Thursday 6 January 2005

back to school

We had our first NCT antenatal class last night, which was okay. Not great, but okay. The people there were really nice and some of them were downright hilarious, but the woman running the course isn't exactly the most dynamic person in the world. She has an incredibly annoying method of speech, that goes something along the lines of: "So if you have fear, then you have tension. Yeah? [5 second pause] And if you have tension, then you have pain. Yeah? [5 second pause] And then if you have pain, it creates more fear. Yeah? [5 second pause] Any questions?" It was slightly David Brent-esque, to be honest. Apparently she is a trainer by profession but Paul and I agreed that her people and presentation skills need improvement. She spoke to us like school children and seemed nervous and awkward.

Despite this, we did learn some interesting things and even the wanky "getting to know you" exercises forced upon us weren't too bad. What really interested me was the attitudes of the men - some of whom seemed to be there under duress. Most were quite happy to be in the course and eager to be fathers, but some seemed pessimistic about the concept. We were all asked what we were looking forward to as parents and one guy said "to know that it's not as terrifying as I think it will be". Which is fair enough, really. I can't claim that I'm entirely calm about being responsible for a little human life either. I think what surprised me was the surliness of some of the men. Some rather snide comments were made, which might have just been a blokey way of handling the discomfort of being in a room of pregnant women, but it took me aback. And made me appreciate the fact that I've got a fantastic husband.

One memorable moment was when the course leader pulled out a big bag containing items that represent all the "extras" pregnant women carry around with them. A sack of potatoes for the baby, a bag of pasta for the placenta, a two litre bottle of water for the extra blood and fluid, a litre bottle for the amniotic fluid, two bags of sugar for the uterus, and my personal favourite, the three litre bottle of cooking oil to represent the added fat stores. Mmmm nice. I liked the bloke who kept guessing that each item represented cream cakes.

It was really lovely to chat with a group of ladies who are all around the same stage as I am and who are all giving birth at my hospital. We compared notes about where to shop, swapped advice about maternity clothes and heartburn, and most conversations started with "do any of you ever experience this...?" I feel lucky because so many of my friends have given birth in the past year or two, and I think I've learned a lot of valuable lessons from them all. These women said that they didn't know anyone who was pregnant or had a child recently, and they were in the dark about most aspects of pregnancy and birth. Knowledge is power when it comes to pregnancy, if you ask me.

Hopefully this first session was an off night for our instructor and that we will learn something on this course. If anything, it's great to meet local people in our situation and get to know them better. And here's hoping one of the sessions involves learning (and specifically, being the recipient of) massage techniques.

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