Why on earth would I take a 10 week mindfulness-based birth education class?
Can't I just get the information I need by reading a book / searching the internet / taking a shorter class?
Firstly, sure! You could! While mindfulness is useful and supportive to anyone, at any stage of life, encountering any challenge (or no challenge at all), it doesn't mean everyone wants to take the opportunity of an approaching birth and transition to parenthood to learn about mindfulness. And that's ok. But if your interest is peaked at all, we invite you to take a closer look. While you can acquire information from a variety of places, you cannot become more attuned to life unless you take the time to slow down, and pay attention. In addition to information about birth, our classes jump start and/or support the cultivation of your own mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness practice is about directing one's attention to the present moment, to the here and now, and being with what arises there. And things are always arising, because we have a body, which senses, and a mind, which thinks. We are constantly experiencing the results of our bodies and minds doing what they do -- sensing, thinking. When we sit with those realities, we sometimes discover things of which we hadn't been aware. That we had a pain in our lower back, perhaps. Or that we spend a lot of our time judging everything everyone says. And infinitely more.
Birth is an intense experience. Lots of things arise. Feelings, thoughts, physical sensations. The practice of sitting with whatever arises turns out to be particularly useful in birth. It is not an experience one can get out of, nor run from. If you run, it finds you; if you try to escape, it pulls you back. No matter how you birth your baby -- "naturally" or not -- the experience is transformational -- you become a parent. And that transformation is one of the most provocative changes we experience as people.
Mindfulness allows us to sit with whatever arises. To be with our experience, no matter what it is, pleasant or unpleasant, knowing that it will change and be different from one moment to the next. This couldn't be more useful in birth, or in parenting, when the physical, emotional, and mental demands for our attention are many, and continuous.
Cultivating mindfulness in one's life takes practice. It's called a "practice" for that reason. It cannot be acquired, gotten, bought, or consumed. We have to cultivate it ourselves. We have to give it our attention. We have to take the time to stop and just be. To sit. To see what is there.
What better time to cultivate our own awareness than when we are on the brink of the incredible transformation that is becoming a parent to a new being on earth?