There’s so much to know about childbirth, and it seems like the whole world wants to tell you what they know. Wouldn’t it be great, though, if all you needed to know about birth made clear was in one place? If someone compassionate and focused on empowering you in your birth journey was at your fingertips? We spoke with certified doula and childbirth educator Chava Allgood with Birth Made Clear, and found that resource was even closer than you might think.
Whether it’s your first child or your seventh, there’s no denying that knowledge about empowering you in your birth is scattered. This was what certified doula and childbirth educator Chava Allgood found after she’d given birth to her fourth child. While her son was happy and healthy, Chava’s experience with her doctor’s poor bedside manner sent her on a journey to empower women and help them know of all their options when it came to natural childbirth and joy in the experience.
We got together with Chava to talk about the importance of that knowledge, and the natural birth classes online that gave birth to Birth Made Clear that she offers as a childbirth educator.
Q: What was your inspiration for creating Birth Made Clear Natural Childbirth Classes Online?
A: I used to think that all women gave birth in the same way. My fourth birth opened my eyes to the fact that providers can practice quite differently from each other. As I began searching for answers and information, it became clear to me that all of the knowledge that women need for an empowered birth is scattered. I wanted to gather all of the resources together to help them easily access the information that I had to look so hard to find. With Birth Made Clear, I’m not just a childbirth educator; I’m a partner in a learning journey that takes all the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gathered and makes it clear and easy to understand. With my natural birth classes online, I can do what I do in person, but with a broader scope and with the resources of so many childbirth tools in one place. After thorough research and a truly empowered birth with my fifth child, I finally knew what birth could be. I want every woman to feel that empowerment, and to know what they can do in their birthing journeys to maximize their comfort. I want them to feel enabled to make choices that best meet their personal needs. That’s what Birth Made Clear is all about.
Q: What exactly will one find when they visit Birth Made Clear?
A: They will find life-changing information gleaned from the expansive wisdom that exists in our vast natural birth world. Many methods focus on techniques and provide parents with a specific set of instructions or a set path to follow. Birth Made Clear is different because we want you and your partner to understand WHY the various techniques and measures work. Too often, childbirth is a mystery. Birth is hidden in our culture and the ancient wisdom handed down from one generation to another was lost with the modern move to industrialize everything. When birth moved to a factory type setting, so much of the wisdom surrounding comfort in labor was lost along with personalized care. With Birth Made Clear natural birth classes online, we reclaim this knowledge. We show you a wide variety of resources, tools and knowledge bases that will help you build the birth experience that is best for you. As a childbirth educator, I want couples to feel confident choosing the childbirth path that best meets their needs. I’ve given birth seven times and each experience was an enriching, transforming and meaningful one, but not all of them were empowering. The three births that I had, after learning all of the things that I now teach online, were truly empowering. I want every mom to feel safe and nurtured during her labor, and I want her to feel strong and confident with what she’s learned in our natural birth classes online.
Q: What specifically do you want women who visit Birth Made Clear To Learn?
A: I want women to see the possibilities before them in a coherent framework. In addition to this foundation of understanding the laboring body and the inner workings of the birth process, I work hard to provide expectant parents with a wide variety of tools, techniques and skills to empower them further to confidently choose what works best for them in any moment. I feel that many methods unintentionally constrict women by choosing a path for them to follow. I don’t want to limit their resources. I want to expand them. The foundation of understanding instills confidence and the resources and knowledge open up the options. I see myself as a facilitator, handing over the keys to open a treasure trove of information that has been so generously gifted to us over the years by the many inspirational and knowledgeable experts I’ve learned wisdom from. They had the curiosity to find out what brought women comfort. They had a passion to help them. I share that curiosity and passion with them.
Q: Who are those experts who have been inspirational in your life and learning journey?
A: I bring together the messages from experts who have been trying to help women over the last 100 years: Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, Dr. Michel Odent, Sheila Kitzinger, Dr. Brewer, Dr. Marsden Wagner, Ina May…those are just a few of my inspirations and resources. They have shared so much with us. I feel that many methods have emerged to help women in various ways, but none of them completely open up the possibilities. I seek to bring all of this wisdom together. I want to unite all of these beautiful gifts that these giants have imparted to us, and combine the principles they laid forth to reveal a deeper understanding of how to help make birth safer, more comfortable, even ecstatic. These people each uncovered a critical piece of the puzzle, and I feel that we are at a point where we finally have a larger picture. I’m merely presenting that picture. I’m bringing those puzzle pieces together for couples to look at in a unified way.
Q: What would you liken Birth Made Clear Natural Childbirth Classes Online to?
A: Imagine you were building a house and someone gave you a wall or a door. Maybe they gave you a room in the house or a stairwell. You may even be given a few really good tools. It is possible to make a decent structure out of these items, but without a complete tool box and most importantly, without a thorough foundation, the house may not stand. Many childbirth education classes are like this. They are often missing the complete framework.
In contrast, imagine that someone helps you lay a strong and solid foundation first. They provide you with clear instructions and background information on how and why the parts work. You are then given all of the walls, rooms, fixtures and tools you need to build a beautiful home that you can customize to meet your unique and individualized needs. This is what we do for you! We give you both the solid foundation and a full tool kit with techniques, skills, and comfort measures, so that you are empowered to use them! Whether it’s your first or seventh childbirth, you can have an empowering birth through knowledge of how your body works and a deeper understanding of why different comfort measures and tools might be effective. This can set you on the path to a satisfying and joyful birth that meets your unique needs.
Q: What Does Birth Made Clear Offer To Mothers and Their Partners?
A: We work very hard to meet each couples’ individual needs with an empowerment-based approach. When parents have developed a full set of skills and tools, along with a clear understanding of how to use them, they can apply them to whatever path they choose. Parents are truly in charge of the process. Moms know how to work with their bodies and their partners know how to confidently enhance the process. With this knowledge, they can individualize their path to meet their unique needs. With our natural birth classes online, we offer a couple of different options.
We have group classes where couples are part of group Zoom sessions but also have individualized phone, email and text support with an assigned birth mentor. All the online class materials and resources are available at any time. It mirrors what you might find in a traditional birth class but with so much more information and room for individual birth needs and preferences.
I encourage parents to choose providers that share their goals. The number one thing parents can do to make it more likely for their preferences to be respected is to choose a location and care provider who line up with those preferences. In the event that couples need to face a provider with conflicting beliefs about birth, then communication strategies are often going to be more productive than a written or predetermined plan. This is why we prepare parents for practically any eventuality. We go over scenarios to empower them with effective strategies to help them achieve their goals. We help parents build the skills they will need to make those preferences happen in real-time through communication, reminders for one another and the staff, knowledge of the inner workings of the system and practice asserting themselves to gain informed consent or empowering them to decline an offered procedure if they decide it isn’t right for them. We work to protect the mother no matter the scenario, and we empower couples to know how to do that. We do this, and so much more.
Additionally, we offer an Independent Learning option. With this option, you’ll have eight sessions of online classroom learning at your own pace, as well as the phone/email and text support with an assigned birth mentor you’d have in a group session. You can have access to 3 optional role-play sessions on Zoom if you choose. We find these are really great for bringing up things that are individual with each mother and addressing them before birth. Of course, you have email, text and phone support.
We also offer private Zoom sessions where you have access to online class materials and resources, as well as our community forum, and it’s just you and your partner learning one on one with an instructor about natural childbirth together.
Our four core classes offer different information, and together, tie all the wisdom and knowledge of so many incredible natural birth experts up in one easy-to-access place for you. Each class has two sessions, a session for learning and a session for application. The learning session presents all of the foundational material in a concise and engaging format. Then with the application session, this learning is applied through breathing, relaxation, guided visualizations, contraction rehearsal, exploring comfort measures, engaging and fun interactive activities and more.
Class one works on the six core concepts you need to maximize comfort in labor. Class two takes you in-depth into the stages of labor and we teach you what you need to know about each stage. Class three is all about special circumstances. Whether you choose a hospital, a home birth or a birthing center, we want you to have information that will help you to have the most satisfying situation wherever you are. Each birth journey is unique and with the information you learn in class three, you’ll feel ready to make wise decisions for you and your baby. Class four is about breastfeeding, infant care and postpartum wellness. So much of a natural childbirth class online focuses on having the baby; we take the time in class four to share about how to take care of you and the baby after it’s born.
Q: Anything else you want us to know about Birth Made Clear or natural childbirth classes online in general?
A: As a childbirth educator, it’s my job to help you know all you can about your pregnancy, your birth and your postpartum. There’s tons of information and I’ve gotten it all together and share it in a way that’s accessible and makes the birth process clear. Hence, Birth Made Clear. But as a woman and a mom, I want to take away your fear about the birth process and give you confidence. I want to instill in you the belief that you’re the amazing woman you are, and with a foundational knowledge of the birth process to help you apply the tools and skills that you will learn about birth, you’ll be able to make confident choices for you. This will not just make you feel like a stronger woman, but a stronger mom, and at the end of the day, that’s the best feeling in the world!