Bringing Baby Home: A Seattle-based workshop to empower expecting parents

It really does take a village to raise a child! Village Maternity, Seattle’s pioneering maternity store since 1983, has everything you need for mom and baby and also offers some extremely useful classes to prepare you for this phase of your life. The classes range from preparing you for childbirth, bringing baby home, re-aligning your sleep schedule, infant massages and more. You can check out all the cool classes here.

As a first-time expecting couple, my husband and I found ourselves making our way to ‘Bringing Baby Home’ on a sunny weekend this month, to equip ourselves better for the tiny baby (and huge changes!) coming our way very soon.

The workshop uses materials directly from the Gottman Institute using an official Gottman workbook, PowerPoint slides, handouts, discussion, reflection, and skill building. It was taught by Dr. Hildebrandt, a certified Gottman Educator. Here are all the details of the class including the location, instructor and pricing. This is a two-day workshop, from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on both days, and we found it be extremely enlightening and informative.

Dr. Hildebrandt, the instructor for the workshop

Here are my personal takeaways from the class, and why I’d highly recommend it to couples who are expecting…

  • Pregnancy is a rollercoaster of an experience, partly blissful and partly stressful. One thing is for sure – life throws many curveballs at you, that could be different for each couple. It is phenomenally helpful if we could anticipate some of these challenges beforehand, and learn how to deal with them in the best possible way. The instructor discusses common challenges that arise with bringing a baby home – like sleep deprivation, less quality time as a couple, decline in physical intimacy in the initial months after birth, the financial stress that comes from a new addition to the household and also advises methods in which couples can manage these issues efficiently.
  • The workshop is a great opportunity to really bond with your partner in a facilitated environment. You are away from the stressors and chores of daily life while in the class, and it helps to focus on your relationship and its evolving needs. Somehow, the presence of a professional therapist and a safe environment helped us navigate through feelings and issues in an unguarded way.
  • Being among other couples is a great reminder that you’re not alone in your journey, and there are other people facing and thriving through similar challenges. You can do it too, and there is always help you can seek if need be.
  • The class is structured in a way that invites open communication about any kind of questions you might have – about your relationship with your partner during pregnancy and post-baby, and also about how to develop a special relationship with your baby early on.
  • The class is all about fostering a sense of community and sharing resources. Our instructor shared various kinds of resources with us like printed booklets, helpful websites and online links to help educate us better.
  • The whole set-up is really considerate, with ample walk breaks and rest time keeping the needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women in mind. There are thoughtful snacks like pregnancy-friendly tea, energizing nut bars and lactation cookies to snack through the session.
  • Providing a direct link between theory and application, the workshop entitles the participants to a free couples counseling session in the future with the instructor, which can come in handy at a later stage.

We also spoke to Anna Williams, the owner of Village maternity, about this unique workshop and how it can empower pregnant women and their partners.

Anna Williams with her adorable daughter, Theodora

Seattleite: How were the Village Maternity classes first conceptualized?

Anna Williams: When I was pregnant, I looked around for classes and found that most were held in sterile hospital settings with powerpoint presentations. The content felt dated and not very helpful. I really wanted to find a class that felt modern, was taught by my peers (with experience!) and was in a more comfortable environment where I could connect with other families going through the same experience.

We surveyed our customers at Village Maternity and found that a lot of people had similar feelings. We launched our own class series, It Takes A Village. We interviewed lots of different educators across Seattle and partnered with our favorites to launch classes that were science-based, engaging AND helpful. We partnered with vendors through Village Maternity to get fun gift bags for expecting parents and partnered with Kumon in University Village to use their beautiful space.

We launched classes in August 2018 and since then, we have continued to add and subtract classes based on feedback and demand from our customers. 

Seattleite: Tell us a little about some of your classes. Which one is the most popular? 

Our bestselling class, Bringing Baby Home, continues to sell out each month. This incredible class designed by the Gottman Institute focuses on a couple’s relationship post-baby— something that is so overlooked during the pregnancy! We also have seen a lot of customers looking for post-baby support.

So much of the education out there is about the pregnancy and the literal birth but does not focus on the birther after the baby comes. There is a lot of recovery! We are working on pelvic floor strengthening classes and abdominal separation so that new moms feel they have a place to go to heal their body post birth.

Seattleite: How would ‘Bringing baby home’ help a couple who is expecting?

Anna Williams: ‘Even the strongest relationships are strained during the transition to parenthood. Lack of sleep, never-ending housework, and new fiscal concerns can lead to profound stress and a decline in marital satisfaction—all of which affect baby’s care. Not surprisingly, 69% of new parents experience conflict, disappointment and hurt feelings. This workshop, based in Gottman’s own research, helps families learn to communicate better, gain relationship satisfaction and create healthy social, emotional and intellectual development for their children.’ (from the Gottman website)

Seattleite: What’s the structure of the class?

Anna Williams: The class is a two-day workshop that goes through a mix of activities and research-based information to help couples learn tools better their transition to parenthood.

Seattleite: How can couples retain the teachings from the class after it is over? Are there resources they can access?

Anna Williams: One of the greatest things about going to Bringing Baby Home at Village Maternity is that all participants receive a free couples counseling session with our instructor, Ursula Hildebrandt, Ph.D., MSW. This is a great benefit for couples to check in on their relationship after the baby has arrived.

All images are by Village Maternity.

Village Maternity    |    2615 NE University Village Street, Seattle    |    (206) 523-5167