Course Reunions: Why they are such an important part of our prenatal courses

BCT prenatal course reunion at the BCT Clubhouse
15 February 2023
The BCT runs birth preparation courses throughout the year, both for first-time parents and for those expecting second or subsequent children.

Our Birth & Parenting courses provide in-depth preparation for childbirth. They are designed to give pregnant women and their partners information and practical tools to help make informed decisions during the process of pregnancy and birth, to communicate more confidently with health professionals and to cope with the challenges of early parenthood.

Our Hypnobirthing course uses a specialised approach in preparing expectant parents for labour and birth. All classes involve a mixture of discussion, information and practical activities in a welcoming and relaxed small-group environment and can help parents-to-be develop a support and friendship network that continues long after the course ends and the babies arrive. Prenatal reunions have always been an important and very special part of our Birth & Parenting courses.

Course Reunions

Our prenatal course reunions are and have always been special gatherings.

We get to know each other during the Birth & Parenting course, spending more than 15 hours together, which has mostly been online for the last two years. Then we stay in touch until the time the babies are born and are about six weeks old. That is the time where the parents get used to being ‘parents’ and the babies adapt more to the earth side. But most importantly; that very precious first part of recovering and healing from the birthing experience would have been finished during those six weeks. Afterwards mothers, fathers and babies are ready and willing to get together and meet up.

We sometimes sit in a circle, sometimes walk side by side in a forest, or if the situation doesn’t let us, we sit in front of our screens looking at each other, talking. Majority of the time we debrief the birthing experiences, which is indeed a very helpful way to reveal the ‘un-talked about’ and to free new mums and dads from carrying some sort of burden, as they grow with their babies. Sometimes we have tears in the corner of our eyes… sometimes we laugh a lot. It’s deep listening with no agenda. For some moments it’s a deep silence where we all feel heard and seen, it’s a nourishing moment, where we all learn from each other. Sometimes a little story, or an insight a parent shares, resonates with someone else and opens some doors to healing from a trauma. We listen, we share, we hug, we laugh, we support, we encourage one another, we celebrate this rite of passage, we have fun, we enjoy life, we have each other’s back.

During the last online reunion, I was so delighted that most of the parents said they were very well prepared for the birth and beyond and that they kept reminding each other what to expect at each phase. Most of them also mentioned that the labour was a lot faster than they expected with all the breathing, relaxation and visualisation techniques that they learned. “Trying not to expect a specific birth” is something I always recommend during my classes but as we are all under the psychological impact of the surrounding and the media, we cannot help it sometimes.

Here are just a few comments from the mums at the reunion:

„We felt really prepared, also thanks to you! This helped a lot, but in the end nothing went as planned in terms of my partner supporting me as I didn’t want him to touch me, talk to me or even look at me. When I think about how I react when I am hurting for other reasons, this is my normal way of reacting, but we had completely forgotten that during preparations. So, I think maybe it would be good for expecting parents to thinkabout the ways they relax in other tough moments.“

„One thing that was super helpful: talking to a close (female) friend about the birth after. Somebody who wasn’t present during birth, but had gone through it already as well and with whom I could share all the details.

„What I didn’t expect when our baby arrived: She was so tiny and I didn’t dare holding her, let alone changing her nappies. So, I asked my partner to do everything and even though he was also scared of breaking her, he did it and I am super grateful for that.“

„Postpartum: we started seeing people after the first 2 weeks where it was only the three of us. And then we saw SO MANY people for weeks and weeks and it was way too much. Definitely something I would not do again, though it is of course tempting to show the baby off.“

Being one of the prenatal teachers of the BCT, I am grateful to have the chance to participate in these sacred places and to have the opportunity to touch the birthing & parenting experiences of the expecting parents. These reunions give me the chance to meet their beautiful babies. My focus in life is serving them as best as I can… Even under the difficult conditions of the pandemic, I’m glad that with most of the groups we achieved to hold on to each other and grow as a big family coming from everywhere in the world.

The words that come to them when they close their eyes and think about their “birthing experience”:

By Özra Gökçe | BCT Prenatal Teacher

This article was first published in the BCT’s Small Talk magazine in spring 2022 under the heading “News from the BCT Prenatal Team”.

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