So, let us go back in time. Let us for the moment forget that my boy is 6 weeks old now, and return to the days when he was still a bump; receiving the constant care and attention of life inside the womb.
I left you on the last entry with Willy having her referral for physio. At the time, we thought her Pelvic Girdle Pain would be cured after a few visits, in stead she was treated like a number, not an individual. She was told by the lady treating her that she seemed to be at full term and must be having a massive baby (this was something Willy had worried about and didn’t need some unqualified and uncouth person spouting nonsense). Needless to say Willy came home in floods of tears and returned only one more time to attend an aqua exercise class, which was not completely suitable for her condition and as it was a group class, she had no opportunity to get the specific help she needed. Again the physiotherapist made out it was Willy’s fault for not asking for individual help during the session. Believing the care given at the local hospital was never going to help; Willy did not return and sought private help. A local osteopath ended up being the answer and after a few sessions, the pain was eased; but never completely disappeared until after the birth.
At around this time, we began our ante-natal classes at a local children’s centre. Six Saturday mornings full of all the information you could need about how the birth would happen.
Now then… if you had asked me before the birth how good these courses were, I would have been overflowing with praise. Having been through the birth, my opinion is totally different. The thing is, the course gives you a lot of information and that is brilliant – it also shows you how to be empowered during the birth – it also gives you calming and relaxing techniques for the time after the contractions have started… this information you are sure will help you during the birth. For the most part it doesn’t – nothing prepares you for birth: it is like a rollercoaster, grab on and hold on as tight as you can.
There are also things raised during the courses (like ‘skin to skin’ and breastfeeding) that are shown to you as the best start for the baby and almost saying that without them, it would be detrimental to the baby’s start in life. If these things work out, then everyone is happy; however, when they don’t, the weight of guilt the woman feels is almost unbearable. More on this later.
I must say that all the trainers were extremely helpful and well informed. They were all enthusiastic and we finished the course thinking we would be excellent during the birth: this we were, however, I am not convinced now that if we hadn’t completed the course, would we have done it any differently… I think not. The birth happened and went really well, but all the things we had planned, did not happen. It is certain though, that we were glad to have been at least fully informed, and although I would not advise against doing the ante-natal classes, I would always advise anyone taking them to know that they preach the ‘perfect birth’, and this is never available: you just do the best you can on the day.