knowing that the information in her workshop is not only effective, but relevant to today’s families.

I believe that my biggest hurdles in completing certification and developing a birth business are making the time, given my other professional commitments; and overcoming my dislike of networking. In class, we discussed the need for aspiring educators to develop face-to-face relationships with individuals, groups, organizations, and businesses in the community. While I don’t think of myself as a wallflower, I’m also not a social butterfly and I’ve never liked being in a “sales-y” role. I’d love to hear from other educators who feel the same way – what did you do to overcome your aversion to marketing and promoting yourself and be able to successfully network with peers and potential students?

So what next? As a new/inexperienced educator on the pathway to certification, the next official step is to be observed in teaching. But before I can do that, I need to create my curriculum and develop a plan for connecting with my local prenatal community. After a group curriculum-building exercise on day one, I gained new respect for the work that educators put into writing, preparing, and refining a class curriculum. That being said, my strongest skills are in writing, researching, and organizing. And with the multitude of tools I acquired through the workshop, I now have the resources create a comprehensive curriculum. Stay tuned for my next update, when I share how that is going.

If you are interested in becoming a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and taking a seminar, please refer to Lamaze International for more information on seminars and the pathways to certification.


I would like to ask experienced LCCEs and Doulas;

  • How did you get started on this path?  
  • What led you to become a childbirth educator?  
  • What things did you find useful?  
  • How do you enjoy what you do?  
  • What are some of the challenges?  
  • Why did you choose Lamaze as the organization to certify with?
  • Can you share your tips from the trenches with Cara and other people who are interested in working as a childbirth educator or other birth professional?

In the next installment of the Journey to LCCE Certification Series, Cara will share how things are going as she works to develop her own curriculum.  Look for that post in the next few months. In the meantime, share your own experiences so that Cara and others on the same path can benefit – SM


In the interest of full disclosure, I want to share that I am a trainer for the PfB organization that presented the workshop Cara attended.  I want to take a moment to share that Lamaze International has many vibrant, creative and well established programs that offer workshops all around the country, and internationally as well,  for men and women interested in becoming childbirth educators.  I encourage each individual to reach out and explore the different programs, talk to the program representatives and select the program that meets their professional needs.  Links to all the programs can be found on the Lamaze International Childbirth Education Training page -SM

About Cara Terreri

Cara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.





Childbirth Education, Giving Birth with Confidence, Guest Posts, Lamaze Method, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification, Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , ,

  1. | #1

    You are an absolute gem, and one of the best people to work with. I admire your commitment and vision, and consider it an honor to work with you.

  2. | #2

    Cara – it was a treat to spend the three days with you and the other amazing educators to be in the group – such a diverse group added to the experience: nurses, midwifery student, nurse midwife, doulas, experienced educators, massage therapists and more! Thanks for joining us on our mission of stomping out boring!

  3. | #3

    Cara: I’m so excited for you! I can’t wait to follow your journey. I love keeping up to date with what’s going on, not only in the journals, but in my area. Keeping that pulse of what’s HOT in YOUR area is my advice.

  4. | #4

    I am really excited for you, Cara! My path was a bit opposite of yours — I took a Lamaze class, gave birth, became an educator then LCCE, and THEN combined my love of teaching into a part-time writing career. :) I have met Teri and have to say I’m jealous you got to take her seminar! I was certified through a local organization for a few years and taught enough classes that I was able to sit for the exam on the “experienced educator” track. Congratulations! You will do a great job.

  5. | #5

    Cara, I was a CBE for many years before I became Lamaze Certified. You are smart to have started with what I feel is the best organization, right from the start. One thing that surprised me, in the beginning, when I first started teaching, I spent about 10 minutes of prep for every minute of class. It was very time consuming. But with practice and tweaking, it soon becomes second nature. The beginning was very labor intensive, no pun intended! Good luck on your journey!

  6. | #6

    I am hopeless at marketing. I dislike selling or being sold to, and shy away from both.

    But my classes are always full–two series running at all times, and I’ve just added a third taught by a colleague. I’ve developed a good word-of-mouth reputation in the Seattle area. With little-to-no traditional marketing.

    The key for me was making connections with my local midwives, not in pursuit of establishing classes, but with the singular goal of supporting them in the work that they do. I spent years doing very unglamorous work for them (which luckily I enjoy anyway) like tech support and bookkeeping. In the process the midwives got to know me and trust me, and when the opportunity arose for me to teach, they referred to me and have ever since.

    The only marketing activities I do:
    1. I have always had a website. I think that is critically important. A website needs to have a really easy to remember name…no hyphens, no funny spellings, nice and short. The content needs to be professional and easy to navigate. You’ll do a great job of that because you’re a writer!

    2. I have a Facebook page. If I needed to drum up more business, I think that would be a great way to do it…I’d just need to post more interesting stuff more often that would hopefully be shared around by other people with my name still attached.

    3. I have some postcards with basic info on, primarily for local providers to hand to clients.

    4. I welcome doulas and CBEs-in-training to come and observe the class. I’ve had a steady stream of referrals from many of those observers.

    My very best wishes for your journey ahead…you’ve taken such a great step with the Passion for Birth Lamaze training!

  7. | #7

    Thank you, everyone, for your compliments, words of encouragement and drops of wisdom. I’m looking forward to this new direction in my life!

  8. avatar
    Connie Sultana
    | #8

    I too was blown away when I took the Passion for Birth Workshop. The materials and techniques work so beautifully in my classes. I also loved sharing all these new ideas with the educators I worked with – everyone was inspired.

    My first classes were in a waiting room with teenagers in inner-city Cleveland. Those young women were so helpful to me as I was getting my act together. You may find that to be an audience that is accessible to you – there is much need!

  9. | #9

    Congratulations, Cara! :) I love being an LCCE. I took the training in April 2011 with Teri and Sharon in Seattle after finding that I wanted to be able to do more prenatal work with clients than I was doing as a Labor Doula and I have always loved teaching (being a former high school teacher and adjunct prof). Self-promotion is my least favorite aspect of the work but happens best for me slowly through building relationships (this is not unlike dating – I was never one to just go on dates with strangers, everyone I’ve ever had an intimate relationship with started as a friend known in another context – including my current amazing and wonderful partner Cathy…:)).
    I love working with pregnant people on becoming fully informed so they can make the choices that are best for them. It’s my favorite part – watching each of them work through preconceptions they started class with and slowly develop a plan that most honors their own values and needs. Most of my teaching currently takes place in a hospital, which is wonderful and has challenges. One has to be aware of multiple perspectives and power dynamics when teaching in a hospital, which can be a challenge, depending on the place. It’s wonderful, though, being able to access students who may not have a lot of information about birth and don’t know that they always have choices in the care they receive. It feels good to reach these students in a way that is different than how it feels good reaching students who know a lot about birth already and are clear about their choices, which is sometimes the students one reaches with private classes.
    What else? I chose Lamaze because it was a name I recognized, the instructors I knew and liked were LCCE’s, and I liked the idea of traveling to Seattle (from where I lived in Colorado at the time) to attend the training (there were no local trainings that met my needs at the time and I love a reason to come to the Emerald City…:)).
    Trench stories – take the time to make your curriculum interesting. It really is the key to engaged learners. Watch for dogma, polarizing language, language that unintentionally makes invisible some people, and places where your own experiences or values may be creating blind spots in delivering the information in such a way that allows for and honors each student’s power to choose for themselves.
    Have fun – you started with the best with Teri and are now in a great place to become the wonderful LCCE that you are intended to be. :)

  10. avatar
    Michele Ondeck
    | #10

    Cara, I love mentoring new childbirth educators. You received some wonderful advise from Liz and Anna. Looking forward to sharing your story with my own students that are on the same journey.

  11. | #11

    Yeah, Cara! So proud of you…you’ll be a fantastic addition to the team of LCCEs out there!

  12. | #12

    Cara! I am so glad you came to the training. We would love to have you join the GA Birth Network. http://www.gabirthnetwork.com. There are lots of birth professionals to meet with and get advice!

  1. | #1

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