So we’re taking this Birth and Babies class. It’s offered through the local health region, and our class happens to be at the hospital where I will deliver. (Which is conveniently less than 5 minutes from our house.) It’s a 10 week course, and costs $200, so a large-ish investment of time and cash, and this clearly makes for a self-selecting group. It’s a neat concept, in that you ideally have the kid around week 5 or 6, and then you bring the baby to the rest of the classes and learn about infant care. For the last class, they even bring in an infant massage specialist.
I was expecting to be on the older side of the class, being 30 and all. But we’re actually firmly on the young half, which surprised me a bit. But then we’re back to the self-selection of a 10 week $200 course and it makes more sense.
What I expected less is that no one else in the room seems to have a sense of humour. And let’s be honest, there are enough weird and wacky parts of this whole experience that if you can’t find something to giggle about, you probably have no sense of humour at all. I mean, at the very least, when they show the birth video and the woman walks in with her 80s mushroom cut hair and giant overalls and you don’t at least crack a grin? Soulless. We probably will not become friends.
One of the things we had to do last night was to practice the supported sway. Which the instructor explained as being like grade 9 dancing. So David and I immediately went for the arms on shoulders with straight arms awkward dance style. Which we decided was too grade 7-ish, and immediately got closer. He spent the rest of the time trying to ‘subtly’ cop a feel, all junior high boy style. While I muffled my giggles in to his chest. Because who doesn’t like a bit of side-boob touching? Everyone else looked like they were being graded and not enjoying it at all. Which is silly – this is the father (I assume) of your baby, and I don’t know about you, but I still take just about any chance I get to snuggle up with my husband.
Another assignment from last night – talk to the couple beside you about 3 things they plan to do during early labour. Early labour is the part that can go on for 14 hours and be mostly just uncomfortable, for those of you not immersed in this stuff. (Active labour is when you can’t talk or walk during a contraction.) Then we went around the room introducing the other couples and talking about their plans. Of the 12 pairs in the room, at least SIX OF THEM listed, I swear to God, studying their birth notes as a planned activity! Yours truly? Listed having a bath, watching tv and playing video games. Most of the room looked pretty judgey until the woman running the program mentioned games as being a perfect thing to do. Haha, all you uptight boring people!
But seriously. As the woman in labour, everything I’ve read suggests that it’s a very primal, not-thinky experience. It’s not a test. You get the prize no matter what happens. Reading your notes seems … way too fucking OCD for my tastes. And I say this as a woman who has read at least 31 books about pregnancy and birth and labour and breastfeeding and babies. I like research! I like learning! I just really feel that last second cramming isn’t going to help at that late date, and that staying calm and relaxed and having a laugh is so much a better plan. (All of the books I’ve read agree with me, FYI.)
Look, labour will happen and I accept that it will be hard and painful and take me to a place within myself that may be quite new. I accept that this will be an experience like no other. But I refuse to accept that it means I have to give up my sense of humour and sense of the absurd, or that I have to stop sitting in the back of a classroom making off colour jokes with the cute boy sitting beside me.
I just wished when I looked around the room I could find someone else who looked like they were trying to suppress a giggle.
Making mom friends is gonna be hard, I think.