So, last week, at the earlier insistence from my crew of midwives, I attended my first ever antenatal class.
Despite waxing lyrical on here about babies, labour and not being able to tend to one’s bikini area, I’m not huge on the let’s-sit-around-in-circle-and-share-stuff arrangement. It’s not me. I’m a brazen lass at times and I prefer to tell it like it is, rather than breathe and pant and describe my perfect labour.
Still, Ste and I decided that we’d give the whole ‘knowledge is power’ thing a go, which saw us arrive at the local children’s centre at 3pm last Wednesday.
Now, antenatal classes are, on average, more useful to first-time parents with our limited knowledge of the tearing of vaginas and the like. So you can imagine that scheduling an Easter celebration with THOUSANDS of screaming children in the available slot before, and allowing it to run on, would be enough to make me drop my maternity leggings and have Stephen sew my lady parts up with a loose thread and his teeth.
Yes. We arrived to the smell of Play-Doh and fresh poo, combined with the delightful soundtrack of screaming infants, ranging from newborn to ten. As an expectant mother, you may be horrified to find that this was my idea of hell. But it really was.
There were Proud Mothers, Stressed Mothers, Eco Warrior Mothers and the occasional What The Fuck Am I Doing Here Dad.
I strained to find my future self and failed miserably. Tried to console myself in the fact that I’m about as likely to take my child to an Easter Massacre as I am to take him to a Cheeky Girls’ concert. But still, I was concerned.
As it ran on, with the handing out of prizes to tiny Peppa Pigs on Prozac, me and Stephen alternated between looks of horror and looks of shared disbelief.
Matters were made worse by the fact that we were the only expectant parents to be seen. As time went on, with Bump Watch our main agenda for the day, we reckoned we had another three couples along for the ride. Noted not only by the obvious, but by the matching look of terror on their faces.
After that, the next few hours passed in a blur. The Infant Whirlwind from Hell left with a much noise as possible, leaving utter carnage in its wake.
I found myself sat on a sofa that was both uncomfortable and soaked with what I hoped was juice, but what I suspected was piss.
We introduced ourselves to the rest of the group in true school fashion; one after the other in a circle. We deduced we were the youngest there and the only parents willing to share the sex of their child – some knew but weren’t sharing with anyone…? Obviously, we didn’t care enough to ask why.
After a couple of hours, we learnt the signs and stages of labour, I had the midwife try some Mexican technique on me, which involved me bending over a chair on my knees while she stood over me and rubbed a scarf over my bump (don’t ask how I got myself in this situation) and we tried some hypnobirthing techniques, which I thought I already knew as ‘breathing deeply.’
I may jest, but for the most part it was informative. If you can handle the over-sharing and the group breathing.
Either way, it made for some bloody entertaining conversation when we went for a curry afterwards with my mum and dad.