by Bonita Katz, BA RN ICCE ICBD IAT CLC
You have experienced it – or at least heard it said – that much of what we teach in childbirth education applies not only to birth but to all of life. The BRAIN anagram can be applied in a myriad of situations. Relaxation exercises work just as well in a dentist’s chair as they do in the birth room. And the balance of planning, but remaining flexible, is a life skill we are all practicing more these days. It is that balance that I have often been considering lately. Many of us have had a plan for childbirth classes, but then had to transfer that plan to an online format. Demonstrating comfort measures online is quite different than in person! And doulas – offering support online is just not the same. To not be able to offer that hands-on support is difficult when that is such an integral part of what we do. But never underestimate the soothing sound of your calm voice and the reassurance of your words. We have had to be flexible like never before.We teach others to plan (what does your ideal birth look like?), but we also encourage them to be flexible in their thinking. So, now we find that ICEA as an organization has to follow this same advice. We had planned for a conference in November. We set a time and a place. We had begun contacting speakers and then … COVID. It is time for some flexibility in our thinking. In response to a recent member survey, ICEA will be offering a series of webinars on the most requested topics including, teaching tips, maternal mental health, comfort measures, and diversity/inclusivity. You will hear from some who are experts in their field and from some of ICEA’s most experienced educators and doulas. These webinars will take the place of our biennial conference for 2020. Rather than have day-long sessions, we will offer the webinars in 3-4 hour segments throughout the fall. Thank you for your understanding and encouragement as we navigate this unusual era. If you have ideas and suggestions, please share them with us. You may contact me at email@example.com or any of the other board members. I also want to acknowledge the efforts of the Board in thinking through our options and coming up with workable solutions. Every Board member is a volunteer. They are not financially compensated for their time. They support ICEA in many intangible ways. Speaking of which… If you would like to become more involved in ICEA, please consider volunteering for a committee. Share your ideas. I look forward to hearing from you!