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.
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.