Childbirth Educators in very rural areas... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 12-14-2009, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi professionals. I am feeling called to get my childbirth educator certification. I'm looking into ALACE. My DH wants me to check first with those who live in very rural areas and are CBE. How do you fair? I'm in rural Appalachia (Kentucky). In a two county area there are no childbirth classes aside from a one evening at the hospital to prepare you for checking in and such as is typical hospital birth. My DH worries that most women could care less and I wouldn't get any clients. I don't want to believe that. I want to believe that if there were an affordable choice I would have enough clients to make it worthwhile. Of course, I would want to teach natural childbirth methods first and foremost, but I'd also prepare my clients for interventions if they are needed. I'd love to hear from some rural CBE. Has it been worthwhile for you? It is a large sum for us to spend for me to become certified if I don't have a viable option of service to our rural women.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#2 of 18 Old 12-15-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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I cant really help you on how many people would take the class or how much you could make from it. I am in the process of becoming certified with IBWP (formerly ALACE) and I dont expect to make much if any. I live in TN and from what I know there isnt an independent cbe series within 2 hours of where I live. Im not expecting women to spend a few hundred dollars to take my class when they can take the hospital class for free. People dont make a lot of money here, but its still important to me to get the information out to women in my area. Honestly within the last year I havent heard of one women having a natural birth or breastfeeding. Women are very turned off by the idea of natural childbirth and breastfeeding here but I know there are some out there that will be happy I can help. So If I can break even I will be happy, I dont need to make any additonal money because my dh is the bread winner in the family but you may be in a different situation. For me its more about helping and getting the information out to people. Im very lucky to not have to make money to support our family.

I hope you can find the right path for you. Where in KY are you? Im about 5min form the TN/KY boarder. PM me if you want more info on the course.
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#3 of 18 Old 12-15-2009, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hram - I agree with you. I want to just help to and get out in the world myself. However, I do need to bring in some money. DH is working way too hard right now and we are living very very modestly. $803 is a lot to spend for us if I don't make it back at the very least.

There is a yoga studio that has just opened and they charge $10 a class and are doing pretty good. There is also a chiropractor that adjusts pregnant ladies. Many of the women who want a natural birth travel about an hour away to a midwifery school for their care. There is a tiny natural health store close by. I'm hoping that the fact that these things exist and have existed for some time will be good for me too. There isn't many options for women in our area and I'm so sad about it. I was one of those women who was seeking a natural birth and couldn't find it until it was already too late. I didn't know enough. I want to bring change in my region. Can I do that when we don't have money to spare? I don't know. I just want to have hope. Eventually I'd like to be a doula as well.

I'm on the Kentucky/Virginia border in southeastern Kentucky.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#4 of 18 Old 12-16-2009, 11:21 AM
 
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I hope it works out for you. It sounds like your area is really needing someone to bring the information to the public. Do they have the required reading list on thier site? If not maybe you could email them and get that and start reading. A lot of those books you could check out from the library and amazon usually has most of them for just a few dollars. You know I just had a thought. I was asking the email group for used manuals and there were quite a few a few months ago. I will check and see if anyone has some left if you want me to.
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#5 of 18 Old 12-20-2009, 12:00 AM
 
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Hey! Conicidentally, I just came across your blog today via my Google Alerts (for "childbirth education") and was going to leave a comment on your most recent post! I didn't end up having time and bookmarked it to come back to instead. I don't have much time to respond right now, but I consider myself a rural CBE. My neighboring town is 16,000 people--how does that compare to you? (I actually live in our straw bale house 22 miles away from this town.) I get clients from about a 30 miles raidus (60 miles if you include the distance to get to my house). I do not "make a living" from my CBE business exactly, but I'm as busy as I'd like to be. I've had clients every single month this year and this month I actually had to turn a client away because I was too booked with other clients. My niche has been to teach classes one-on-one, rather than try to amass enough couples with similar due dates to do a group class. This has worked great for me and perhaps would be an answer for you too--I just go to their houses (charging mileage if it is more than 30 miles from me) and that eliminates the overhead of having to rent a space, etc. It is also very personal and "customized" and I really develop a strong relationship with my clients.

I am the only independent educator in my area (again, like a 60 mile radius). There are "free" birth classes at the hospital in my main town and also in a town about 30 miles away.

My website link is in my profile and you can read about the kinds of classes I do there, if you'd like.

I don't want to offend anyone, so I will just say as briefly as possible that my original certification is with ALACE (perfect for rural mamas who can't travel to a workshop) and I would NOT recommend training with them at this time. Despite my heart connection to their mission and vision, the organization is a tremendous state of flux, is undescribably disorganized and non-reponsive and at this point I think you would be very lucky to even get a response to your money/enrollment at this time. I would not trust that you would hear anything back from you if you enrolled. I keep my mouth shut as much as possible about them, but I cannot ethically stand by and "let" someone sign up with them "blind" at this point. I also trained with ALACE for doula training. Trained with DONA for pp doula training (not thrilled with them either, but for much different reasons than my disillusionment with ALACE).

In March, I took the ICEA exam and am now certified with them. I am also enrolled in the dual certification option with CAPPA at this point. A handy benefit of being certified with ALACE (with no workshop required) is that it has now been super simple to get certified with other organizations too--just take their exam, basically, rather than do all the original cert. requirements. If I was starting over, I can't say that I'd make different choices, because I've been happy with where my original choices have taken me. However, if the slate was really wiped clean and I was starting fresh, I'd probably go with Childbirth International or Birth Arts if I could only do distance (both have distance CBE options) or I'd go with Lamaze if travel was an option. Birthing from Within training was my original dream and I haven't yet manifested that one!

Best wishes with your path. It is a beautiful one.

(I also hope to get back to your blog, because I have a lot of thoughts/comments about what you'd posted there.)

Molly--mama to two sons (9/03 and 5/06), one tiny son forever in my heart (14w5d, 11/09), and one early m/c 2/10. Gave birth to my rainbow baby girl in 2011 and surprised to welcome another rainbow in October, 2014!
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#6 of 18 Old 12-20-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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Just clarifying why I consider myself to be rural--I know 16,000 people can sound like a LOT to some people or like almost none to others, so I don't know which it will be to you!--I am 22 miles from any towns. That is rural, IMO. I drive to my clients. I am toying with the notion of making them drive to me instead...kind of the "if you build it" idea.

I have a website/blog and that is my very best tool for finding clients. Almost all of them come from my website or from word-of-mouth referrals (most from site though). If you search for "birth classes" and [my town] mine is the first site to pop up in google. I recommend this approach!

Molly--mama to two sons (9/03 and 5/06), one tiny son forever in my heart (14w5d, 11/09), and one early m/c 2/10. Gave birth to my rainbow baby girl in 2011 and surprised to welcome another rainbow in October, 2014!
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#7 of 18 Old 12-20-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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I am a midwife in very rural area. Our "big town" is about 13,000 people. There are a lot of women who would benefit from classes, but they don't have a lot of money. I have been working with the nurse who teaches the classes at the. hospital (for free). She is very pro-natural birth, and our little bitty hospital is pretty non-interventive. I think there are a lot of women in my community who would be willing to pay for the classes (the more "green" people who live up here and farm and have more money). So, I could see the money being an issue, but it would be a great service for the women in your area. I know I would refer women to someone if we had it. I feel that independant classes (outside of the hospital) are very important for all women!
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#8 of 18 Old 12-20-2009, 11:45 PM
 
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Me again, taking back what I said earlier about if I was totally starting over--if I was, I would go with CAPPA (they have a distance option). The actual program isn't as good as ALACE's in terms of depth and breadth and connection (for me), but the organization is very solid and very "together" and has a wonderful amount of teamwork (full disclosure--I am on the leadership board for CAPPA).

Molly--mama to two sons (9/03 and 5/06), one tiny son forever in my heart (14w5d, 11/09), and one early m/c 2/10. Gave birth to my rainbow baby girl in 2011 and surprised to welcome another rainbow in October, 2014!
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#9 of 18 Old 12-22-2009, 01:34 AM
 
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IBWP has been a little slow but I havent had as many problems as some people. I order my manual in 08 and got it very quick. The feed back on the modules have always taken a few weeks with the exception of the last one I sent in which has been a few months. But that doesnt stop me from doing any work, I just work on each mod and my reading. But when I have emailed questions usually they answered very quick. Some people are having a difficult time although Im not sure on what. I have taken a break because of moving. I chose the orgainization because of their philosophy. I would have chosen Birthing From Within but the cost and requirements were not somethign I could commit to. I would still chose a program that was slow and that shared my view on birth rather than one that doesnt. Thats just me. There are lots of organizations out there, I hope you find the one that fits you.
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#10 of 18 Old 12-22-2009, 06:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hram View Post
I would still chose a program that was slow and that shared my view on birth rather than one that doesnt. Thats just me. There are lots of organizations out there, I hope you find the one that fits you.
Absolutely--having a philosophy match is very important! However, it is also important to have an organization who is going to be responsive and also to "back you up" after you are certified. I became disillusioned with ALACE/IBWP when they did not return the reference phone calls of someone verifying my certification status for a job--they foundation ended up not hiring me, even though I was their "first choice" because they "couldn't feel comfortable with your certifying organization." So, the organization's skills/reputation don't only matter to me, they matter to other people also and at that moment I was horrified to discover that my cert with ALACE was a liability rather than an asset.

I am a match with the philosophies of my other certifying orgs as well, just not in that "connected" way I felt with ALACE in the beginning.

Molly--mama to two sons (9/03 and 5/06), one tiny son forever in my heart (14w5d, 11/09), and one early m/c 2/10. Gave birth to my rainbow baby girl in 2011 and surprised to welcome another rainbow in October, 2014!
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#11 of 18 Old 12-23-2009, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've definitely decided to go with CBE certification. I was pretty set with ALACE, but this worries me. I have never had any delay in my conversations with them so far. I have talked with them on the phone, and all three of my emails have been answered promptly. They have been quicker even the Childbirth International.
One of the reasons I have thought about ALACE is that they are willing to cater some of the assignments to me as it is likely I will not be able to attend any births before certification and there are no childbirth classes in the area at all to attend/observe. So far they are the only ones willing to work with me.

The closest town to us has about 6,000 people. The hospital closest to us has one OB his assistant and a CNM who delivers babies. Yearly, the OB delivers about 300, the assistant 100, and the CNM 70. The CNM answers to the OB, and he is not very natural friendly. He likes intervention, and I have found that they are really overworked. The next closest town might have 10,000 people. The county seat of our town might have 3,000. I would probably work a 3 county area.
We are very rural - very rural. The economy is also in a downturn as is the rest of the US, but it is tremendous here. Right now our economy is very dependent on coal, which is sad. At most, I'd probably only be able to charge $100 for my course to get anyone to sign on. I'm still going for it. Eventually, I'll make my $803 back. Also, I don't have a lot of money. We live very very modestly and $803 is much more affordable for me than most of the others.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#12 of 18 Old 12-23-2009, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#13 of 18 Old 12-23-2009, 10:49 PM
 
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nak

I agree with Molly about the problems with IBWP/ALACE. I have completed my training with them but I don't foresee being certified for quite some time due to slow and no response. I began the process in July 2009. I knew about the problems ahead of time so it has not been a source of stress to me. For me, being "certified" doesn't matter that much right now. Being well educated and capable of teaching is what matters to me. If you want to know more about my experience with IBWP, PM me.

You could consider training yourself, based on the training of the orgs you like. Or simply obtaining an ALACE manual and not getting certified but doing the work. I might have done that in retrospect. I do love the ALACE training.

I am planning to take the ICEA exam if at any time I want or need to be officially certified. But that can only happen if IBWP gets back to me and eventually certifies me. I do not think that cert from IBWP means much at this time, nor do I think they are actively training anyone. You get the training materials but very little feedback.

Michelle, wife to Ryan, mommy to Gabriel 6/23/2007 and Susanna 9/19/2009
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#14 of 18 Old 01-08-2011, 06:27 PM
 
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Curious if IBWP is doing any better now that they've had another year to sort things out? Thinking of getting certified through them soon, but don't want to make a bad move. ;) Wondering if anyone has recent experience with them to update on?


JAMIE


Loving wife. Mama to five crazy kids. Follower of Jesus. Doula & Childbirth Educator.

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#15 of 18 Old 01-08-2011, 06:40 PM
 
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Jamie, no they are not.  The ALACE curriculum is great, but the organization is gone.  I'm planning on getting certified through Lamaze - the Passion for Birth workshop - because I can get it paid for through a military spouse program.  I'm teaching now with my ALACE training, but that only works for me because I'm teaching privately, not for a hospital/birth center.  I doubt anyone would hire me with my ALACE training since I can't prove anything and they are no longer a respected organization.


Michelle, wife to Ryan, mommy to Gabriel 6/23/2007 and Susanna 9/19/2009
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#16 of 18 Old 01-08-2011, 08:30 PM
 
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Thanks for responding. I've been browsing Childbirth International's website tonight and it looks promising. Guess I'll go with them instead. ;)


JAMIE


Loving wife. Mama to five crazy kids. Follower of Jesus. Doula & Childbirth Educator.

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#17 of 18 Old 01-09-2011, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went ahead and certified with Lamaze - Passion for Birth, and I'm glad I did.  I has gone so well, and I really do love Lamaze as an organization.


Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#18 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 12:29 PM
 
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I'm a rural CBE. My town is less than 1,000 and the "city" for my county is only 10,000. There is a hospital there and they do offer a 6 week course for free but only to women who are giving birth there. We actually have a good number of homebirthing women here and I get clients from the state below me (I'm on the border) and some women come from an hour away. It took about 6 months to get my first client, and I only  had a few for awhile. But after awhile things picked up. I'm on break now until the fall of 2011 because I have a nursing infant and don't have back up for my older son until then.


~Attatchment and Natural Parent from instincts not from books to my 2 boys~ Childbirth Educator & Placental Encapsulation Professional
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