How To Feel The Joy & Accept The Reality

Join Diane Sampson and Gabrielle Kerson for this five session IN-PERSON course that will prepare you and your partner for the last weeks of your pregnancy, the actual birthing process, what to expect from your hospital stay or doula / midwife experience and what happens (how to cope)  in the first few months after that baby actually arrives.  

This small group seminar, held in a cozy living room setting in downtown Charlottesville will integrate prenatal, birth and postpartum information to bridge from expecting, to having that baby.  

Over the course of five, two hour classes we will prepare you for the physical, emotional and mental challenges of becoming a parent and provide you with practical tools and approaches to make this transition smoother, happier and generally more manageable.   


The cost is $500 per couple and space is limited to 4 couples.  This includes take home information, snacks and the start of a community that will support you through the early years of your child’s life, an ongoing relationship with your instructors and classmates.   

Covid precautions include proof of vaccination.



Actual Class Material May Be Influenced by Your Particular Questions


Week 1: Labor & Birth

  1. What can you anticipate?                          

    What are the typical stages of labor?        What are some typical variations?

  2. Birth Plans & Preferences

  3. Who is Who in the hospital

  4. Which friends and family are invited to which parts of this party?                                  Before, 

    during & after giving birth.


Week 2: Labor Q & A 

Ask Us Anything, Ask Us Everything - 

  1. What Will Help Me With Pain, Anxiety & The Unknown In Labor?

  2. What is A Comfort Measure?

  3. Should I get a Doula?

  4. How do you Find a Doula?

  5. How Can My Partner Help?

  6. How to Delegate to Your Partner & Still be Friends (Communication Styles) 

  7. What is the Role of the Hospital Birth Center Staff?

  8. What Pain Medications Can I Use & When?


Week 3: Birth & Immediate PostPartum

  1. Preparing For The Big Push

  2. Cesarean Birth, Planned or Not

  3. What happens right after your baby is born.

  4. What to expect in your hospital postpartum stay.


  6. Immediate Postpartum Health / Pelvic Floor Care 


Week 4: OMG We Have A Baby In The House - the First 90 days.

  1. Bringing Baby Home

  2. What do you need at home for the baby

  3. CAR SEATS!!!

  4. Where should baby sleep/ Where will baby actually sleep

  5. Does Anyone Actually Get Sleep?  (Sidebar about sibling sleep disturbances / Nighttime routine reinforcement 

  6. What are your personal daily needs and how to take care of them.

  7. Is it safe to shower?

  8. Where can I Put this Baby & Now Where Do I put my water?

  9. Hydration Needs

  10. Lactation / breastfeeding basics, resources and when to ask for help


Week 5: Emotional Regulation & Security for the Whole Family 

  1. How to Talk So Your Family Will Listen, And How To Sleep When They Want to Talk.

  2. Do You Know Where Your  Other Kids Are Right Now?

  3. Where Is Your Partner/ What Is Expected of Them, What Is Realistic, What Do They Need To Support This Moment.

  4. Who Is Allowed In Your House And What Should They Bring?                 Who Is going to be there, How Do they get in?  (Do I Need Cameras for the Doors and Nursery?)   How long can they stay? What could they bring / Send 

  5. We Made It Through The Wilderness / Signs that manageability is near.

  6. How to Feel the Joy & Accept Reality 





Diane Sampson, MA, IBCLC
Maternal Child Health Coordinator
Blue Ridge Health District | Virginia Department of Health

 Diane Sampson was the prenatal education coordinator within the UVA health system for 21 years.  She is now the Maternal Child Health Coordinator with Blue Ridge Health District, Virginia Department of Health.  Diane is also a Certified Lactation Consultant, and a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and has successfully raised two children of her own.



New Parent Educator,
Newborn Care Specialist 
Holistic Sleep Specialist,
Director of Gabby Gardens Play school

Gabrielle Kerson is a seasoned child care professional who has taken close care of many families through early parenting and childhood. Over time she became interested in the difference it makes in long term family mental health when the early days of parenthood / being a sibling are well supported.  She has become a Newborn Care Specialist, A New Parent Educator and is pursuing a Masters in Social work.