So there we all were sitting in a circle; eight couples in the same boat: all having our first babies at the same time. We certainly all were – as the Blue Rodeo song goes – “Lost Together”, but those NCT birthing classes went a long way in helping us understand (and navigate) this new world we were all entering.
The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) classes were, in a word, invaluable. Over the span of three sessions (one half day and two full days), we covered a lot of ground; everything from breast feeding to birthing options to nappy changing and beyond.
It was a lot to take in, but the benefit of being “in a pack” of other first time parents-to-be was that you never felt alone or ignorant and there were no such thing as stupid a question. We learned a lot about what to expect, shared horror stories and fears and were often put into groups to figure out answers to common questions.
One exercise we did really captured my imagination and simultaneously quelled fears about starting a family. We were each asked to produce a personal pie chart detailing how our time was segmented pre-baby (i.e. what % of time did we spend on our careers, with family and friends, leisure, sleep, holiday, etc.) Then we were asked to imagine what that pie chart would look like after baby arrived.
And to our surprise, most couples seemed to share the same philosophy as Claire and I on their charts; namely that we would adapt and the baby would fit into our lifestyle. In other words, slices like sleep and work would surely slim down as the new “baby” slice was introduced.
The real value for me in all this had to be the long term networking opportunity. The other attendees were people who all lived in our neighbourhood, so in time to come they could become a local safety net; shared local knowledge about day care, playgroups and schools, pilates partners, walking partners, weekend holiday organisers and more.
Claire now regularly meets the other NCT mummies for coffee and play dates. Their friendship, advice and company is invaluable to her. And Milo has his first friends.
I cannot recommend NCT classes enough for first time parents. Do it. Be lost together, it’s a wonderful feeling.