This month marks the beginning of my seventh year of teaching natural childbirth classes.
I can't believe all the wonderful families I've been able to work with; each couple has taught me something new about pregnancy, birth and relationships.
I've been fortunate to have taught for this long without any major incidents with my students-- like injury and death.
I have a new series beginning on Monday. It was scheduled to begin January 26th, so I called my registered students to see if they would be down with beginning on the 12th instead. One mom I talked to received some unexpected news in late December right before the holidays: her baby is not developing as expected, and the prediction is that the baby has Down syndrome. I didn't know what to say. She had to wait until this week to find out more information because, of course, many people take time off for the holidays. She told me, "I'm sorry if I start crying." Oh. I feel awful that she felt the need to say that.
She said that she and her husband are fine with the baby having Down syndrome, it's the unknown that is scary...and the fact that everything that she thought was normal and predictable is now unknown and unpredictable. I am so sad for her--not because of anything that may be "wrong" with her baby-- because being pregnant, giving birth and having a baby can be such a fearful time for women and to top it off with the unknown and the waiting to know....it's just so hard.
I imagine that she will choose to not take my class. The baby will be taken from her immediately after his birth. There will be no immediate skin to skin or putting the baby to breast. She can still have a natural birth, though, unless something else arises that I am unaware of at this time. I try to imagine what it would be like for me to take a birthing class with women who are having perfectly healthy babies knowing that I am having a child with multiple health issues. I think it would be painful, but I also think that the experience can be positive for her and for those in class with her. Her experience can really touch others in ways that she may be unable to imagine right now and may really lift her spirits.
I feel for her, and I wish there was something I could do for her.