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Bradley Class Dropouts

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
My DH and I have dropped out of our Bradley class. The teacher is actually very good, and very nice, we just didn't get anything out of the class, and it was very far away. Plus, it ended at nearly ten every time!

A few things that stood out as problems for us, that may be of interest to you:

-Natural birth being called the "Bradley Method." I just couldn't groove with that. First of all, I am reasonably sure that this type of birth was practiced well before Bradley's time. And second, why am I choosing a "method" based on the theories of a man, anyway? Maybe I missed some enlightened theory, but we only ever talked about practices that seem obvious to me, anyway. :

-No other discussion of "natural parenting." Maybe that is by design, but I felt a little weird being the only mom and dad who are planning to co-sleep, cloth diaper (and EC), not vax, etc.

-Emphasis on "learning to communicate with your birth team." This is one that I felt was probably of benefit to other ladies, just not to me. I have no qualms about telling my midwife, DH, or my mother *exactly* what I want. I kind of feel the same way about a birth plan. This idea is briefly discussed in Birthing From Within -- the notion that you even *need* to make note of these things suggests that you might have a hard time getting anyone to listen to you (my interpretation).

-I didn't like it that the instructor promoted donating cord blood without saying that the cord must be cut before it stops pulsing in order to harvest the stem cells. I think that is an individual choice for parents, but I think they should have a complete picture before deciding.

While it is entirely possible that I am just a grumpy lady, I really don't think so. I guess I had expectations of learning much more about physiology (the bit that we did cover was great!), and less ideology (since I didn't really agree).

I welcome your thoughts, ladies.


Jean
post #2 of 26
I wasn't a Bradley class dropout (don't even know if Bradley is offered here in Canada) but I was a prenatal class drop out. Not my cup of tea. Oh, and I'm with you on the "method" being named for a man.

I do have a friend who really enjoyed her prenatal class. That may be because she and her boyfriend connected well with the other couples. Many of the students have kept in touch since (and their babies are toddlers now).
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
It's true, I was also hoping to meet some people who are like we are. The great thing was that attending the class in the first place was a *requirement* (that should have been my first clue) of the birthing center where we *were* going to have our birth.

I did meet a really cool lady in the class who introduced me to her midwife, and now we are having a wonderful homebirth! So, I do have to be thankful to the class for that.


Jean
post #4 of 26
Good for you for going with your gut!

If you're having a homebirth, this probably won't be a concern, but I found that having a birth plan for the midwives at our birth center was necessary. There are 9 or 10 of them, and they see a lot of women, so I didn't expect that in the heat of the moment they would remember what we had discussed before. Also, don't discount the fact that in the heat of the moment (or "laborland" as BFW calls it) you will very likely have difficulties verbalizing things, or having discussions. A birth plan just helps remind everyone of what you wanted when you were able to think and rationalize!

I hope your homebirth is wonderful!
post #5 of 26

My DH was a Bradley drop-out

I really loved the class. I learned a lot, but DH hated every minute of it. He had NO interest in being a "coach" and he felt like a "Bradley failure." He stopped going around class 6 (he had a cold) but then the cold went away and I told him he could just stay home. He missed the awesome class on BFing though. I should I forced him to go.

Jean, that's really awful about promoting Cord Banking without explaining the cons. What a twit.

My Bradley practioner was an AP parent (I think) but never mentioned ANYthing about parenting (co-sleeping....)

That brings up a good question - what childbirth course DOes offer that? BFW?

Naming it a "Bradley method" everybody is eager to differentiate (and take credit for) THEIR course from someone else's.

It's a good introduction to the concept of "natural childbirth" (especially for women who think birth has to equal getting meds) and by the end of the class, a lot of the moms wanted to go natural.

My big problem with it is putting the DH in the role of coach.

And... as in the case with my class... there was very little time for relaxation exercises in the end.

Finally, as far as "making new friends?" I wish. Some women did keep in touch, but not me. It seemed like everyone was so shy (I found that annoying!)

I made wonderful friends at my local LLL meetings - some of whom follow part or all of my natural parenting philosophies.
post #6 of 26
I am good friends with all of the bradly instructors in my area and felt pressure to take the class (it was the cool thing to do) but just couldn't do it. First of all I am not a relaxy person. have never relaxed during labor and have never had a bad labor because of it. Secondly if my dh thinks for minutes he can coach me he has another thing coming to him. Our system is I tell him what to do and he does it without complaining (he is very good at it ) Thirdly I hate the way it kinda implies "if you don't do it the Bradly way your doing it wrong" Irritates me.

Cord blood can be donated after the cord stops pulsing. I always thought it couldn't, but after the poulsing stopped and the cord was cut they still took stem cells. The teacher should be sure and tell people they can have it both ways.
post #7 of 26

My DH was a Bradley drop-out

I really loved the class. I learned a lot, but DH hated every minute of it. He had NO interest in being a "coach" and he felt like a "Bradley failure." He stopped going around class 6 (he had a cold) but then the cold went away and I told him he could just stay home. He missed the awesome class on BFing though. I should I forced him to go.

Jean, that's really awful about promoting Cord Banking without explaining the cons. What a twit.

My Bradley practioner was an AP parent (I think) but never mentioned ANYthing about parenting (co-sleeping....)

That brings up a good question - what childbirth course DOes offer that? BFW?

Naming it a "Bradley method" everybody is eager to differentiate (and take credit for) THEIR course from someone else's.

It's a good introduction to the concept of "natural childbirth" (especially for women who think birth has to equal getting meds) and by the end of the class, a lot of the moms wanted to go natural.

My big problem with it is putting the DH in the role of coach.

And... as in the case with my class... there was very little time for relaxation exercises in the end.

Finally, as far as "making new friends?" I wish. Some women did keep in touch, but not me. It seemed like everyone was so shy (I found that annoying!)

I made wonderful friends at my local LLL meetings - some of whom follow part or all of my natural parenting philosophies.
post #8 of 26
We would have been Bradley dropouts if we had stayed in our first class. In that one we were one of 5 couples, but all of them were all having hospital births-we were the "homebirth couple" (and referred to as such). It was so annoying that by the second class we decided we couldn't go back.

Luckily we found a class (still Bradley) where the instructor was very pro ap-- family bed, gave cloth diapering info, not vaxing info-with an excellent pediatrician recommendation, spoke at length about the importance of a doula, the helpfulness of water during labor and birth etc. and the other parents in the class were homebirth/birth center people.

That said, I had back labor and didn't find any of the relaxation exercises helpful. We didn't do it again as a refresher for this pregnancy.

I think there is a huge range in style and quality among Bradley instructors. And I think the instructor should be able to address the flaws in the "Bradley Method" I really hated the "coach" idea-as spoken to in Birthing from Within. Cord blood banking is also a sore spot for me and I will go OT if I write any more.

I don't think you're grumpy-just expressing that you deserve more than you got. Good luck with your birth!
post #9 of 26
So what do you use instead? Hypnobirthing? Anything? I'm trying to learn more, and I find that there's nothing like learning from women who have done it before. This is my second child but my first natural birth with a midwife, so I'd love to hear about the alternatives you used.
post #10 of 26
Hmmm... my Bradley teacher was very AP and talked about family bed and circ and breastfeeding. We learned a lot of great information but there was also a lot of fluff, that probably goes for any class though. The relaxation exercises were a joke! I actually became very focused during labor and it would really irritate me to have my concentration disturbed by people telling me to 'relax' : Overall, it was worth it for us but it was very much 'this is the RIGHT way...', but that's part of the reason that in some circles Bradley folks have a rep for being 'militant' about birth.

Mike got a lot out of it as far as learning about the mechanics of labor and birth (and he still has his 'coach card' in his wallet, he was so proud of it) but as far as the actual labor goes, we use the "Lilyka" method... I tell him what to do and he does it... without question It works for us, LOL, and I highly reccomend it. We won't be doing a class this time, but I bought Susan McCutcheon's 'Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way' for a refresher. Check it out, Jean, I promise it's worth it. It has a wealth of info about the physical and emotional aspects of labor and birth that you just don't have time to explore in depth in a class situation.

I must say that we did'nt make any friends in our class... we were the freaks, everyone else was just way different from us, either way older or way more mainstream... kind of bummed me out as we did'nt know any other pregnant couples at the time and I had yet to find MDC.

XM
post #11 of 26
I also do not see why the great "methods" are all those by men. Lamaze, Bradley, Dick-Read...all vagina-less!

Same with Braxton-Hicks. These contractions are named after the man who "discovered" them, and not after the women who really experienced them. They couldn't even be given a neutral name, like "practice contractions."
post #12 of 26
Dh and I went to almost all our Bradley classes when I was pregnant with my son.
For the most part the classes were OK, I found the teacher talked like we were a bunch of kids that knew NOTHING... and that was annoying...
Another thing that bothered me was that she insisted we all sit on the ground, I found that VERY uncomfortable, with nothing but a pillow, I hated those two hours.

On the "funny" side, there was a couple there that were really kind of "odd" to say the least, and the one evening he sat down behind a desk that was in the office we held the classes in, and he hit his head - THUNK - WELL, I couldn't stop giggling, I swear, my whole body shook and shook and every now and then I BURST - I thought I was going to shoot something out my nose - that is to this day the FUNNIEST thing ever, I am LAUGHING AGAIN NOW!!!
(Every time I went back to class I laughed the moment I saw him)

Don't blame you for not going back - if we hadn't paid so much I think I would have quit too - but I just wanted to get SOMETHING out of the money I had paid.

Chelly
post #13 of 26
Quote:
So what do you use instead? Hypnobirthing? Anything? I'm trying to learn more, and I find that there's nothing like learning from women who have done it before. This is my second child but my first natural birth with a midwife, so I'd love to hear about the alternatives you used.
Mamaley, overall, I did love my Bradley class. I still recommend my instructor to everyone. (Unfortunately, she was pro-circ, so I got no help there, and the biggest regret in my life is consenting to the circ. I would have LOVED if someone gave me the "low-down" on alternative practices.)

My instructor was pretty good, covering all the bases (except the relaxation part.)

For relaxation, I took HypnoBirthing classes which I ****highly*** recommend. I was so relaxed, my entire 20 hour labor was painfree.

And HypnoBirthing is not meant to "replace" any other childbirth class. HypnoBirthing only focuses on hypnosis for relaxation (not nutrition, presentation, labor stages, importance of movement during labor, blah, blah, everything else that Bradley emphasizes).

I wrote my HypnoBirthing birth story in this thread:
http://216.92.20.151/discussions/sho...threadid=36570

My thoughts on Bradley vs. HypnoBirthing:
http://www.babycenter.com/bbs/10516/.../message6.html
post #14 of 26
posted double
post #15 of 26
We had a real flaky instructor, who just kept telling us about our cervixes opening up like a flooooo-wer so the baaaaay-beeeee could come out.

We didn't learn much, but the class did have an unintentional positive effect. We were both very insecure and very nervous about the whole labor and delivery thing, and the class enabled us to laugh at the instructor together, and to get ready in our own way for our baaaaaay-beeeee.

I was induced pretty harshly, and relaxation was NOT something I was capable of. I was so pi$$ed off at the hospital (this was NOT planned!) and dh, who didn't want to leave the hospital ama (okay, I WAS pretty bad LOL), didn't dare to get near me to tell me to relax from my footsies upward

And yeah, as if Mr Bradley figured out how to birth a child.

PS in Holland BraxtonHicks are called "hard bellies."
post #16 of 26
We had a good experience, but ours was an atypical class. DH and I took private instruction on his Thursday nights off...it was great, a really informed, enthusiastic homebirth momma taught us, in this room full of windows looking out on moonlit snow (the only negative part of the class experiecne was driving up the mountain to her home in the snow!)
We had a hospital birthcenter birth; I labored in a whirlpool most of the time I was there. I knew how to do the relaxation from all the years I refused Novacaine for dental procedures (taught myself at age 9!), so I didn't have to do any sort of exercises; when a contraction hit, I just put myself back in that dentist's chair
I too would have been bugged if DH acted like a "coach". I do think that that's such a male concept, but I think that is kinda Doc Bradley's point: he wanted to get the dads into the delivery room, and he knows that guys are apt to stand around helpless unless they have a job to do...and that back in his day, that would have been a good excuse to get them kicked out...

DH learned so much about the emotional stuff surrounding labor, and was so in tuned to me...I think without the class, he would have been too afraid for me to have been any help, KWIM? As it.s is, he just planted himself in front of me so i could rub my face on his chest with each contraction--don't know why, it just worked for me!. Poor guy's knees were killing him from kneeling next to the tub for hours (it was too small for him to get in, and really, I didn't need anyone touching me, thank you very much...)

I would recommend Bradley to another person, but then I never had to deal with other people, and the instructor quickly figured out our level of understanding and tailored it to us...And I think DH's personailty has to be taken into consideration. If he decided all this "coach" talk gave him permission to run the show, uh, he'd be in the hallway!!!
post #17 of 26
I think part of the issue may be that if you have self-educated a great deal about birth then a lot of the class is bound to be redundant. I had not. Before I started Bradley class I was reading "What to Expect" everyday. By the end of the twelve week class (well, I actually gave birth before the end, but...) I had done a complete 180! I had known I wanted to avoid drugs... that's all I knew about 'natural'. I ended up with an awesome home birth, totally natural, co-sleeping, still BFing at 2 1/2 years, etc... and I really think all those seeds were planted by my Bradley instructor.
post #18 of 26
we are so dissappionted that there are no bradely instructors in our area. i read the books and love it. my husband wont be here for the birth so i am giving the book to my mother to read. she has has 5 births and i think would still benifit from it. Yes its "created" by a man but i think even he would tell you that he is only writing down what he sees happens naturally in animal births. as far as making the husband the coach i really liked how the whole think was really for the husband and not for the women it was interesting stuff on how he can notice the natural signals of labor progression and that centemeters dialated dont mean anything.

i wonder if everyone that didnt like the classes read the books. i have heard that most of the stuff in the book isnt presented in the classes at all and the instructor choses what is most important to him/her.

i cant recomend the classes because i havent gotten to go to them but the books are excellent!!!!

sounds like a lot of peoples problems started with their instructors.
post #19 of 26
I was not happy with the Bradley Method either. I learned from my first birth that it is also important to be surrounded by supportive women, in addition to my husband. My dh was great, but he didn't really know what I was going through. Also, I don't want to be "coached" this time, just supported.
post #20 of 26
We sort of dropped out - actually we were planning to and then the woman just cancelled her course - what a nightmare!!! She's the only instructor in our area. Basically 6 couples signed up for the course and only 2 couples showed up - us and some other people we knew. The woman was a total born again and let us know about every 5 min. The first class was ok, the second was pretty unprofessional, the third a disaster. Her husband was out of town so she had to watch her 2 kids and teach the class at the same time - when her son started terrorizing the cat, she popped in a video for us and then took him upstairs to spank him. You could hear her smacking him with a paddle or something and he was wailing SO loud! If feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it. Anyway, we basically left to never come back and she called and told me that this course just wasn't working out for her and that she'd give us our money back! Anyway, it all worked out for the best because we took the mainstream course at the hospital which was taught by a wonderful doula who we hired for our birth. We did use the Bradley breathing during labor and it was very helpful - but my doula coached me through all of it and I really didn't need to read anything about it!
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