Sunday, March 26, 2006

Birthing partners

Although I like the idea of community hospitals and community shops; I'm not really a community person. I don't find myself on committees campaigning for new flower beds to be placed in the middle of the road or saving historic wheelbarrows (used by some dead bloke during the war). I guess I'm the kind of person that's destroying communities, I live in my own bubble of friends and family and shop at Tesco. My non-community milieu is probably the reason I have little need for community centres.

The uncomfortable plastic chairs and scuffed magnolia paint job was exactly what I expected, but probably not for the spiritual contemplation that was to be our ante natal class. I wasn't sure what to expect to be honest (which didn't help given that the first session was to write down what we expected). My only reference point was the midwife who made thinly veiled comments about how National Childbirth Trust classes would be more appropriate for people of our, ahem, background. This made me think that we might end up spending hours discussing homeopathic remedies and chi... on a Saturday morning.

The session opened with a bit of getting to know you. Whilst the girls compared twinges, the men made lame jokes about football, pints and pies; posturing whilst sounding each other out.. I can't remember who broke the deadlock of actually admitting we did care and that we weren't there under duress, but when it happened we all loosened up.

Thankfully, it wasn't all beanbags and scented candles, the class was pretty straightforward; we had lots pictures of wombs and foetuses in that 'Joy of Sex' 1970's line drawing style and simply worked through the birthing process. Some people were able to quote the parts of the womb in Latin and support their arguments with a rich supply of statistics and research papers, some (me) looked blankly and cracked jokes.

People I know who have done these classes have talked about the friends they've made through it. Personally I was wary of being enveloped in a little clique of baby bores. It's nothing like that, thankfully, it's a good group that's happy to have a laugh at what is a whole world of goop and poo. Maybe I am a bit of a community person after all.


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