3. Power + Pain: Working WITH the Sensations of Birth

How do we cope with birth? However we experience it, whether unmedicated, medicated or surgical, the sensations and emotions are immense and intense!

Using a powerful experiential exercise + group discussions, this workshop explores what it means work WITH intensity or pain, instead of trying to push it away. Discover how many coping tools you already have, and learn new ones from other class participants.

Birth partners will explore their important to the birthing person’s capacity to find endurance and strength, all while increasing their own capacity to witness and trust the intensity of the process.

Below you will find a sample class meditation audio recording as well as a video about Choices In Birth that we encourage families to watch as early in pregnancy as possible. (This topic is explored in more depth in the Informed Choices workshop.


  • Awareness Scan (meditation)

  • What is Pain or Max Intensity Experience? (discussion)
  • Diving into Sensation (extended exercise)

  • Exploring Coping Strategies (discussion)

•Printed PDF Exercise Workbook
•One pen per person
•Two hand towels
•Large stockpot or bucket (≥12″)
•10 lbs of ice

  • Continue practicing awareness scans, belly breathing or the raft and the waves
  • Complete the Power + Pain reflection exercises within a few days of class and discuss together
  • Practice “Clearing the Space for Birth” in your workbook
  • Explore chapter 4 in WEB APP
Class Resources
Open Circle offers prenatal massage as well as postpartum massage with baby in Providence, Rhode Island

When I was pregnant with our second child, my husband and I attended two childbirth education sessions with the warmest teacher I’ve ever met. I found myself visulizing my uterus like a jellyfish, pulsating, dancing, doing the work it needed to do. I learned to think of each contraction as an opening: my cervix a sea anemone offering up its colorful tendrils, a releasing sort of embrace. I went from three centimeters dilated to 10 in less than 30 minutes, no time for the epidural I vaguely asked for, and somehow, though the pain filled me utterly, because I had a new way of thinking about it this time – the labor wasn’t being done to my body, my body was doing it – I managed to feel centered: not the battered cow but the undulating grass, the sky above, a wave out at sea, the only wave. 


New York City


Open Circle’s childbirth education programs, prenatal yoga classes and parenting education are all among the best our community has to offer.  As a midwife, I have provided maternity care to many of Kaeli’s childbirth education students.  Her students enter the birth experience well educated, prepared, and empowered to be full participants in their care.  In addition to my professional knowledge of her services, I have personally experienced her prenatal yoga, prenatal massage, and mom/baby yoga classes.  All were very helpful to me during and after my own pregnancy.  I am grateful Open Circle for their commitment to bringing these excellent services to women of all cultural backgrounds and income levels.  –Camille Williams, CNM