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“What is the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Education Program?”

As a midwife, Nancy Bardacke had often seen the extraordinary miracle of pregnancy and birth clouded by fear and stress —fear of the birthing process itself and the stress of the journey into the unknown. In reflecting on her midwifery experiences and her training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Nancy wondered if mindfulness, the practice of living fully in each moment, could be helpful for expectant parents and those engaged in the work of raising children. Could mindfulness help parents come to a way of being that could both ease childbirth and form a foundation for parenting with compassion, awareness, and kindness?

Integrating mindfulness practices such as meditation, breath awareness, and yoga with childbirth and parenting education, the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Education Program helps parents and parents-to-be cultivate life-long practices for healthy living and wise parenting. The program is an adaptation of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and featured in the Bill Moyers’ PBS TV series Healing and the Mind. Since its inception in 1979, The Center for Mindfulness has taught mindfulness to more than 16,000 people with a wide variety of physical and emotional health challenges.

Nancy has now taught over 68 sessions of the core Mindfulness-Based Childbirth Education Program. She has been both deeply moved and heartened by the experiences participants report: that learning mindfulness brings benefits greater than they could have imagined. (Please see What Participants Say Beyond the birth, mindfulness practice continues to serve in the immediate, intense, joyful and sometimes very stressful weeks and months of learning after a baby is born. Many report that the mindfulness practice has indeed been a source of strength, growth and pleasure in the early years of becoming a family. The program has evolved and expanded and now includes classes such as Mindfulness-Based Infant Massage, Mindful Parenting, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for the Professional Care Provider and a one-day mind/body skills workshop called the Mind in Labor.  Graduates are always welcome at any of the all-day sessions given several times a year.


Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Education
The Mindfulness-Based Childbirth Education Course is open to all. Parents-to-be may attend a course with their partner, on their own, with a family member, a friend or a birth companion. The course can be helpful for any childbirth experience, including a childbirth where the intension is to use pain medication. It can also be helpful for those who anticipate a birth experience requiring special medical attention or for those who have had a difficult previous birth experience.

Pregnant women often report a tremendous increase in confidence in their capacity to give birth after taking the MBCP course. Partners often report an increase in confidence in their ability to support their partner during the birth process. Couples who attend the program say their communication and relationship improves as they learn and practice mindfulness together. And most everyone reports an increased ability to manage stress in their everyday life. All of these factors have a positive effect on birth experiences and are lasting well into parenting.

Mind in Labor

Often the greatest challenge of childbirth is learning how to work with pain and anxiety. Learning to use our minds to work with these challenges can make a huge difference in our labor and delivery experiences. This workshop is a day for looking deeply at pain and fear during childbirth and for cultivating present moment awareness as a powerful way to prepare to give birth. This workshop is an excellent complement to any childbirth education class, including refresher classes. It can also be helpful for those who anticipate a birth experience requiring special medical attention or for those who have had a difficult previous birth experience.

Mindfulness-Based Infant Massage

This is a class where parents learn a relational mindfulness practice that fosters connectedness and deep attunement with their babies. As we learn to listen to our babies’ non-verbal communications and communicate with our infants in their first language, touch, we help our babies become calmer and more at ease within themselves, as we do the same. In group discussions we acknowledge the profound life changes we are experiencing as new parents, using mindfulness practice as a way to come back into balance in this dynamic time. This is a graduate course open to those who have taken the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth Education Program.

Mindfulness in Parenting: Cultivating Healthy Life Skills for Everyday Family Living

As parents we often feel overwhelmed by the stresses of parenting and the challenges of juggling family and work, whether we work outside of the home or within. We may find ourselves reacting to our children with frustration or irritation, then judge ourselves harshly, wishing we were “a better parent”. Through practicing mindfulness, we may find that we can strengthen our ability to respond, rather than react to our children. As our awareness grows we may experience greater patience, wisdom, open-heartedness and joy in our parenting and in all aspects of our daily lives.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Life Skills for the Professional Care Provider
As care providers we are called upon to give not only expert knowledge and technical skills but to be fully present as we attend to our clients needs with empathy and compassion. Indeed, it may be that the capacity to be fully present is the essence of any caring relationship. To offer this kind of care amidst the myriad of professional, personal and family life issues we face on a daily basis is a great challenge. By learning to balance the many mental and emotional demands of our lives through the powerful tool of mindfulness, we are calling on a courageous willingness in ourselves to cultivate the very resources we encourage in our clients: inner strength, calm and self-trust.
24 CEUs available for RNs, CNMs, LCSWs and MFTs

Mindfulness, Stress and Childbirth: A One-Day Mindfulness Workshop for the Professional Care Provider

In this one-day workshop we will learn about the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Education Program, learn how mindfulness can be an essential skill for a birthing family and ourselves and explore ways we might increase present moment awareness in our own lives and the lives of those we serve.
6 CEUs available for RNs, CNMs, LCSWs and MFTs

   
 
Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Education Program

Mindful Birthing - Programs for Mindful Family Living