Stefanie Antunes, CD(DONA), PCD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE
Where do you live?
I live just east of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
How long have you been teaching?
I've been a Lamaze educator almost 15 years.
What was your journey to a career in childbirth education?
When I had my first son 19 years ago (which was PRE-internet), I was fascinated by birth, but had to content myself with a couple of hand-me-down books. I thought to myself: "Women have been having babies for thousands of years, what do I need classes for?" So I skipped out on those classes and found myself having a less than desirable birth experience. I sat there telling myself that I was healthy and my baby was healthy, so what did I have to complain about? But pregnant 4 years later with my second son and I knew I'd be making different decisions that time, hoping for a different outcome. I took Lamaze classes and my life was forever changed. I had an empowering birth experience with my new "informed decision-maker" skills. For the first time in my life I had been made aware of the concept of being my own health care advocate. I remember watching my son and feeling a great sense of confidence brewing that had been absent following my first birth. I knew I wanted to help other parents become better prepared.
How, where, and what do you teach?
My journey has included some of everything: group classes in my home, in rented facilities, hospital classes, private classes, partnerships with other community partners, and more. I now also run two agencies who provide childbirth education in various forms by many educators. Of course doula work came "by accident" from the first class I taught and that addition to my work took hold of my heart and eventually my life!
Why did you choose to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator?
I wanted to help others prepare for their birth more thoroughly than what was commonly available. I always felt birth was too important a day to leave to chance, that knowledge was power, and that FUN classes was the way to go.
What is your goal as an educator?
Engage, educate, empower, inspire....and make people laugh.
How do you use Lamaze resources to support you as an educator?
I've used them every which way over the years. Loving the new toolkit!
How could you suggest other members receive maximum value from Lamaze?
When you're not teaching, what do you enjoy doing?
Anything that can be disguised as exercise: indoor rock climbing, stand up paddle, beach volleyball and sometimes just a great movie or show to allow the mind to quiet.