February 2011

By Corazon

My cousin (MamaSandoval) is expecting the first baby of our generation so you can imagine the excitement running in my family. At Christmas, we were catching up and she told me about a breastfeeding conversation she had with one of our uncles. You know, the cool, youngest uncle that had the cool car and was kinda known as the rebel. Exactly the last person you would think to have a conversation about breastfeeding with. He has two young sons so he had some recent experience on the topic. My cousin said he told her about all her options and that it is an important bonding time. She said he made her supported and it was strangely not an awkward conversation, but a reassuring, helpful one.


The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services and the Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposium are bringing awareness to the importance of breastfeeding. They want family members and friends to understand that they have a huge role in supporting breastfeeding mothers, just as my uncle showed support for my cousin. On March 11-12 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, they are presenting the “Reframing Birth and Breastfeeding: Moving Forward” conference as a way to educate. Some of the topics include breastfeeding and the media, and newborn physical and emotional health. If you have a chance, make a trip to North Carolina and educate yourself.

By MamaSandoval

One thing that I knew for sure before my husband and I even conceived was that a baby would change our relationship forever. When people learn that we’re having our first child, the reaction we get is either a look of pity, along with a comment along the lines of “enjoy being alone while you can” or a smile and something like “the baby is going to make you both so happy.” I find that I tend to agree with the latter. Bella hasn’t even arrived yet, and already she has drawn my husband, Rafa, and I closer. We’re kinder, more affectionate, and more in love with each other than before we knew we were expecting. While our relationship was great before, now it has become even more wonderful. Part of this great change is due in part to the childbirth class that we started taking.

Focused on natural childbirth, the class goes through not only the anatomy and physiology of childbirth, but the best ways to help deal with the pain, tension, and worry that accompany childbirth. All of the coping techniques require a partner who can provide the mother with strength, compassion, and unconditional support. From joint breathing and massage, to supportive positions and verbal cuing the class has given both Rafa and I not only the tools to help us experience childbirth together, but to help us prepare for it in a way that draws us closer together and makes us a stronger couple. Each week we learn different massage techniques for the partners to use on the mothers during labor, and when Rafa can’t wait to practice at home, it makes me realize just what a loving husband and father to be he is. Perhaps the biggest thing we’re learning from the class is the art of communication. As the instructor says, “if you can communicate together openly, honestly, and in a loving way during labor; one of the hardest things you will go through together; then you’ll definitely be able to do it outside of the delivery room”.

Not only has our childbirth class given us an idea of what birth will be like (taking away some of the worry, and leaving more room for excitement) but it has also given us tools to help nurture our relationship through birth and beyond. For that alone, I would recommend a childbirth class to expecting couples.