Childbirth Preparation Series:
Amity did a great job in preparing us for what to expect (as much
as is possible) during labor and especially for the emergency
c-section we had to have due to fetal distress. The \"bag of tools\"
we brought into this experience was very valuable for both myself and
my partner, and I felt very capable in dealing with my labor as it
progressed, encountered some problems, with an eventual transfer to
the hospital. Despite these unforeseen circumstances, we felt like we
were able to deal with the changing situation because of this class.
- J. & B.
Angie's knowledge and enthusiasm was great. The guided writing, art
and the final ceremony were very fulfilling. Angie had a excellent
knack for taking us on mental journeys of preparation through great
story telling. The atmosphere was very warm, comforting, welcoming,
and respectful. We both felt free to share our feelings with the other
couples and enjoyed listening to theirs. We are very glad we took part
in the class and have already recommended it to other expectors.
I would also add to this that the classes always felt like time
well spent. We also enjoyed the food sharing to help us all get to
know each other. Thanks for a great class. - S. & J.P.
The Birthing from Within class taught by Amity
was a pleasure to be a part of. My husband and I learned so much in
the 3-day weekend course that we will take with us to our birth. Amity
was engaging, thoughtful, and so much fun just to watch and listen
to! She is a fantastic instructor and it is obvious how gifted she is
at being a doula and an instructor. The tools used in the class keep
you engaged and focused and the time goes by relatively quickly. We
feel lucky to have had Amity as our instructor and it was great
meeting the other couples in our class as well. - E.W.
We were delighted with our prenatal class and with Angie! The class was a
great mix of emotional support, factual information, and opportunity to
explore beliefs and just share with other folks. Angie was a supportive
facilitator and the class generally flowed well. - K.H.
The class was wonderful. I felt so much more confidence after the class
than before - I changed my birth plan from a hospital to a birthing
center. Rebecca was a wonderful presence and shared her knowledge in an
engaging way. - R.S.
I would recommend this class to any pregnant
woman or her partner. It was a truly unique and wonderful way for me
to connect to my fears and questions about labor, and the fears of my
partner and talk about how to cope with them honestly. We feel so
prepared for birth and have learned so much about each other; I can't
imagine how I would feel if we hadn't had some of the exercises that
helped prepare us. Amity really helped each person (not just the
mothers!) to look deeper than his/her questions to see what issues
were beneath. Our class was the highlight of my week, everyone felt
safe enough to contribute, and I will miss it very much in the last
few weeks before my baby comes! thanks so much.
We appreciated all the information in class and the chance to recall all
that we\'d forgotten from our first childbirth class. I only wish we'd met
Angie before we'd enlisted doula services from someone else. She is
amazing! - G.B.
We really enjoyed the classes and felt Carrie
did a great job of making us feel comfortable while discussing some
pretty overwhelming concepts. We left the weekend feeling empowered,
excited and ready for a natural childbirth. AND - we also felt
prepared for the
'not so planned' childbirth and it really put us at ease to know
we were prepared for all scenarios. Thank you for your help and we
look forward to the get together with the group once all the babies
are born! - K. & T.P.
My husband and I attended the weekend
immersion birth class and couldn't be happier. Carrie was great
about covering many topics in a way that was much easier to digest
than reading all the birthing books available. We feel so much more
prepared, informed and connected to each other as we approach our due
date. I am highly recommending this class to my expecting
friends. It was a weekend well spent.
Overall we enjoyed the classes, the class environment, and building
relationships with the other couples participating in the class. We were
interested in a non-traditional birthing class and felt we found that with
Big Belly Services. I would recommend this course and other classes
offered by Big Belly Services to my loved ones. - R.B.
Our instructor [Rebecca] was very energetic
and has a knowledgeable, positive outlook on the birth process. I
enjoyed our art and coping practices, and meeting with other expectant
couples each week. Food sharing was a healthful and bonding
experience. Nothing could have fully prepared me for my birth
experience, but my class at BBS was a great start. It was also
extremely beneficial for my partner in understanding the birth process
and how to help me through it. My only suggestion would be to offer
the weekly Childbirth Preparation class on Saturday afternoons as well
as weekday evenings, because getting to class on time after work was a
Carrie really listened to what the needs were
of people in the class to create customized content. I walked in
nervous about the birth, and came out feeling totally ready for
labor--addressing some of my biggest fears and gaining positive
imagery and memories from watching successful births that I actually
used in my labor.
Can't thank you enough. A.C. & L.S.
Both my husband and I felt that the classes we
took with Big Belly Services where well worth our time and money. We
learned so much and felt highly confident going into our birth. We
recommend the 7 class birth series for any one expecting a new baby.
This class was just what I needed. Balanced
beautifully with a work in spirit and of course the physical part of
birth and labor. Our instructor (Angie) had such grace in allowing our
own bodies to learn how to cope and our minds to learn how to manage
labor. I recommend all the new parents-to-be to attend this weekend
I felt this class was exceptionally helpful for more than just being
informed of labor and delivery. The coping mechanisms are reason alone to
take this class as they've provided both of us a strong sense of
confidence and preparedness. But the most important aspect of the class to
me was that it was such a nurturing and supportive class that enabled me
to further bond with my baby. (Which was something I had been struggling
with.) So thank you so very much [Rebecca] for providing our family with
so much. - B.
Our 7 week class on labor and birth was
excellent. [Rebecca's] down to earth approachable teaching style
is articulate and thorough. She kept us on topic and within time
parameters covering the important material while answering our
questions. - C.M.
This class was perfect for us! We were looking for something balanced and
intentional, with an intimate group size. The information was presented in
an experiential way, which both my husband and myself really appreciated.
We left feeling excited, empowered, and prepared for the labor and birth
of our baby. Thank-you! - S.&H.S.
We love the class and the instructor. I would totally recommend this to
anyone who is about the give birth. Very educational and made me feel
much more comfortable with the day to come. - K.E.
I would totally suggest this class to any
person or couple expecting a first time baby. It was a great mix of
logistical/factual information along with emotional reflection and
exploring tangible options for a more comfortable birth. Carrie did a
great job of letting each person have input in the class and a "voice"
along with keeping things on track and making sure we covered what we
needed to. - E.G.
This series exceeded our expectations.
We were looking forward to it, but didn't realize how much we would
enjoy our weekly class. This was our first Tuesday after the
series, and we both mourned not having a class to go to! Both my
husband and I learned so much and feel more prepared for whatever
birthing experience is in store for us. We really enjoyed the
atmosphere, teacher, and our fellow students. We had some friends that
chose NOT to take this series, because they thought the art component
sounded too "out there", but we loved it and found it highly
beneficial (and not overused at all). Angie was a fantastic
instructor and so patient with our questions and sometimes
controversial conversation. - B.A.
I am so pleased to have been apart of this
group. It provided me with invaluable support and information. The
instructor's (Rebecca) passion for the subject came through every
session. The way in which she saw that we all were given equal
opportunities to share and receive the information provided made her a
great leader, teacher, and advocate for our individual and group needs.
My husband and I both began this class with a
bit of apprehension about it's benefits. What we left with was
confidence and a strong desire to take control of our own birth
experience. We decided to change our planned hospital birth to
a home birth with only five weeks to go. It was the best
decision we could have made. Carrie's class gave us the
knowledge and power to know that we could make this move at such a
late stage in the pregnancy and feel confident in our decision.
This class gave us the space and time to discuss our fears and desires
as a couple of this amazing change in our lives together. I
would highly recommend this class to anyone who's expecting a child.
Angie is brilliant. She is knowledgeable,
funny and clearly loves sharing what she knows in a thought provoking
way. We were last minute participants and would recommend this weekend
to any expecting parents. -J & C
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the class.
You'd think an all-weekend intensive would have its lulls and lag
points, but each session flew by with interactive and conversational
activities and, of course, those memorable pain coping exercises (ice
cubes galore!). We're grateful for our time and learned a great deal
about how we can have the best birthing experience possible given
there are so many variables that are outside of our control in this
My husband and I attended the weekend
class all the way from Whidbey Island. We enjoyed so much all the
information and personal attention that was given to us by the
instructors. We felt that the class was tailored to our group and what
our needs and questions were. We felt that we grew closer as a couple and
are now so excited to go through our labor and delivery. We had some
emotional breakthroughs as well that I don\'t think we would have
discovered had we not taken the class. I highly recommend this to anyone
having a baby for the first time, no matter how far you have to travel.
It is well worth it. - C.P.
I found the class to be very informative
but more importantly incredibly helpful in exploring on a more personal
level what we hope for with our birth. I feel much more informed about
birth, how to be an aware and active participant and how to address any
fears, questions or reservations head on. - K.K.
I was very excited about the
birthing from within class, and my husband was very skeptical. By the
end of the weekend we both loved it. There was a lot of really useful
information, and the exploration of hopes and fears using art and
writing made the experience so much more well rounded than just a
lecture class. Angie created a warm environment where sharing felt
safe and supported.
We are looking forward to
taking more Big Belly classes. - C.T.
"[My husband] and I thought
there was no way we'd end up in surgery- but when we DID, I was
well-prepared because of the time you spent talking about it in class-
especially the suggestion of telling my baby the details of what was
about to happen and that it would all be Okay. That "dialog"
baby] really helped me emotionally, and was the beginning of good
communication between mom and baby. It really "saved" me, in a way,
because I felt active and empowered, talking us both through it." - B.M.
"You, your approach to
birth being so individual, and so perfect, and so uniquely you are
just a few things I discovered in your class. I also realized that
everything i was thinking and feeling whether expressed or unable to
be expressed was ok. I walked away feeling like all the important
stuff was answered, and what was left was to just be... and be
comfortable in not knowing everything, and that what I needed to know
would present itself when I least expected it and often when I needed
it most. You are a tremendous educator, you made me feel the safety of
letting go!" - M.H.
"In the midst of our busy lives, our Birthing
From Within class was a way for my husband and I to put other things
aside and focus on the upcoming birth of our child. It became our
weekly “date night.” One of the most useful lessons I learned
from Carrie’s class is the method of handling situations with medical
personnel—she had a list of specific questions to ask any care
provider, like: What can we expect from this procedure? What are the
risks? And my favorites: What if we wait? What if we do nothing?
THE ICE!!!! How can I forget the ice? I love
Carrie for that!!! Having previously been to a different childbirth
class with our first pregnancy, where the moms laid out on comfy
pillows and practiced relaxation, I can really appreciate the effort
Carrie took to make our “contractions” as real and as annoying as
possible, plus the fact that she encouraged us to try different
methods to handle each one was a great relief. There’s nothing like
trying to deal with a contraction while simultaneously wondering, “Am
I doing this right?” The “ice” portion of the evening always had a
somewhat experimental flavor to it, which I carried right into the
actual labor and delivery of my daughter. How freeing!
The Birthing from Within “method” is by far the
best out there because it draws from all the other methods like
Bradley and Lamaze and lets the pregnant woman decide which works for
her." - P.M.
"Your Birthing From Within
class helped prepare me, not only mentally, but, more importantly,
emotionally for birth. It helped me find where my strengths and
weaknesses were. I remember after the last big ice/water bath
test, if you will, that I
really finally believed I could give birth, that I didn't need to be
afraid, that I was strong enough, that I could find it within myself
to deal with what was coming my way.
I also met some of my now
best friends through your class. We had similar desires for our
births, parenting styles and our children. Becoming close to my
classmates, during your class, and maintaining a relationship with
them has helped make me so
much more confident in parenting my daughter. ' - E. P-P.
"I feel so fortunate that J and I were introduced to your birthing
class. It opened up so many doors for us during our pregnancy, and
even today, 17 months after V's birth. I think, like a lot of
parents, when we first ventured into the realm of parenthood, we were
not thinking of the practical aspects of birth and child rearing, we
weren't aware of the many of the options available, and we didn't know
about all the many choices would have to make by the time our child
was born. V was barely the size of a dime when we started your class,
and we were still happily overwhelmed with the high of knowing we were
Although we think of ourselves as progressive and open minded
people, there were still many things we hadn't thought of. We had
already chosen to have a home birth, but your class helped to work out
our concerns and help us further explore our options to prepare us for
wherever our birth took us.
I remembered that one of my big concerns was that I would get
irritated with J while I was in labor. You helped our class to fully
explore fears like these, so that we could confront them, and in doing
that, move forward to learn coping techniques so that when I was in
labor, I knew I had many options to express myself. I feel this
helped me to allow my body to take over while in labor, and not have
pent up worries that were exposed at a vulnerable time.
With the help of the other couples in the class, your class became
a venue for new ideas and information that we could look into further:
Elimination Communication/diaper free, vaccination choices, attachment
parenting, baby wearing, infant massage, baby sign language, cloth vs
disposable, breastfeeding. We continue to incorporate all of these
things into our lives, and it has been so enriching! We are so happy
that we are raising our daughter using these methods.
Carrie, thank you so much. You bring families together in the very
beginning stages, and offer tools to communication that can be carried
through to the birth and far beyond. Your class is not just about
birth, but about setting a foundation for parenthood.
Thank you for being there as an educator, and also for being our
Doula!" - N. L.
"carrie's class was so
crucial to our pregnancy. my husband and i had so much other stuff
going on that it was just so wonderful to enter that room and feel so
supported and calm and able to really focus on what was important!
we had a ton of questions
and carrie answered every one- it is amazing that we actually got
other stuff done! and we did get a lot done. at the end of our
session, i really felt like i had options for my birth. that if one
thing didn't work, another
would. and that i'd be able to get through anything. thanks, carrie!"
"We (my husband and I)
really enjoyed this weekend class. It was the perfect opportunity to
open up conversations about pregnancy, childbirth and our relationship
as new parents that we hadn't talked about before. We were able to
get "outside" ourselves and learn great techniques for dealing
with/assisting with labor and childbirth. And after our reunion
meeting the Mothers have formed a group where we get together
bi-weekly with our babies to check-in with each other and be a support
to one another." - E.G.
"The childbirth preparation
class did an excellent job of preparing me for my long labor
afforded me the knowledge
and terminology to be able to accurately communicate to my doula and
I felt my body was
experiencing at the varying stages. The pain management practice
was essential! With that experience I was able to go right to
the tools (also learned in class) that worked best for me during
times of peak pain with confidence instead of playing around with a
lot of things that would not have worked." - J.D.