On Including Young Children in the
Childbirth Refresher & Sibling Preparation Class
A bit of history:
When I originally began to offer this class, the last hour and a half were reserved for all the siblings to gather together for what we hoped would be a transformative and insightful preparation for the upcoming birth and baby. I brought books! I brought videos! I brought dolls, blankets, diapers, slings, and invited families to bring their own so we could all take care of our babies together!
Here's what actually happened:
The siblings, who averaged 2.5 years old, met and wanted to play. They were often overwhelmed by the new space and all the things there were to explore - why read a book with that strange woman when we could pull all the big fancy books off these interesting shelves?! Our intensity and intention often only served to make the siblings more reserved and distractible, and we often found ourselves wrapping up after 45 minutes with a promise that I'd email them the video links and book names, and they'd continue the work at home.
After a few years of this, I finally realized that parents are by far the best people to be talking to their children about the birth and new baby. The books are available at the library, the videos are easy to download, the dolls and blankets and such are easy to buy, and it was all more effective when explored at home with their parents, on their turf and when they were at their most receptive, slowly building on the conversation over time.
So now the children stay at home, the entire class gets to be awesome adult time, and I offer everything that I was trying to give the kids directly to the parents in the last quarter of our class (including a follow-up email with links, names and further suggestions). It runs more smoothly, we get to explore more deeply, and parents leave feeling resourced and supported in making decisions and pursuing the conversations in the ways that best fit their particular kids.
If that bums you out...:
If you were especially excited about that kid-based portion of the agenda, I would be more than happy to provide it! We would do this either by opting for a private class in your home, or by adding an extra mini-class with your child after your group class for parents is complete. This will allow your child/ren to explore the topics with us in a safe and familiar place, tailoring the section to your child's age and personality, your family's intentions regarding their presence at the birth and/or immediately afterward, and any issues or preferences specific to your family's needs and plans. Please feel free to get in touch with me to discuss our options, and we'll create the best class together for your unique family.