Looking life in the face is something I do every day in business, there’s opportunities a plenty and if you don’t reach out you won’t get them. But literally looking at the birth of a baby well there’s something new!
This was what was going through my head post pregnancy scans and confirmation that our Dorothy, was now healthy and the world was ready to be told. You see, while I have a lovely step daughter I’ve only been part of her life since she was 6 and unfortunately wasn’t there when she entered the world. I’ve just got Mrs P’s memories and stories of how easy it was.
So when the two options of NCT or NHS run antenatal classes were sprung upon me I was happy with the local NHS course but to be honestly had no idea what either of them meant and certainly couldn’t choose between the two.
Why would I pay for one when the other is free, more local and convenient?
Talking through with the then very uncomfortable Mrs P, she retold stories of a wellness and hippy style of education where health and feelings were discussed rather than just the mechanics of the ‘event’ (Can I call it an event?) happened. There was a pro-breastfeeding bias and I seemed to be saying the word doula a lot haha! To be honest this didn’t totally convince me being a man of science and logic but having someone tell me how I can gain a better understanding of the holistic approach and one which Mrs P wanted then these were massive plus points. I think the turning point was when I had a conversation with Rachel’s pro-NCT colleague who said it was life changing and continually gave him comfort 2 years after the classes.
You see, NCT isn’t free so you really have to jump through hoops to be there. Generally things that are difficult to come by are better and everyone there really appreciates it. It’s like the time I talked my way on to the rooftop party at Caesars Palace in Vegas or winning a golf competition win! It was hard work and everyone else there also had to jump through the hoops. So everyone there has made a concious decision to go and we’ve found that we have a lot in common with the fellow members and there will be long lasting benefits from the friends that made.
So we rocked up after a long day at work to a room in a stadium a long way from my work. Tired was an understatement and thankfully in the first class we spoke about each other and what we were looking to achieve from the classes. Janice advised us that the classes aren’t scripted and are in fact made up of topics we’d like to talk about and a few essential pieces. We made the classes and got out of the course what we wanted to know.
I won’t give it all away as it was a special time for us but here’s a picture to give you an idea of the hilarious group and fun we had:
No disrespect to the sterling effort of Mrs P and the subsequent pain and distress following but labour was so difficult for me. Watching your loved one scream in agony and forcing them to push on for their sake and that of your baby when you know it’s caused so much pain.
Labour isn’t something you can truly prepare for. However the NCT classes did make sure that I was prepared to keep Rachel’s spirits up, I knew what was going on at all times, what was normal and what wasn’t. I knew about the various methods for speeding up the process and the pain relief. I also learnt how to change nappies and what the different options were for feeding, bathing etc. One of the big things for me was breastfeeding and the support and encouragement given as well as techniques. Yeah it was awkward but look at the picture above. Look how much fun we had.
All of the classes were so essential and I thank Janice and the NCT and I’m sure the fellow dads at the group will.
But there’s no preparing for becoming a Dad and how life changing it all is.
That just comes natural.