As many educators continue to prepare to sit for the Lamaze Certification Exam next month, I wanted to introduce Jordan Alam, a new childbirth educator. We will be following Jordan as she prepares for the LCCE exam and starts her new job as a childbirth educator in Seattle, WA. In 2014, we followed Cara Terreri as she took a Lamaze workshop, prepped for and passed the LCCE exam in Series: Journey to LCCE Certification. This new series Journey to LCCE and Teaching Lamaze Classes - Following Jordan Alam will take a similar path but also explore the experiences of training and teaching childbirth classes for the first time. Everyone starts out from that same point, standing up for the first time in front of a room full expectant families, with both butterflies and excitement sharing space in their body as they begin to teach. I am excited to get Jordan's take on prepping for the exam, sitting for it and going through the process of becoming a childbirth educator leading their own classes. We first met Jordan last month in "Getting Creative to Fund Career Development and Conferences" and I am delighted that Jordan agreed to let us peek in on her new adventure. Look for regular updates from Jordan as she moves through the process. Today I share a Q&A to introduce you to Jordan and where she is at in the process.
Sharon Muza: Tell us a little about you, previous experiences, schooling, work, (past and current)? When and how did you know you wanted to become a childbirth educator?
Jordan Alam: I have worked in a variety of social services position, both in college and afterward. I started as a peer health educator at the women's college I attended, where I was facilitating workshops and holding one-on-one sessions with folks about healthy eating, stress management, and - you guessed it - reproductive health. That's actually where I learned about being a doula, and so when I graduated I pursued my training in that. Early in my doula work, I also worked in an LGBTQ healthcare center, as a domestic violence advocate, and currently at a doula organization that provides free of cost services to those that need it (shout out to Open Arms!). All of that to say, I believe that a fundamental piece of birth work is advocacy, and for me, advocacy starts long before someone enters the birth room. I wanted to become a childbirth educator to use those skills I have around facilitation and combine them with my core belief that all people should have access to quality education/support in pregnancy and birth.
SM: What are some of the highlights or big takeaways from your training workshop?
JA: I believe that the Passion for Birth training really aligned well with my own way of teaching, which is the idea that there is a lot of knowledge in the room and the important thing is to facilitate interactive learning. Whether or not people remember exactly every detail of the process, they walk away with confidence and the tools to ask better questions. I also really loved the idea of "artichokes"! It's a lovely way to get people to remember such complex and often daunting information.
SM: Why did you decide to certify with Lamaze?
JA: Certifying with Lamaze opens up the possibility for me to teach in a wider variety of settings and also to make my business more sustainable. Doula work, while a main passion of mine, isn't always consistent and so it will be nice to supplement with teaching and being able to reach a broad audience.
SM: What are you doing to prepare for the exam?
JA: I've got all the books and all the study guide materials now! But I'm also shadowing a childbirth educator through her six-week course, which not only allows me to take in the material but to see how it is presented to the group.
SM: You recently got hired as a childbirth educator with an independent CBE organization in your community. Can you bring us up to speed on that? How did the interview go? What has happened since?
JA: Yes, I am currently working with Parent Trust in their Great Starts program. The model they have is to have you shadow a current childbirth educator, then co-teach, then teach your own class with them. I feel like this is a great runway into doing my own class - just because I was trained doesn't mean I am completely prepared to tackle a group of 10 pairs all on my own! I felt that way in my interview, which is that I had the knowledge at hand but hadn't yet practiced the way I would teach each of those pieces. My most valuable tool right now, and what I've been contributing to the class I'm observing, is to talk about my experiences as a birth worker in hospital and home birth settings.
I look forward to a post from Jordan next month as she gets ready to sit for the exam. Please join me as we follow Jordan through the entire process of becoming Lamaze certified and teaching her own childbirth classes.
Applications for the November LCCE exam close on Friday, October 20th! If you’re making final preparations for next month’s Lamaze Certification Exam and haven’t yet taken the Exam Prep Course, now’s the time! The Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator Exam Prep Course is an eLearning course that allows you to practice your test-taking skills and try several questions similar to the ones on the Lamaze exam. It also provides information on the seven competencies covered in the exam, information on how the exam is constructed and helpful tips on how to study for the exam.