Thursday, September 23, 2010

Teaching Again

I didn't want to teach a childbirth class.

Teaching a childbirth class involves making myself available for 2+ hours one night every week, for 12 weeks in a row. Regardless of what other crazy nonsense is going on in my life, which can be... considerable.

Or not.

Depends on the week.

Truthfully, I don't know what I'm doing an hour from now, let alone 10 weeks from now. Such is the Zen of my current lifestyle. Making a commitment to a 12 week series is more structure than I'm used to managing.

This is not to say that my life isn't without structure - I'm at the dojang 4-5 days out of 7 learning all about structure and self-discipline. But if I have a crazy day or something comes up or I don't feel like going, no one's going to miss me there.

It's not like leaving 5 couples sitting there with their pillows and blankets and workbooks wondering where their teacher is.

So I didn't want to do it. But it's good money and I pay dues to stay certified every year, and they really needed a teacher for this class, so I reluctantly said okay.

And of course, I'm glad I did. Sometimes life puts you directly in the circumstances in which you most need to be, and this was one of them.

For one thing, I love this group. I always say that, but this time there are 10 wonderful people I'm getting to know, which is 4-6 more than I usually have the privilege to teach in one class. Over the remaining 10 weeks of class, I will watch them get to know each other too, and will undoubtedly see them at La Leche League meetings with their babies, getting together for walking and playdates, possibly making lasting friendships with each other. A friend recently told me I had a gift for bringing people together, and it made me feel so good to hear that, because it really is something I enjoy so much.

I also love being the first one to introduce these new parents to some of the ideas and methods that might turn out to define their parental identity and their relationship with this baby and any subsequent babies.

I always think back to Debbie, our own Bradley teacher - and how radical she seemed to us at the time. We came to her looking for drug-free childbirth and came away with that, but also with breastfeeding, La Leche League, and indirectly - attachment parenting, co-sleeping, babywearing, extended breastfeeding, and homeschooling. Honestly, we thought she was nuts at the time. But little by little, we began to see the wisdom behind her radical ideas - and the calm, nuturing example she set - and we saw this as something we wanted to emulate in our own family.

Every new couple I can introduce to a new and "radical" idea becomes part of the ripple effect that Debbie started in us - and many of them will embrace and pass these ideas along to their own circles of influence. It's a great feeling to run into a former student and see her still nursing her toddler or studying to become a Bradley teacher or La Leche League Leader herself because she wanted to share her birthing and parenting skills with other new parents and help shape the culture around her.

It feeds a hungry place in my soul, and tonight I'm feeling so grateful for this class, for my family who picks up the slack at home so that I can do it, and to Holly, who twisted my arm.

Holly, who was my yoga teacher, my Bradley student, a La Leche Leage mom, and who now has her own business where she brings natural birthing, attachment parenting, and natural baby care classes and resources to the community. The ripple effect she's putting into motion every day is truly amazing. I am blessed to know her - and thrilled to be teaching again.


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