Great Starts Instructor

Janelle Durham

MSW, LCCE, Co-author: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn
Classes Taught:
Professional Childbirth Educator Training
Better Birth Refresher
Newborn Care
Life with Baby

Co-author: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn

Master’s in Social Work. Trained as labor support doula, postpartum doula, lactation consultant, and postpartum support group facilitator. Have taken childbirth educator trainings through Great Starts, Seattle Midwifery School, Lamaze, ICEA, ALACE, CAPPA, and Birthing from Within. Have taught childbirth preparation to over 3500 students in 20 years, plus led numerous postpartum support groups, designed the curriculum for all Great Starts classes and PEPS support groups. Currently teach parent education at Bellevue College, and teach STEM enrichment classes for kids age 3 – 7.

For childbirth classes: I encourage expectant parents to learn about all of their options, using professionals to answer the key questions about those options, but then to make their own decisions, based on their personal values and priorities.

For parenting: We all have good days and bad days as a parent. Our kids have good days and bad. We try to set high standards and live up to them whenever we can, but we forgive ourselves and our kids when we aren’t at our best. Seeking out parent education and support helps us to succeed.

Family, hobbies:
I love stories – so I love watching theater, movies, reading books, listening to story podcasts and learning about people’s diverse life experiences and perspectives.
I have three kids, age 24, 20, and 6. Their stories are my favorite stories!

Favorite thing about teaching:
I’m a natural synthesizer. I like to gather lots of data, put it together into a clear understanding in my head, and then figure out how to summarize it in a way that is concise, easy to understand, easy to remember and to apply to varied situations.

Teaching style:
Information Dense

The most important thing I hope my students will take away from class:

What I’d like to be doing in 5-10 years:
I don’t know. My interests and passions carry me into new areas. When I was 15, I had cancer, and that led me into a career in medical social work, supporting families facing life-threatening illnesses. 11 years later, I had my oldest child, which led me into all my work with educating and supporting new families for over two decades. Then, I had my youngest child. A few years ago, I got so excited about the outdoor learning and science education I was doing with him, I started teaching STEM enrichment classes for kids. It’s hard to predict what will happen next, but everything I do always revolves around two things: education (synthesizing and conveying information) and support for people as they navigate life’s transitions.

Instructor Website: