My first birthing class went about how I expected it to. I walked into this class knowing only what I’ve read in books and online (mostly through articles found from sleepless nights of thumbing through Pinterest). I felt prepared to learn more, but also anxious. Very anxious. Not quite biting-my-knees-in-the-shower-wishing-I-could-die-on-command kind of nervous, but nearly. These pregnancy hormones really know how to make a girl hot and sweaty in every way that isn’t fun.
With my husband at my side, I made it through and can say that it was really worth the stress. I learned a lot, and overall I feel more confident about the big day. In this review of my class, I’ll recall some of the key points that I found helpful, and document a bit of my experience.
You’ll Be Fine
Childbirth is a terrifying experience, but probably not as terrifying as every mother wants to make it out to be. Sure, it’s hard. There are plenty of terrifying stories out there, but be real with yourself. No one wants to highlight the uneventful parts. There has to be something that happens that moms can make the focal point of their entire experience to impress eager ears. Examples aren’t needed here, because even people who aren’t interested in babies know all the horror stories. These stories are NOT the norm. They are NOT very common, and frankly, medical practices are much more sophisticated than they were 45 years ago when your grandma gave birth. (Read more about why I think that other moms suck).
You’ll be fine. Probably… It was hard to feel any concern with my husband drawing screaming babies Dragon Ball style two feet away. I definitely recommend bringing someone that doesn’t share quite as much of your fears and concerns along to these classes; his relaxed demeanor was a huge help for me.
No Parent is Perfect
Although I enjoyed my class, I found it hard to relax and participate to the fullest because the other parents seemed so uptight. If you think you’re going to be the perfect mom or dad, go ahead and do yourself a favor… accept right here and now that you aren’t, and that trying to be will only make you miserable and unnecessarily stressed out.
The class was asked, “How do we relax after a stressful day, like if you had gotten fired?” Everyone gave simple, appropriate answers such as “yoga” or “taking a walk.” How boring. Seriously? My response was equally lame: “Pets and Netflix”….but be real! I hypothetically just got fired?! I’m hypothetically going to be drinking a bottle of wine in the bath later. Or now that I’m pregnant, some hot chocolate, since that is my new go to nightly drink.
These classes are meant to be educational, so should you find yourself in one do yourself a favor and PARTICIPATE. It’s okay to speak up and be wrong, you’ll still be given the correct answers.
There were a few fun and educational exercises that we did in class. The first was just getting into two separate groups of moms and partners and listing out what we hoped to cover and what our “mom/dad goals” would be. I said that I wanted to overcome my fear and anxiety of childbirth and just fucking survive. These mid 20s to mid 30s women got silent and awkward like I just committed some giant sin. GUESS WHAT LADIES! Using the F-Bomb doesn’t make you a bad mom and being pregnant doesn’t make us saints. Fuck.
Be yourself, stress is bad for the baby.
You Got This!
The woman leading this class was a huge cheerleader for us all overcoming our fears and feeling like “we got this.”
As a past doula, she has seen hundreds of births, and assured us that even in the heat of the pain and struggling of active labor, the majority of moms felt confident that they could keep going, and determined to make it through. It’s a well known fact that giving birth is not without pain. The goal of a successful birth is not to have no pain, but rather to keep the pain at a manageable level and out of the suffering zone.
If you’re a nervous pregnant woman like me, then instead of fearing pain, feel comfort in knowing that your doctor will keep it at a manageable level and that no matter what happens in your birthing suite, you got this.
Tune in next week to find out if the other moms lighten up. Will they answer questions without being called on? Will I offend more people?