There are LOTS of things I love about being a BabyNatal teacher and part of The Natal Family. It truly feels really special to be invited by parents-to-be to play a part in the amazing journey they’re on. But there’s a lot more that makes it such a wonderful experience: working with the very knowledgeable and inspirational Steph and Dean, meeting and working with the other lovely BabyNatal teachers, having learnt about reflecting practice, attending the CPD days, working at the Baby Shows, travelling up and down the country with super mum-of-twins Lara, teaching the classes, meeting other professional and parents… The list goes on!
But here are my top 3 most special moments since becoming a BabyNatal teacher.
1) The first time I received baby news and baby photo
I was terrified before teaching my very first class. I had completed the training not too long before, and it was really my first experience as a teacher. More than anything, I was scared that the parents would feel how worried and nervous I was and wouldn’t enjoy the class; but luckily the class went very well. I received very good feedback, and the parents seemed to really appreciate what we discussed. I left them that evening (as I have done with every couple since) asking them to let me know how it all went and when the baby had arrived, and about 20 days later I received an email from mum giving me the great news that baby had safely arrived and everyone was well, and attached was a photo of their cute newborn baby girl! It was amazing to think that amongst all the family and friends they had to inform about the arrival of their daughter, they thought of their BabyNatal teacher, who sat on their living room floor for over 3 hours talking about nappies and cutting nails (and a lot of other useful bits and pieces!)
2) The day when a couple re-arranged their nursery furniture during our class
I was giving a private class to a lovely couple once, and when we started talking about what they needed for nappy changing, they invited me to go the room that they were getting ready for their baby, so I could have a look at their changing table and at the other things they had bought. Once we were in there, I thought it’d be great to just practice changing baby’s (i.e. my training doll) nappy in the room, seeing that that’s where they would have done it once their baby had arrived. So I did my demo, and when it came to the parents trying, it was a matter of minutes before mum started noticing how impractical the way they had temporarily arranged the furniture was. I didn’t say a word – in fact, I didn’t really have an opinion. It’s their bedroom, their furniture, their baby – they need to do what works for them, so I was very careful not to influence them in any way with my own preferences or habits.
Within minutes though, mum started noticing she had nowhere to put the things she needed (spare nappy, cotton wool, bowl of water etc.). The chest of drawers was far away as well, and she had nowhere to put the clean clothes whilst changing the nappy, so she would have had to pick the baby up, get the clothes and come back with baby to get baby dressed etc. So they decided, there and then, to move things around in the room so that they could move around a lot more efficiently and comfortably. I thought that was an invaluable part of the class! Had they not decided to take the class, they would have found this out once the baby had arrived, and of course, things can be changed then as well, but it was great that they had the chance to picture themselves looking after baby in baby’s room and thought of a better way to organise it. This is what a BabyNatal Practical Baby Care class can do for you!
3) The day I gave a mum the confidence to follow her instincts
We’re all about telling parents to follow their instincts in our classes, but sometimes I do wonder whether parents really remember that when the day comes that they feel uncertain about something, and they’re torn about what they think they ‘should’ do vs what they feel they ‘want’ to do. Of course I ask myself that because I’ve been there many times as a mum, and to a certain extent I do still ask myself, at times, whether I should consider what ‘everyone else’ is doing…
Anyway, back to my story – a few months ago, I was at a Baby Show giving a 45 minute class on Sleep. I had several expectant couples in the room, and a mum with an 8 month old baby girl who was looking for some advice on how to get her daughter to sleep better. The Sleep class is really aimed at expectant and very new parents and therefore goes through sleep patterns for new born and gentle techniques to prepare baby for sleep etc. Of course, this is not necessarily new information to a mum with an older baby, so I asked the mum to stay behind at the end of the class to discuss any further questions she may have.
At the end of the class, that lady stood up and was on her way out. When I asked her if she wanted to stay behind and talk about anything else, she said to me: “You know what? I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing. My sister-in-law followed all sorts of sleep training advice and ended up struggling for months with her son. He now finally sleeps better, but I feel that the process was very traumatic for everyone involved, and I don’t want us to go through that at home. This class just gave me the reassurance and the confidence to do what I feel is right for me, my baby and my family, and I now understand that I don’t have to do anything differently, just because other people are doing it or pressuring me to do it. It’s about having the choice to do what’s right for us, so thank you for that”.
Need I say more? THIS is what being a BabyNatal teacher is all about, and when a parent has been empowered to follow their instincts, I’ve done my job!
Sara is a mum of two and BabyNatal teacher for West London.
Find out more about Sara and her classes, including the BabyNatal Practical Baby Care and Sleep Workshops, on our main website here.