New Pathways to Certification

Birthing From Within           Newsletter #1            October 26, 2017

Re-Visioning the Role of the 

Nomadic Childbirth Mentor
We are observing many changes in birth in our culture. One change in particular is the decline of parents pursuing a series of childbirth preparation classes. If BIRTHING FROM WITHIN “childbirth mentoring” is to remain relevant and competitive, it is time to re-vision our mission, message, trainings, certification, and marketing of Birthing From Within mentors.
A Common Problem Frustrating Birth Mentors
Twenty to thirty years ago when I developed the BIRTHING FROM WITHIN model of childbirth education and certification program, it fit with the trends and expectations of parents for childbirth education at the time. However, over the past decade, fewer and fewer parents are seeking a series of childbirth or group classes. As a result, after taking a Level One Introduction workshop, too many inspired mentors have not been able to fill their classes.
What if this problem is not about mentors’ confidence or marketing skills, but rather
a reflection of the value our culture and contemporary parents
place on preparation for childbirth?
What needs to happen next?
I sensed that my first task of re-visioning BFW was to reflect deeply on the emerging role of modern childbirth mentors. Who are they? If their base is no longer the classroom, where do they work? What do they strive to offer, and achieve? Perhaps our culture is rapidly transitioning from fading fifty-year old norms of childbirth classes—toward something radically different.
I invite the creative and committed members of Birthing From Within
to re-envision the true spirit of the modern, nomadic Mentor,
(represented in any nurse, midwife, social worker, doula, or childbirth teacher)
who can inspire, motivate for change, and teach
in any situation or environment
on the spot mentoring.
Introducing a New Pathway to
Certification for Mentors
Recently an advanced mentor told me that although she was inspired by the intensive three-day Introductory workshop, it took her years to integrate the processes and philosophy into herself before she had the confidence to teach others or to complete her packet. We know that she is not alone, and that there are many kinds of learners.
I want to make the pathway to certification more engaging
and less intimidating for everyone.
If you are comfortable with the Level One or Level Two Home Study packets you received and are nearly finished, I encourage you to complete and submit your packet and recordings to me by February 1, 2018. However, if you find yourself procrastinating or dreading diving into or completing the Home Study packet, and you cannot meet this deadline but want to pursue advanced trainings and certification, you may join your peers in either of the new pathways called The HEART AND ART OF MENTORING I and II, described below:
Two pathways to Level I: The former and the new “Birthy Dozen”
If you attended a Level One Introduction to Mentoring workshop anytime before the end of 2017, you can enroll in the new pathway to certification. This pathway, called the “Birthy Dozen,” begins on January 30, 2018. It consists of a series of six consecutive monthly pre-recorded webinar-lessons on topics offered in a sequence that builds momentum, logic, skills, and confidence. Webinars will cover topics such as Whetting a Mother’s Appetite for Prenatal Nutrition in 15 minutes; the Feminine, Ferocious & Healing Path of Mentoring; and Enhancing Your Motivational Teaching, among others.
Following each webinar-lesson—using the Zoom platform—you will participate in a 90-minute live interactive meeting with me or a certified mentor/BFW advisor. The Zoom platform allows us to see one another during discussions and demonstrations, which enhances the learning process. You can practice your mentoring skills, complete your reading, and earn your Level One certification in just six months. All webinars and live-meetings will be recorded. Should circumstances prevent you from attending a webinar or a live call, you can still listen to the webinar-lesson(s) you missed at your earliest convenience, then join the next live meeting—and keep going. The maximum time limit to complete all six calls will be eight months.
Upon completion of Level One, you are eligible to take any of the advanced mentor courses, webinars, or workshops; these will be announced in future newsletters.
Two pathways to Level II Certification: The former and the new 
“Sweet Sixteen”
If you attended a Level Two Advanced Mentoring Retreat before the end of 2017, you can choose to follow the former certification requirements or enroll in the new pathway to certification. The new pathway is called the “Sweet Sixteen.” It begins on January 31, 2018, and consists of a series of eight consecutive monthly pre-recorded webinar-lessons on topics offered in a sequence that builds momentum, logic, skills, and confidence. Following each webinar-lesson—using the Zoom platform—you will participate in a live meeting with me or a certified mentor/BFW advisor. Practice your new mentoring skills, complete your reading, submit one audio-recording of your live mentoring, and earn your BFW Mentor Certification in just eight months. Should circumstances prevent you from attending a live meeting, you can still listen to the recorded webinar-lesson(s) at your earliest convenience, then join the next live meeting for advanced mentors. The maximum time limit to complete all eight calls will be ten months.
In addition to filling out a simple form to help us track what our mentors are doing, you can meet recertification requirements by simply attending one of the special, advanced mentor workshops offered by BFW, or by attending another birth-related conference/workshop of equivalent learning value.
Is your intention to get certified, sooner than later?
And you like more personal and community support while doing it?
Fee for Recertification
Looking at the website for guidance was a little confusing. The new fee schedule looks like multiple choice because I am addressing the needs of three groups of mentors: (1) mentors enrolled and nearing completion; (2) enrolled but stuck; and (3) waiting to enroll. So read through the following explanation carefully to discover what fits for you.
There will be two new fee schedules:

Level One certification fees

• Those of you who enrolled in the certification program for $325 or $350, which included your Level One packet and review by your Advisor. Again, if you are close to finishing, send your packet to your Advisor by February 1, 2018.

• If you experiencing packet dystocia, let us augment your labors. Enroll in the “Birthy Dozen,” which consists of 6 webinar-lessons and 6 live interactive 90- minute meetings for only $120 if you register by November 15, 2017.

• If you are enrolling in the certification program for the first time now, your Level One enrollment fee toward certification is $200, and your required pathway will be the “Birthy Dozen”—you are done in six months. There is no packet review!

Level Two certification fees

• If you completed an advanced mentor training before the end of 2017, you may complete the current requirements and submit your packet to your Advisor for review. The fee for the review is $150. If you are close to finishing your packet, send your packet and recordings to your Advisor by February 1, 2018—or set a deadline with your Advisor—and wrap it up!

• If you attended an advanced retreat before the end of 2017, you can enroll in the supported new pathway called the “Sweet Sixteen. This may be especially appealing if you are experiencing a “prolonged certification process”, and want to augment your labors. The “Sweet Sixteen” consists of 8 webinar-lessons and 8 live, interactive 90-minute meetings for only $120 if you register by December 1, 2017. The Sweet Sixteen will begin in February. You will submit just one recording of yourself mentoring a parent to your Advisor with the $150 fee. More information You will be certified painlessly in eight months.
Pathways to doula certification
If you are enrolled in the doula program, you have two choices, too. If the present requirements are working for you, and you are close to completion (within the next three to four months), keep going. If you are stalled, or if you are just beginning, and you are wondering about a new pathway to certification, be patient until the next newsletter. There are several people thinking through a new pathway to certification for you. Don’t wait on us! Continue reading and working toward certification—everything you do counts toward becoming a doula.
Small changes can have positive and far reaching effects. A small business is more likely to survive and thrive by responding thoughtfully to the changing trends within its field, and by daring to re-vision its mission and services from time to time. It takes courage to deviate from a path that was once fresh, comfortable and working, but no longer is.

In the next newsletter, to be sent around November 9, 2017, you will learn about a few more changes in the program, upcoming facilitator training, and be inspired by what a few of your innovative peers have been doing!
Join me, and your peers, in a Zoom Meeting on
November 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm PST
to ask questions and share your impressions regarding the new
Pathways to Certification.
(See the invitation to the Zoom meeting at the end of this letter.)
If you cannot make it to the live meeting,
please watch the recording of the meeting.

Be Aware: There are hundreds of you, and only one Pam and one Angelique (new BFW office assistant). We encourage you to participate in the Zoom meetings rather than sending emails. If you do email suggestions, questions, or comments, please be patient as you wait for a personal response.


Pam England
Pam England is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting on:
Pathways to Certification
Nov 16, 2017 1:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Or iPhone one-tap: US: +16699006833,,517944250# or +14086380968,,517944250#

Or Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location: US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 408 638 0968 or +1 646 876 9923 Meeting ID: 517 944 250

International numbers available:
Birthing From Within
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PO Box 14585, Albuquerque, NM 87111

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Trust Birth?

“Trust Birth" and "Trust Your Body" are common cliches, often tossed around casually in many childbirth circles, and also sometimes hotly debated, especially among those who have had or have witnessed difficult births. But what does it really mean to trust? And how might trust be helpful or unhelpful for pregnant people in their preparations for birth and parenting? Using excerpts from Pam England's new book, Ancient Map for Modern Birth, let's think a bit more deeply about the role of trust in childbirth preparation.

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What about Cesareans?

Many pregnant women know and accept that a cesarean may become necessary and do not resist learning more about it or considering the possibility, even if they don’t want to have one. Other women actively avoid thinking about cesareans out of a misguided attempt to prevent a cesarean from happening. Their birth support team may even reinforce this risky approach. Unfortunately, neither wishful thinking nor a strategy of avoidance prevents cesarean surgery—nor any other unwished-for outcome. They do, however, increase the chances that the woman will be unprepared if a cesarean actually happens.

An excerpt from Pam England's latest book, "Ancient Map for Modern Birth." To read more (and see the full list of citations), buy your copy here. And for a limited time, get her Labyrinth of Birth book for free.

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Why a new Birthing From Within book?

With the impending birth announcement of Birthing From Within's newest book, "Ancient Map for Modern Birth," some are asking, "Why a new book? What's the difference between the original classic and this one?"

Ancient Map for Modern BirthBirthing From Within bookPam England addresses this question (and much more) in the book's Introduction. Here is an excerpt:

"My first book, "Birthing From Within," has been more popular than I ever dreamed it would be when it was self-published in 1998. Many people have said, “Why are you writing a new book? We love the old book!” adding, “Don’t change it too much.” There is a part of us that likes to cling to favorite places, customs, and books associated with warm feelings. And yet, change is inevitable and necessary for the healthy evolution of ideas and of humanity.

In the last sixteen years, a lot has changed in our fast-paced world, including the expectations and knowledge of birthing couples, the culture and practice of obstetrics and midwifery... "Ancient Map for Modern Birth" aims to shed light on important blind spots in childbirth education that were not addressed in "Birthing From Within," including inductions, ultrasound, vaginal birth after cesarean, postpartum ceremonies, birth stories, and more. This book also introduces many new processes inspired by our unwavering commitment to balancing evidence-based information with myth, art, and personal awareness in childbirth preparation. In addition, you will experience the power of great stories that teach and inspire in a way nothing else can, and you will discover the Archetypes of Birth and how they live within you.

This model is grounded, comprehensive, and relevant to all. Hopefully this book will also dispel two misconceptions about the Birthing From Within model that came from the first book: that it is a crunchy granola approach that focuses on birth art (to the exclusion of practical information) and is only useful only to mothers planning natural births.

Eager to share the birth art process (which was still a novelty at the time), I dedicated an entire section in "Birthing From Within" to the idea. This emphasis gave some the impression that our classes focused on making drawings and sculptures at the expense of sharing information. While the birth art process is still an integral part of preparing mothers emotionally, in "Ancient Map for Modern Birth," only a few birth art assignments are included, and they are sprinkled throughout the book. In the past decade I began painting my own birth art and mandalas; a few of my paintings are in this book for you to enjoy.

The second misconception: While being interviewed for an article, the journalist was repeatedly about Birthing From Within’s “natural birth classes.” (Parents often ask about this, too.) Much to the journalist’s surprise and disappointment, I explained that we don’t teach natural birth classes: we teach birth classes. There are many ways to give birth, and the “natural” way is just one of them. Because there is no crystal ball to know who will get which labor, today’s women and men need to be emotionally and mentally prepared to participate in a range of birth experiences, from spontaneous to medically managed...

One more change, perhaps the most significant and welcome, is that I am no longer alone in working, experimenting with, or developing this new paradigm. The Birthing From Within approach, first developed in my small childbirth classes in Albuquerque, has now been carried forward by childbirth mentors, doulas, and mothers around the world.

Since 2006, I have been privileged to work with Virginia Bobro. Virginia lives in Santa Barbara and is the co-owner and Managing Director of Birthing From Within, LLC, as well as a dynamic facilitator inspiring birth professionals from around the world to take up this unique approach. As a result of Virginia’s dedication, Birthing From Within has grown into an international practice with a presence in 18 countries.

A growing number of dynamic, intelligent, and visionary women and men, who share a commitment to personal and professional growth, are engaged in a continuous and authentic dialogue. The Birthing From Within community has taken us on a journey of the heart we never imagined. We warmly invite you to read this book and get involved."

Pam England and Virginia Bobro, co-authors of Ancient Map for Modern Birth

Virginia Bobro & Pam England

Sneak peek at our new book's Table of Contents

Ancient Map for Modern BirthBirthing From Within's new book, by Pam EnglandVirginia Bobro, is titled, "Ancient Map for Modern Birth."
Keep reading for a Sneak Preview of the contents of the book! We hope you are as eager as we are to get this book in your hands!

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Worry is the Work of Pregnancy

by Pam England

Many new mothers are surprised that they didn’t feel prepared for birth; they express deep regret that they didn’t acknowledge or listen to inner doubt or fear during pregnancy, instead brushing it away with positivity, denial, or obsessive information-gathering. Yet worry is part and parcel of experiencing a Rite of Passage; facing the unknown naturally elicits a bit of fear. Worry is a kind of curiosity: wondering about what might happen and how you can respond. Use your imagination and creativity to awaken hidden sources of courage and power within you; worry can help you to become stronger. 

A Birth Warrior worries effectively: Acknowledge that the thing you worry about (perhaps secretly) could happen. Then imagine: if it did happen, what is one small thing you could do to help yourself get through it? In the long run, doing that one small thing may serve you better than doing nothing, hoping it won’t happen, or expecting someone else will save you or fix it.

Excerpted from Pam's new book, Ancient Map for Modern Birth, published in 2017. Now available for purchase>

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Radical, Compassionate Childbirth Preparation

I propose something radical, beyond positive affirmations, pretty pictures, and obstetrical facts. Seeing birth as an initiation --a period of intense transformation and growth-- means that the goal is not achieving a "natural" or "vaginal" birth, or, vaguely, "empowering women." (What does that mean, anyway?) The focus is on preparing the Birth Warrior inside each expectant parent, so that they are ready to do whatever it takes in each moment. Sometimes that will mean digging deep for the strength to keep going or to surrender to a power beyond their understanding. Sometimes it will mean doing "the next best thing" and having a cesarean birth, though they tried with every ounce of their being to avoid it. Sometimes it will mean looking "weak," moaning, crying, being confused or vulnerable. Sometimes it will mean making peace with not being able to speak up for themselves, or not doing whatever it was they hoped they could do or say. Sometimes it will mean that the wise and compassionate action is having an induction or epidural.



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