January 7, 2013

What It Takes - Becoming a Birth Boot Camp Instructor

With Donna Damon Ryan (creator of Birth Boot Camp)
and Sarah Clark (board member) after receiving my
Birth Boot Camp Certification.
My fellow Birth Boot Camp Instructor Dani Long - the only other instructor in Washington - wrote this amazing post about what it took for us to get our certification.  She has kindly let several of us share it since she wrote it so well.  For most of us, this process was a labor of love, something we were willing to work hard for because it meant so much to us.  I want to write about my experience getting the certification and the trip to the workshop that made me sad to leave Texas (who knew?!), but for now I want to share this.  So, what IS a Certified Birth Boot Camp Instructor?

Good things take time (My adventure in becoming a certified childbirth educator) 
by Dani Long

 When you sign up to take Birth Boot Camp childbirth classes, or refer one of your clients to me, rest assured that they are not only receiving the best birth education available, they are being taught by an instructor who HAS BEEN THERE.

One thing that makes Birth Boot Camp unique is the extensive list of requirements that an individual needs to meet to be accepted and eventually certified.

I was REQUIRED to have had a NATURAL birth. (I have times 3!)

I was REQUIRED to have breastfed for a continous year. (I have breastfed a total of 50 months and counting…)

I was REQUIRED to attend births.

I was REQUIRED to read a mountain of books on topics including, but not limited to: pregnancy, birth, labor progress, VBACs, postpartum period, breastfeeding, postpartum depression, sexual abuse in childbearing women, baby care and attachment parenting.

I was REQUIRED to compile a massive list of community resources.

I was REQUIRED to write several papers.

I was REQUIRED to complete a very extensive study guide.

I was REQUIRED to attend the near 30 hour, 3 day, instructor training workshop in Dallas, TX.

I was REQUIRED to practice teach at the workshop.

I was REQUIRED to pass a 3 hour written exam. (Closed-book!)

 AND then the wonderful Birth Boot Camp Advisory Board decided if they wanted me – and they did!

Why was I required to do all this? Well because Birth Boot Camp wants to ensure that not only would I have knowledge to teach students about birth and breastfeeding, but that I had EXPERIENCE doing both. This is not some program that is a weekend long workshop you can show up to (without any prerequisites for) and walk away with a certification. (Yes, there actually are programs where no experience is necessary!). Sure, there are faster ways. But faster isn’t always better.

Birth Boot Camp certification is at least a 6 month process – and that’s if you are a fast reader (did I mention the mountain of books?!). It’s recommend that you allow 6-9 months of time to complete all your requirements before you head down for your final certification workshop. The reason so much time and effort is required is because Birth Boot Camp’s founders want my students to be sitting in my class FULLY confident that I am speaking to them from experience and that I know my stuff inside, outside, upside down. Expectant parents need to know that their instructor was committed to her practice, to her education and that she worked HARD to be able to provide them with the most thorough education they could hope for.

So when you are researching what childbirth class is right for you, find out what was required of your instructor to become certified. Has the person teaching you how to give birth actually given birth? Has the person giving you information about breastfeeding actually breastfed? Did this person have to meet rigorous requirements to be able to get up in front of you to teach? Did this person have to pass a closed book exam? If you are taking Birth Boot Camp – the answer is YES!

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