The whole reason for this blog was my realisation that my biggest learning about pregnancy and having a child came from listening to peoples experiences, reading about parenting moments on blogs and across the internet and realising that contributing to this world of joyful, emotional and stressful moments is really important. I think it is anyway.
Despite how much I’ve learnt, to give both myself and my fiance a level of confidence going into parenthood, we figured it made sense to attend antenatal classes.
Now, when you think of antenatal classes, sorry, IF you think of antenatal classes, what do you think of? Mum’s on their backs with fathers behind, learning breathing techniques and panting on the floor in a room full of soft cushions and yoga balls? Me too… I was wrong.
I was dreading them honestly. I commute a 100 mile round trip every day for work (I know poor me 😉 ) and the thought of taking three hours out of my evening when I got home wasn’t appealing. In these situations we’re supposed to be the supportive partner, always motivated and happily involved, but my idea of what to expect at these classes just didn’t do that for me.
So the first class rolls round, we arrive at the hall of a nursery school, chairs laid out like alcoholics anonymous (no personal reference there, just from movies), and a lot of faces with that look of terror, mostly on the dads, or frowns of people that didn’t want to be there. Name badges distributed, introductions made, the class began.
I considered going into great detail about each class. But they truly are extensive, you may think you’ve swotted up on EVERYTHING… you haven’t. A hormone here, a drug there, a detailed description alongside a photo of something you really didn’t want to see thrown in for good measure. I was honestly blown away by the information they provide. We opted for classes that you pay for, my partner did the research and we were also recommended by a friend. I think it ended up being £170 for 3 classes. 2 3 hour sessions and one Sunday session we attended last weekend that was 5 HOURS!! Anyway, I won’t go into the extensive detail of each class, but here are some of the topics that are covered:
- Natural Labour and birth – physiological process
- Induction of labour
- Assisted birthing
- C section
- Monitoring during labour
- Medical pain relief
- Self-help techniques for pain relief – breathing, relaxation and massage
- Emotional wellbeing and mental health
- Infant feeding
- Baby brain development
- Baby care such as safe sleeping, bathing, nappies, soothing a crying baby
- Birthing the placenta
- Your body after childbirth
The classes made me experience everything, from anxiety to excitement and a lot of moments of WHAT?! But we both benefited hugely. For some, the information provided brought more nerves than confidence and for others vice versa, but pregnancy and birth is an incredible and scary ‘thing’. My fiance remained calm throughout and if anything now goes into this feeling more confident than ever, if a little concerned about the pain, but a hell of a lot wiser on the pain relief she has access to.
I’ve heard the stories of how men dread these classes, the thought of having to socialise with other people outside of your lad group on a subject that’s daunting and unfamiliar. The course leader herself has said she has groups that almost don’t say a word to one another. We were incredibly lucky, everyone was friendly, funny and I’ve no doubt we’ll benefit from this even after baby girl joins us, due to being able to socialise with people we already know and with children of a similar age. Most importantly, this class even adds a pub night for the dads… seriously, what’s not to love?!
Ladies out there. If you’re reading this, you are incredible! What you are capable of to bring these little humans into the world is nothing short of amazing and my already existent appreciation for my other half has sky rocketed. I have nothing but admiration for her… I doubt she reads this, but on the off chance she does, you are incredible!!
The classes we attended can be found here if you happen to be in this area: http://www.bump2babyreality.co.uk/Antenatal/antenatal_course_leam.html