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LiveWell Blog

Janis’ Story


Childbirth Classes Aren’t Just For Those Expecting.

They’re also for those who want to know what to expect.

There’s an old adage that goes, “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.” Despite a master’s degree and State Department credentials on his resume, Yakuba walked into his first childbirth class at Wayne Memorial Hospital feeling less than top of his class.

“Men don’t do the delivery thing in Niger,” explains Janis, Yakuba’s wife, and now mother of their baby son, Jayden.

The couple first met in 2000 while Janis was volunteering with the Peace Corps, and Yakuba, hailing from a small country in southern Africa, was working for the American Embassy. Little did either know that by 2004 they would be married on the beaches of Senegal, and by 2009—after travels to Italy, Gambia, and beyond—they’d be living in North Carolina, looking forward to the birth of their first child.

On a friend’s recommendation, Janis signed up for childbirth classes at Wayne Memorial Hospital. “I thought, wouldn’t it be great to go to the Hospital, because we would actually see where we were going to be when we deliver.”

Yakuba’s enthusiasm was less immediate. “When she told me, I was like… childbirth class?” It wasn’t necessarily unappealing, just unfamiliar. “In Africa, you are the dad at home. You don’t know anything that happens before the baby comes home. You don’t go to the doctor. You don’t go to the hospital.”

This was one tradition Janis was happy to leave on the other side of the Atlantic. “Before we got married I said, uh-uh. Don’t try to pull this thing your countrymen do. No. You’ll be there. You will be there.”

And he was. “It was enlightening to me,” laughs Yakuba. “It’s like someone who has been blind, and it just opened your eyes.” When the big day came, the couple was ready with bags packed, paperwork processed, and the confidence of knowing what to expect.

“It wasn’t difficult because we didn’t waste time thinking about what we needed to do. The childbirth class had given us all the tools we needed, from A to Z.” And today, unlike many first-time fathers, Yakuba feels comfortable taking care of Jayden when Janis is away.

“You might have a formal education and have traveled the world, but when it comes to having a baby, I don’t think you truly know what to expect if you don’t prepare. There is so much to learn about childbirth and taking care of a baby. You need to learn it.”

At Wayne Memorial Hospital, we delight in being part of this process.