Recently, Lamaze International announced the Online Class Presenting Partner Program. The program is described as a way “Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators and hospitals can offer evidence-based, interactive online childbirth education classes with the brand recognition of the most trusted name in childbirth education.”
After this program was announced, I had the opportunity to speak with educators about the program. There seemed to be three recurring reasons for not participating. These reasons are completely valid, but I want to tackle each of these with some ideas on why these hesitations shouldn’t stop anyone from participating in this program.
1. You want to create your own online classes.
I completely relate to this statement. I have so many ideas in my head for classes I want to create and services I want to provide. The problem is that only a few of these ideas have made it out of my head and into reality. The truth is that I don’t have time to create new classes right now. I know first-hand how much work goes into their creation. Online classes require an investment of both time and money.
Let’s consider the topic of VBAC for example. I would love to teach a VBAC class. But, the reality is that it isn’t going to happen any time soon (and possibly never). Let’s say that I have clients due in the next few months and hey would benefit from a VBAC class. These clients trust my recommendations. They want me to tell them which class they should take to learn more about preparing for a VBAC.
Should I tell them “I have a really great idea for a VBAC class, but it only lives in my head right now? Check back with me in a year or so. You will love it. It will be the best class ever!”
Well, that answer doesn’t work, does it? By the time I make my ideas into a reality these clients will have already had their baby. They will find another class or maybe skip a class altogether or just google for the information they want.
Instead, it feels great to tell them “I have partnered with Lamaze International to offer online classes and they have a great one on VBAC. I’m happy to answer questions about the class or Lamaze International itself. As a partner of the program, if you sign up and purchase through my link I get a small referral fee at no extra cost to you.” This answer works great for both the client and my business goals too.
2. You believe in-person classes are better than online classes.
I think most Lamaze educators will agree that in-person classes are usually much better than online classes. I agree too! So, if we agree with this statement then why would we recommend online classes? Why would I even be writing this article if I think in-person classes are far superior to online classes? The reality is many of our customers are looking for online classes. We live in a time where our childbirth education consumers do everything online. They connect with friends, order dinner and schedule transportation online. While preparing for birth, they are often looking for online resources. Sometimes they are skipping in-person classes and only relying on what they can find online. AND I DON’T LIKE THIS. I really and truly do not like this, but it is a reality. Online education is on the rise and filling up in-person classes is becoming a struggle for many of us.
I read a recent Facebook post where one expecting parent shared the following:
“Took a birthing class today and it was very helpful in learning the birth process and what to expect!”
This type of post makes a childbirth educator smile, right? Just as I was enjoying this moment, I scrolled down and read a comment from another group member in response:
“Do they teach you anything you can’t research on your own?”
This is a perfect example of what is happening with expecting families. They are skipping classes because they think they can just learn everything they need to know by researching it (likely online)! As educators, we know the absurdity of this statement. How will families be able to google enough to prepare for birth and postpartum? How will they even know what to look for anyway?
While the trend is to learn online, let’s promote good quality resources. As part of the Presenting Partner Program, I am directing people to a class that I know will be beneficial to families. It’s not in-person, but I’ll take second best over nothing.
3. Potential students will take the online classes and not your classes.
Certainly, this might happen, but I want to meet the needs of my customers. If they are interested in an in-person class and my class fits into their schedule and budget, then they will sign up. If they want an online class, then they were never going to sign up for my in-person one. I’m just going to have to embrace the abundance mindset.
It’s a Win-Win
I think of the Lamaze Online Class Presenting Partner Program as a good way to expand my services. Currently, I offer in-person childbirth classes and doula services. If clients are interested in a class for VBAC, Sex during Pregnancy and Beyond, Bringing Home Baby and Breastfeeding then I send them my partner link to the specific Lamaze online classes. Having the Presenting Partner Program is like expanding my services without any time or money investment on my part. My clients have good options for classes that I do not teach, and I earn a percentage of sales. This feels like a win-win to me.
What's Stopping You?
What is stopping you from joining this innovative program? Do you have any questions about how to join, how it works or how to market it? Don't hesitate to reach out to Lamaze staff to get your questions answered, or join. Once signed up, you will join other educators from across the globe who are effectively meeting the needs of their students and receiving some compensation for their efforts.
About Alice Turner
With more than 13 years of experience as a doula and seven as a Lamaze certified childbirth educator, Alice has supported more than 250 births and knows the power of a prepared partner. While working with partners during a couples' childbirth class, Alice was surprised by how much more engaged and inquisitive they were than in the traditional group setting. Realizing birth partners would opt for a couple of hours on their laptop over a book or all-day class, Alice teamed up with fellow doula Kathleen Leathers to create an online childbirth class for the other half. She developed a tailored curriculum, filmed it with partners in a local brewery and SupportingHer was born!
Prior to entering the birth world. Alice received a Biomedical Engineering degree from Vanderbilt University with a minor in Computer Science and spent her early professional life working as a database programmer in healthcare. Alice lives in Atlanta, GA, with her high school sweetheart Rob and their four children. Alice currently serves in the role of Secretary/Treasurer for the Lamaze International Board of Directors. You can reach Alice here.