Karissa Binkley, CD(DONA), CLC, LCCE
Where do you live?
How many years have you been teaching?
I have been certified for two years and have sunk my teeth into teaching for the past year.
How, where, and what do you teach (families/consumers, other educators, other health care professionals)?
I had a diaper service and small space that was home to a number of childbirth professionals and educators, but we recently closed so that I could spend quality time with my daughter. I now teach at a number of practices including pediatrician and OBGYN offices. Though my main focus is to work with families, many of the offices have requested that practitioners attend my classes to learn the most updated info on birth and breastfeeding.
What or who influences your teaching?
When I first became a Doula, I attended as many different childbirth classes as I could. Through observing several types of classes, I learned that Lamaze was most in line with my philosophy. I love that I have the freedom to write my own curriculum, and I pull from the many wonderful styles that I observed.
I have an amazing mentor, Ann Tumblin, who has patiently walked me through the process of becoming a Lamaze instructor. I truly believe in learning from other’s experiences and tapping into the knowledge of more experienced teachers.
I learned the importance of teaching a comprehensive class through my own birth experience. I had anticipated a homebirth, but was transferred for preeclampsia. I had many decisions to make in an unexpected environment, but was able to have an empowering birth because I understood that I had options and choices. I collaborated with my providers, and I felt that I owned my experience - I couldn’t have done that without having that education behind me and the advocate I had in my husband.
I learn the most from my students. I have four evaluations for my childbirth program: an initial, mid program, exit and postpartum survey. I gauge confidence throughout the perinatal period, and if I'm doing my job correctly, parents become more empowered with each survey. These questionnaires are online and anonymous so I ask for complete honesty, and I take this candor constructively in order to better my program.
What is your goal as an educator?
I want to empower Mothers and Partners to embrace the awesomeness that is their journey to Parenthood. I provide evidence based information that allows them to decide what is right for their body and for their family. Sometimes we don’t know the route that this journey will take, and I think it is vital to be honest about interventions and have frank discussions about what they may experience at the birth sites they have chosen. I am so happy when I hear that my students felt prepared, and that they could collaborate with their providers to have an empowering birth.
How do you use Lamaze resources to support you as an educator?
Students receive the Lamaze Guide, and my syllabus outlines the chapters and pages of what we are learning each week. I couple the healthy birth practice videos with thought provoking questions. The Cochrane library is invaluable in teaching classes- it is more for me than for students, as it builds my confidence in knowing that what I am teaching is valid.
How could you suggest other members receive maximum value from Lamaze?
Get to know fellow LCCE Educators in your area! I have recently started a Perinatal Educator group and it’s lovely to share teaching techniques and resources. I use many of the handouts and teaching ideas from the Lamaze website - the formats are attractive and informative.
When you’re not teaching, what do you enjoy doing?
I have an amazing network of girlfriends that I am blessed to spend my weekdays with as I stay home with my daughter. On weekends my husband and I turn off the TV, tune out the world and take advantage of the many parks in our area. I carve out personal time to run, read and knit. All three, along with my Words with Friends obsession keep me happy!