Having flashed back to my birth story in last week’s post, I realised it would be remiss of me to overlook that major milestone of birth preparation – the antenatal classes.

Did anyone else find them a bit, well, bizarre?

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Don’t get me wrong, they were definitely worth going to; we picked up lots of tips, made some great friends, and there were unlimited Hobnobs, which is the best way to get any party started (just a note for any international readers; a Hobnob is an awesome biscuit, not some kind of embarrassing medical condition…)

BUT – our classes seemed to be a heady mix of really useful information and REALLY cringeworthy team building games. Some highlights for you:

  • At the beginning, we had to go around the circle, introduce ourselves and share the most interesting fact we could think of about our significant other. One guy, having had a good five minutes to think about it, opted for “this is Claire – she’s just finished a really big cross stitch of an owl.” F*ck me, it must be wall-to-wall fun at Claire’s!
  • We were then split up into two groups. The mums had to brainstorm what they found most difficult about being pregnant…FYI, screaming ‘I MISS WINE!!’ straight off the bat here probably isn’t the best way to go, particularly in a group whose top peeve was not being able to spend as much time at the gym…
  • Meanwhile, the Dads had been given some ‘empathy bellies’ to wear to help them understand how uncomfortable growing a person is. We returned to the room to find three heavily pregnant men engaged in a full-on press up competition – yup, just oozing empathy there lads…
  • On to the question and answer session, which Claire’s other half won hands-down with:
    “Do the hospitals provide those squeezy bottles you use to wash your bits when you go to the toilet after labour, or should we pack one?”

    Now, I can’t knock the guy’s research skills (I certainly could have done with one of these bottles!) but I WISH I could have captured the look on J’s face when confronted with that level of detail. You have to bear in mind that the only question he’d asked so far was how much the car park was likely to cost…

  • The midwife hosting our sessions proved to be the master of understatement; she described labour as a process that would ‘smart a bit’ and make us feel ‘rather tetchy’ towards the end (no sh*t Sherlock). Her grand finale was an enlightening birth demonstration featuring a dolly and a wooden pelvis, which she ended abruptly with; “I won’t push the doll all the way through today, because it’s a bugger to get out again”. Thanks love, I think my womb just winced, really fancy my chances of a natural birth now!
  • Spooning a blob of baby food into a doll’s nappy and asking us to change it DOES NOT prepare parents for the real-life experience. I propose a slightly more realistic exercise – smear the gunk ALL the way up Sally Doll’s front and back, attach her to some kind of revolving table, THEN get changing… in the dark. With the wipes just out of reach. Whilst someone screams in your ear. Now we’re getting somewhere!
  • At the end of the class, they killed all the lights, played the Twilight theme tune and asked our husbands to hold our bellies whilst contemplating the magic unfolding within…I took one look at the horrified expression of the guy behind us and spent the entire time snorting into J’s shoulder – hopefully it just looked like we were REALLY into it…

I’d love to hear your antenatal anecdotes!

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