By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog
Cara Terreri has been sharing her experiences as she works towards her Lamaze Childbirth Educator Certification. You can read Cara’s previous posts. Today on Science & Sensibility, Cara updates readers on what has been happening on her LCCE path and how she is preparing to sit for the spring LCCE exam. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager for Science & Sensibility.
It has been one year since my last update and boy, what a difference a year makes! In one year, I have:
- Trained through DONA International to become a birth doula
- Attended six births as a doula – enough births to submit for certification!
- Taught three mini custom private childbirth classes
- Committed to sit for the April 2014 LCCE exam
A year ago, I wasn’t sure if I could (or wanted to) make this diverging career path a priority. But with each new experience and each new expectant family I encounter, I realize that this is where I want to go, long term, with my professional life. Early hands-on experience, both in serving as a doula and teaching childbirth classes, has been a great way for me to dip my toe in the water, so to speak, and decide whether or not to jump in all the way. Becoming Lamaze certified is a big commitment – of time, money, and heart. And the payoff is big, too. For me, certification is a validation and recognition for the commitment I’ve made to serving women, and added credibility to my knowledge and experience.
When I began my path toward Lamaze certification a year and-a-half ago, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach traditional classes. This past year, however, I branched out into teaching private, mini (4-5 hour) childbirth classes one-on-one to couples. Similar to doula work, privately teaching couples in the comfort of their own home was fulfilling and fun. Plus, it fills a need for couples who have unusual schedules or who would otherwise be uncomfortable in a group class setting. In working with couples as a doula, I find – without a doubt – that couples who have taken reputable childbirth classes are more prepared and informed about their upcoming birth, particularly in their ability to make informed decisions.
As the year comes to a close, I am in the planning phase for partnering with a prenatal Pilates instructor to teach a series of joint childbirth and Pilates classes in a group setting. Prenatal Pilates incorporates the physical and mental groundwork that better prepares women to achieve a healthy, low-intervention birth – it seems a perfect complement to the teachings of the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices, which lay the foundation to help women make evidence-based decisions surrounding their prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. There is still much planning to be done on the format of the classes, but I’m excited to move forward as I believe it will provide a new and exciting option for women in our area.
In between planning, I’ll be hunkering down with the Lamaze Study Guide in preparation for the April exam and compiling paperwork necessary for DONA certification. I see a few long nights in my future – not like that’s anything new as a mom of three kids! By the end of next year, I hope to have two certifications under my belt and a year’s worth of experience in managing an active doula and teaching practice. As I learn to navigate the waters of this new career and fit it into an already full life of family and freelance writing, it will be important for me to set boundaries that provide work-life balance and allow me to enjoy time with my husband and children.
How did you get into your career as an educator and/or doula? Did you begin when your children were small or did you pursue this path later in life? How do you find balance? Please share your tips for me and other childbirth educators just starting out.
About Cara Terreri
Cara began working with Lamaze in 2004, two years before becoming a mother. Three kids later, she’s a full-fledged healthy birth advocate and the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence. Most recently Cara began practicing as a doula and childbirth educator as she works toward certifications as a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and DONA certified doula.