When you are a childbirth educator long enough, you may develop some interesting habits. I just started a new eight week series last week and was reminded once again of all the strange habits I have developed that I am very committed to. None of them make sense to me, some of them are rather funny or strange and all of them make me feel so much more comfortable when I am able to do them "my way." Thinking of all these little teaching quirks I have, made me wonder if I was the only one or if other childbirth educators are creatures of habit and have little rituals that they like to do when they teach that make them feel comfortable. I will share a few with you in hopes that you will feel comfortable in doing the same in the comments.
When I am teaching about effacement and dilation, I hand out Play-Doh in the tiny little containers to all the participants. We use them to make cervixes and efface and dilate them. (Maybe a future Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators post?) I ask everyone to open their Play-doh and take it out. I then stop talking as they open their containers. I cannot continue to talk until someone, anyone, in the class, brings their Play-Doh up to their nose and smells it. Someone always does, and I feel free to continue on with the lesson. A class member usually does this fairly quickly and the class does not even notice my pause while I wait.
Starting on my left
I always choose the family on my left, in the seats closest to me, to go first, to lead off an exercise, to start the count-off or begin the activity. For some strange reason, I always need to reach out to those seats to go first in order to feel comfortable. I have no idea why, but after 15 years, old habits die hard and I cannot seem to break this habit.
Different positions, different demo sides
During my classes, we are always up and out of our seats trying lots of labor positions. I usually demo with one family and then have everyone try it themselves for practice. In my mind, I have very specific sides of the pregnant person that I need to stand on, in order to demo each position. For the duck/sumo walk, I need to be on their right. For the double hip squeeze, I need to be on their left. For an open knee chest position, I need my back to the door. For every position we use, I have a certain place to stand to demonstrate it. I don't know why, but it feels plain "wrong" when I am not on my "regular" customary side.
These are just three of the many habits that I have acquired over the year that makes me feel comfortable and capable when I teach. I have no idea why I do these things or how these "rituals" developed, but when I get to do them this way, I feel so much better and the class seems to run smoother. Am I superstitious that things will not go well if I don't do them? I wondered if other childbirth educators had similar things that you "need" to do in order to feel like the class will run smoothly or that you do all the time without fail. Please join me in sharing your little habits in the comments section below.