Musings on learning about birth

25 January 2011 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment

The other day I was thinking about how we learn the things we do. This isn’t a new subject, of course–Gardner and lots of others have worked on multiple intelligence theories, learning style differences, and related topics–but it was suddenly new for me to consider it in exactly this way. My husband and I have said to each other, only partly joking, that we don’t think either of us ever learned a single new thing in elementary school–everything either was common sense (i.e., probability “with replacement,” all those third-grade how-likely-are-you-to-draw-a-red-marble-from-the-jar problems, which though I’d never “learned” officially before just made sense intuitively) or else something we had learned on our own from reading before the teachers said it in class. I think in my case, I learn things mainly from reading and from my own experience–if someone else tells me something, the contrarian in me is skeptical; if someone else shows me something, I am infuritated that I didn’t figure it out on my own; but if I read something and reason through it in my head, then I “own” it. Similarly, if I do something and then see either that it was right or wrong or had consequences of a sort, I’ve also learned it and now “own” it (like today, walking down the steps from my office, which I’ve learned–from experience–get very slippery even in apparently dry, un-icy winter weather).

For me, then, that’s how I set out to learn about birth without even thinking about it–I read, voraciously, all the books and then the books referenced in those books and then the books referenced in those books–and, I guess, I lived it: I thought about how my shape was changing, my walk was changing, where the baby was inside me as a result, and how the baby would need to move during the process of labor and birth. I knew that I wasn’t going to take a childbirth education class–though some are excellent, and some women love them, I was not going to like listening to someone else tell me things (any things, really–doesn’t matter right or wrong).

So how have others learned about birth? Does that make sense with your larger personal learning style, when you think about it that way?

–Christina

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