Pregnant pause: School’s in for mums and dads in waiting
At last we’ve started our antenatal classes, called Preparation for Parenthood, with a bunch of other first time mums and dads. Both of us were disabused of notions we’d had about the birth process.
Peter thought the midwife would teach us about the Leboyer method of breathing.
How many times have we seen the TV husband anxiously puffing alongside the wide-eyed wife during labour?
They do that in America, she told us. In Australia we just breathe normally.
I was hoping that we would learn at what stage to head for the hospital; remembering stories of other couples going too early and then being sent home again. She only said: “You’ll know when you have to go.”
I was alarmed when she half-jokingly showed the men in the room how to hold our hands so that we didn’t accidentally break their fingers.
(I immediately rejected my unspoken idea of bringing rosary beads to help me keep calm. Visions of shiny beads rolling on to the tiled floor and under people’s feet ... maybe Peter can keep them for me.)
And, of course, seeing four videos of actual births is very different from looking at nice, clean, black and white diagrams in my Pregnancy for Dummies book.
Peter found the videos reassuring; they reminded him of how natural the birth process is, from growing up with farm animals around and attending an agricultural high school.
Aside from not relishing the thought of reminding my husband of a cow when I’m having our baby, I found the videos a bit worrisome. But I also felt strangely touched watching these strangers giving birth.
I’m generally not a heart-on-your-sleeve type, but I cried when I walked down the aisle at our wedding.
I think I’ll be shedding nappy bucket loads in the birthing unit – and not all from the pain.