On behalf of DTI’s childbirth educator community we’re excited to introduce you to Rachel Adler, a doula and educator offering birth & postpartum services and childbirth classes in the Los Angeles area. You can find Rachel on Instagram @Doulaworks or thedoulaworks.com.
Tell us about your work (family life included) so far this year. How has your childbirth educator training influenced your path?
This year has been about getting into a bit of a rhythm between work and family life. I wouldn’t say it’s quite there yet (actually I wouldn’t say it’s there at all yet!), but I’m working on it. Having the edu training has been a big part of that because it has enabled me to work more without having to add more of that challenge of on-call work to the mix.
What would you say are the trends in birth education in your area?
It feels to me like there a huge groundswell in the education space and I’m so grateful for it. Rather than just pushing “natural” or “unmedicated” or some kind of specified approach to pregnancy, birth and parenting, there seems to be the move toward an understanding that every family is different and that these resources are important for EVERYONE.
Top 3 things to remember when you’re teaching a class:
-Consider birth as an experience that each of these people is about to have, rather than a process to describe in great detail- getting stuck in trying to memorize an anatomy lesson can really take away from the essence of what the larger goal is. You can always note where in the material they can find this info, or offer more detailed resources to anyone expressing great interest.
-Each person brings their own anxieties, experiences and concerns to the table. It may be the quiet partner who surprises you with something so enriching or profound- make a lot of room to listen and create space for different learning and communication styles.
-Check the clock! I’ve had to start setting a timer for different sections as I go along…I tend to get so engaged and excited that I don’t even realize what’s happening until the time is up! It also helps to keep me checking in with my clients and their specific needs rather than just the material itself.
What’s special about the classes you want to teach? How do you set them apart?
I am currently teaching private classes in the space of each birthing person’s home. I’m finding more and more that this really gives me the space and time to connect deeply and personally with their needs, and to observe cues and clues about their style and approach to birth and life that I wouldn’t otherwise have. It is really exciting to be able to shift gears mid-series or even mid-class to accommodate a burning question, or something that they are signaling needs more exploration. It is so deeply rewarding to see the work that you’ve done in your education show up in the birth space or the postpartum time. I’m also working hard to dive further into the postpartum experience for working mothers especially. I would love to be a part of the solution in terms of truly changing the way women are supported in the workplace and in their professional goals outside of their roles as mothers.
What prompted your decision to train as a childbirth educator?
I had just started approaching my first few clients as a doula and a couple things became very clear very quickly. 1.I really enjoyed the prenatal sessions and felt like the most impact I was able to have was in the time spent preparing with clients. Even after adding one extra (to make a total of 3 prenatals) I felt like what was needed was a more deep and detailed informational and emotional exchange. 2. I wanted to work more, but was not able to take on more on-call time. In adding the education offering, I am able to both work more, AND do more of the work that I find most impactful for my clients.
What do you love most about teaching?
I love being able to truly lay the groundwork for the attitudes and assumptions that people bring into their birthing and parenting experiences. There are so many misconceptions about birth – one’s rights to consent, the physical process itself, postpartum expectations…I consider it such important work to fully inform people and to further inspire them to be their own advocates and eventually advocates for their children as well. For me, that is at the heart of this work.
Describe your classroom. What’s your favorite way to set up your space?
I am usually in the clients’ space which I love. I encourage them to be comfortable and also set up examples of the comforts and items that I would have on hand in their birthing space. Tea lights, essential oils, the birth or peanut ball, a snack etc. I’ll use my ipad for the slides or any images and videos that I’m sharing, but I prefer the old school paper for my own teaching guide.
Tell us something about you that has nothing to do with birth!
I’ve got a weird obsession with perfume! I love to read perfume blogs and reviews, obsessively sample obscure scents and actually used to sell my own in life before kids. Sadly, I’ve had to retire it a bit… It’s obviously not the best hobby for someone who is around sensitive pregnant noses all the time!