Breaking Up with The Bradley Method
Hi there - for those that do not know me, I am Staci Berrey, owner and operator of Labor of Love Birth & Postpartum in Orange County CA. I am a childbirth educator, birth & postpartum doula, lactation counselor and overall women enthusiast.
I have been in the birth business going on 8 years and in that time, Labor of Love Birth Services has served over 1000 families in pregnancy & postpartum. We have also supported almost 500 families in birth.
I began this adventure because I truly felt many of us were missing out on a beautiful, connected human experience when birthing our babies. I felt that if we were a little more prepared, supported and had a better understanding of what was about to happen, we could achieve a better experience for ourselves, make better memories, and be more equipped to handle such a major life transition.
Eight years ago, I became affiliated with an organization I felt offered families the best information to support THEIR birth experience. I taught The Bradley Method for 5 years and spread their name loud and clear throughout Orange County, CA. Most of my clients associate me with this method. I truly believe that childbirth education is the BEST way to prepare for one’s experience. However, over the years my heart has grown heavy with the propaganda The Bradley Method spreads. The more people I supported, the more my empathy and understanding of birth grew and the more I realized I can no longer associate myself and my business with this organization.
The Bradley Method believes that birth is “One Size Fits All.” As an example, The Bradley Method requires us instructors to log birth statistics. They do not want to know if the classes helped my students prepare and feel more confident in their birth experience, they simply want to know if my students had an unmedicated, medicated or cesarean birth. It is The Bradley Method's policy to log these stats. Well, this was a policy that NEVER sat well with me as a childbirth instructor, and I never logged one birth! My students aren't statistics. Their experience is meaningful to me, despite the outcome.
The incredible couples that take my classes become intimate friends that I care for and nurture through one of their biggest and most challenging days. My hopes are not that they have an unmedicated birth. My hopes are that they birth with joy and confidence. That they feel equipped to navigate their experience based on their needs. That their partner is well prepared to support and love them, and that as a team they welcomed their baby into the world with love and joy!
As a woman that supports women at such an intimate, challenging and transformative time, a time where we need tremendous self care and self love; I worked hard at teaching my Bradley classes inclusively of all types of birth and all women. I worked hard at trying to help families make informed decisions even if that decision was pain medication. For these reasons, moving forward I am no longer comfortable associating my name and the work I do, with such a biased, agenda based and judgmental organization.
Such organizations as the The Bradley Method aid in our current competitive birth culture. A culture were women feel like they failed at birth and have tremendous guilt when making decisions for themselves in labor. A culture that pits women against epidurals. A culture that makes women feel like they ‘gave up’ if they choose pain meds. Oh, how my head hangs low when I hear women say this...
As a birth worker my ultimate goal is to change the birth narrative. I never want a woman to feel like she failed if her birth plan changes. Just like anything else in life, it is impossible to make decisions for ourselves in situations we have never been in before. It is paramount to have positive self care in labor! My goal is that women feel loved in labor, that they are respected and supported. That the decisions they make are their own and they feel confident in them.
Birth is NOT one size fits all!
I LOVE TEACHING CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION!
It is my passion. And, The Bradley Method did not make me a successful childbirth educator -
Even though I will no longer be teaching The Bradley Method, I will still be teaching childbirth classes. With all my knowledge, my experience and my heart I am pouring my energy into my own series, Connected Birth Education. It is a class that I designed 2 years ago and it will be the only childbirth curriculum taught at Labor of Love Birth & Postpartum. Its goal is to foster connection to our birth experience. It is the essential childbirth class for every family taught with love, no agenda and no judgement. This class is designed to help you make the best decisions for your body and baby, whether that means an unmedicated or medicated birth experience.
I would love to hear your thoughts as I prepare for this transition. The Bradley Method feels like an old friend that broke my heart. Their inflexibility and lack of attuning to students' and instructors' needs is something I can no longer ignore. I can no longer be complicit -
Much love for your journey!