Back to (Baby) School

If there’s one thing that your first antenatal class does for you, it’s bring home the fact that shit’s about to get real. We’re having an actual, real life, push out of your body baby. Soon.

We had this realisation on Tuesday night at our first of three classes, in our local children’s centre with about 10 other couples. They ease you in gently with a ‘round the room’ of when you’re due and which hospital you’re having the baby at, and lull you into a false sense of security by sending round the biscuits (a Club bar, classic) and juice in plastic beakers, I imagine to get you into the spirit of what the next 10 years have in store.

Before long you’re being told that if you’re Dad-to-be, don’t pass out otherwise you’ll be shipped off in an ambulance to a different hospital (we have a habit of separating our maternity units and A&Es around here) and if you really do have to faint, please try and sit down first.

If you’re Mum-to-be, keep smiling (there’s not just one set of lips which relax when you smile, apparently) and don’t dare go to the hospital unless baby’s head is hanging out. I’m exaggerating. Slightly.

The class was no doubt helpful in some subconscious way, but after an hour and a half of being talked at about the contents of hospital bags, getting to the hospital, the signs and stages of labour, I left feeling confused, clueless and in need of another Club bar.

I imagined the classes would be more structured – I took a notebook in my bag which didn’t see the light of day after I realised I’d be a lone teacher’s pet – thinking there might be handouts with key pointers to re-read later, and that the midwife taking the class would have a set list to perform.

Stationery is not needed apparently, no matter how pretty it is
Stationery is not needed apparently, no matter how pretty it is

This was the case to some extent, she obviously knows the top line info to cover each week and don’t get me wrong she’s clearly a very lovely, experienced lady who knows what she’s doing, but I lost count of the times I heard the phrase ‘now, what else do I need to tell you’, with a serious thinking face to match.

I felt like all of the info she gave us dropped out of my head the second I left the room, and I don’t feel confident that it ever really went into my husband’s. He was too bothered about the fact that my waters could break en-route therefore we’d have to go in my car and not his – a fact he stated out loud and got a very man-based laugh from the room.

My general take out from the class was that, as I’ve learnt with everything to do with pregnancy and labour so far, nothing can be planned. It’s very much a go with your gut kind of thing, following some loose guidelines on when to ring the hospital (either when the waters break or when contractions are at 5 minutes, or three minutes… erm… I’ll call when the first things happens, just in case) and that there are so many variations on how labour can progress for every woman that there’s no point in dwelling too much on the detail as it’ll all go to shit anyway!

Next week we’ll be talking ‘the labour’, so will be a good chance for the husband to practice his not-passing-out technique and for me to practice those positive mantras from my hypnobirthing book to get me through the class. Wish us luck!

Pink Pear Bear


Diary of an imperfect mum


0 thoughts on “Back to (Baby) School

  1. My antenatal classes were not like I’d imagined at all either. On TV, they always show women sitting on the floor while their birth partner is shown how to rub their back. We had none of that. All I can really remember of it is being shown the tongs that they’d use to tug the baby out if it got stuck! Eeek!

    I think when it came to it, we just googled how long contractions were supposed to be before ringing. And even that didn’t work – we rang and the hosptial told us to come in. Then when we arrived, they checked me and sent me home because I wasn’t dilated enough. It’s just cruel!

    It’s worth it in the end, though. You just need to try and be as patient and easy-going as possible. Good luck! #BigPinkLink

    1. That’s what confused me! She said your contractions might be every 5 minutes (so go to hospital) but once you get to hospital you might only be a few centimetres dilated so they’ll send you home. So how do you then know when to go back to the hospital if you were 5 minutes apart in the first place?! Anyway, we’ll work it out and as you say, and I’ve been pretty laid back this far so I’ll let the confusing information go over my head! And you’re so right about what you see on TV, the closest we got was when the husband choked on a bit of his Club bar and I had to pat his back to make sure he was ok/didn’t embarrass me haha. Thanks for reading! x

  2. ‘There’s not just one set of lips that relax when you smile, apparently’ oh my goodness, I snorted! What a brilliant line! And I love that your husband was preoccupied with whose car might be damaged should your waters break…! I went to my antenatal classes alone, because they only ran them during the day where we live, and my husband wasn’t allowed the time off work! I was the only one who went by themselves, and I always wondered if people pitied me for being there by myself, and wondered if I was a single mum to be, or if my husband had no interest in our child what so ever! I was a bit disappointed with the classes to be honest, but that may be because there is absolutely nothing that can prepare you, and every case is so unique, that they can’t cover everything, so just gloss over the basics! My favourite memory was the class taken by the physio, where we all had to close our eyes, and visualise ‘winking our anus.’ Everyone was half opening one eye to see if everyone else was crying with laughter too-which most of them were!

    1. Hahaha ‘winking our anus’!!! That’s hilarious! I think between us we covered the lot in our classes! I know what you mean about glossing over the basics, it does feel like that’s what they’re doing and I’m not sure there’s much that we couldn’t find out from good old Google, but I suppose they’re worth sticking with just in case they come out with any pearls of wisdom! That’s terrible that your husband wasn’t allowed time off work. I’m sure no-one was thinking twice about why you were there alone, especially if the classes were only on in the day I think I’d assume that it was something to do with work. I bet the anus winking broke the ice though!! Thanks for reading, glad I gave you a laugh 🙂 xx

  3. I remember going to an antenatal class when I was pregnant with my eldest, we’re going back 6 years though and don’t remember anything from it! There is only so much these things can teach you because nobody knows how it’s going to go. I ended up with a breech baby and a c-section, didn’t see that coming! x #bigpinklink

    1. Exactly, they tell you how a ‘normal’ birth should go but we all know that anything can happen and they can’t cover it all. Thanks for reading 🙂 x

    1. I’m with you, stationery is the best I can’t believe more people at the class aren’t into it!! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂 x

  4. Good lucK! Thankfully ante-natal classes are well in the past for me now but I do remember some of them being incredibly patronising about us dads and setting a ridiculously low bar. (“Don’t pass out.” etc etc). I loved being part of the birth of our first two kids (at home) – I delivered our second solo myself – and I can remember being disappointed when our third was born in hospital (we’d planned another home birth, but hey ho) and I had nothing to do … #bigpinklink

    1. Wow you really were involved in the births! I think you’re right, I can see how the Dads might feel a bit talked down to, especially if they’re as prepared and up for it as you obviously were! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  5. I couldn’t help having a little smirk at hubby’s car comment and then I felt disloyal. My childbirth class was awful! But you are right it is had to tell people about an experience that is so different for everyone. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

    1. Haha no need to feel disloyal, it was quite funny although I probably won’t find it funny when he says it seriously when I’m in labour! X

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *