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Teaching Natural Birth: Deciding to Teach and Establishing Your Own Successful Business.

This is a new book by Jan Whitcomb, an independent childbirth educator for 16 years. It is a very good manual for people considering becoming childbirth educators, educators branching off on their own and becoming independent, or really, any educator who wants lots of helpful hints on improving her business sense. It feels very much as if Jan is right here with you, just chatting. Her book has lots of humor as well as some of the nitty-gritty things like setting and collecting class fees. She has a deep sense of spirituality and shares her personal spiritual insights in each chapter. She marks all these passages with a little logo, but says she hopes we will read them no matter what our own spiritual orientation may be. Towards the very beginning of the book, Jan shares with us some of the rewards of teaching natural birth with excerpts from letters of couples whose lives she has touched and empowered. Isn't that why we are doing this?! She then goes to chapters entitled, "Working From Home," "Setting Class Fees," "Props for Effective Teaching", "Essential Equipment" (what we need to be in business), and "Getting Ready: Hints for Organization". She shares with us how to make a good "first impression" on the telephone when prospective clients call us, and suggests sending out an information packet after that initial phone call. What a neat idea! We can get some needed information to them (on nutrition or ultrasound, etc.), and they have our name and number right in front of them on our brochures or business cards. Jan shares ideas with us on publicity, and how to generate referrals. In chapter 17, she addresses childbirth education being used to "perpetuate the status quo," and making pregnant women into "sitting ducks" for the medical community. She quotes Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, Penny Armstrong, CNM, and Nancy Cohen, who each refer to this phenomenon, and then provide us with encouragement to teach "natural birth". We need not be busily engaged in teaching "uterine activity" and ways to control it or just "survive". We (hopefully) are in this business to fill women with confidence and power, to alleviate fear and replace it with strength, and encourage them to find their own best way through the natural process of labor, whether that is moaning, yelling, moving or quietly coping. I think Jan has done a very good job of conveying the importance of teaching "natural birth," and has a multitude of suggestions for setting up your business so that you can do this!
COPYRIGHT 1995 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Richardson, Holly
Publication:Special Delivery
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1995
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