When I was pregnant with Sebastian I decided to sign up for the NCT antenatal classes. I was recommended them by a few people who had given birth and described them as wonderful preparation for a natural intervention free birth. At that point all I wanted was a lovely relaxing water birth at the local midwife led unit.
So I bit the bullet signed up and paid the £200 for the privilege and promise of cake. It also meant that as I had paid for them I could force Dadda into taking the time off work to come along, although I think the offer of cake may have also had something to do with it!!
Driving up to the first class, Dadda turned round to me and said…
“If I have to sit in a circle and do some stupid introduction I’m going to hate it… If I have to talk, I’m going to hate it…” I laughed, of course there’d be introductions and talking and probably sitting in a circle.
We walked into the room and low and behold a circle of chairs! Who’d have thought it? Then in waltzed our hippy dippy teacher…. Lets call her Flora so as not to offend…
Flora with her waist length hair, floral maxi skirt and stripy toe socks. She spread a series of pictures around on the floor of waterfalls, mountain ranges and babies.
Once the other couples had arrived we were invited to sit in the circle and select a picture and discuss how it represented our feelings of pregnancy and birth. Dadda and I did our best to stifle the giggles The classes continued for the next 6 weeks in much of the same vein. There were lots of hippy dippy analogies, some dancing and swaying, and some absolute gems of both parenting and birthing advice. My faves are below…
1) Labour doesn’t hurt. It is INTENSE!
2) We are like cats and should find a safe dark place to birth our babies
3) When you have a sweep, a midwife invades your nether regions and … (Flora made a huge circle above her head at this point)
4) Pain relief is BAD, you should embrace each contraction and breathe your baby out.
5) DO NOT LET THEM TOUCH YOU
6) An internal examination is a form of intervention
7) Any intervention is BAD
8) Don’t use baby powder; it can give your baby cancer.
9) Do not use any product to wash your baby until you are weaning. Water and cotton wool are enough, and yes this includes baby wipes!
10) Labour doesn’t hurt, IT IS INTENSE! INTENSE!
Oh and a two hour session “man free” session where the boys went to the pub and we did some breathing to build up to the fact that…
a) Yes, you may poo when you are giving birth.
b) You will be able to have sex again.
We’d have had more fun in the pub!
Every week we would leave the session and Dadda would ask if we had to go back the following week, and I would say yes. We had bloody well paid for the classes, there had to be something remotely useful to come from them.
The thing that I paid for was friendship. I paid £200 for three women, their husbands and children. Our babies differ in age by 6 weeks from oldest to youngest, and I swear it was a cuddle with a four week old baby girl that sent me into labour the next day, and I love them little people like I love my own.
These lovely ladies have helped me to survive the last 18 months of motherhood; we’ve cried together, ranted together, laughed together and boy have we drunk some wine together. We have never judged each other’s parenting choices, and there’s never been remotely any competition. Who cares if you breast or bottled, clothed or disposable, co slept or own roomed, epidural or home birthed….
What matters is I paid £200 for you, you can’t escape that easily!