Monday, February 14, 2011

The Parenting Class Drop Outs

Overall, my view on pregnancy is pretty positive. Yes, it is at times inconvenient (I now plan errands around restroom locations) and there are days I look in the mirror and wonder when (and if) I will ever get my body back or if the lovely brown spots I have developed on my face will fade after birth. But these are mere side effects of an otherwise pretty amazing process. To think that it has already been nearly eight months baffles me. To think that we will meet Catherine so soon baffles me even more. And most days, the thought of this meeting leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy and overwhelmed with excitement, picturing our new lives as a family of three. 

But every now and then, for just a brief moment, I allow myself to freak out and I chose to do this Friday night after reading far too much information on labor and delivery in preparation for our Planning for Parenthood class Saturday. 

Each week, I read the corresponding chapter of my book Your Pregnancy Week by Week in which our baby's size and weight is compared to that of a fruit or vegetable and we are told what is developing that week (ie: fingernails or eyelashes have formed, skin is thickening, etc.). Each week, I picture this tiny being inside me as a banana or a butternut squash or an eggplant and I smile at how quickly she is growing. This week, however, I chose to supplement the usual reading with some not-so-cute reading about actual delivery and all the scariness it entails...

and. I. lost. it.

I must admit, I have soared through this pregnancy with very few freak outs. I have been calm and collected with a general "come what may" attitude toward the whole delivery thing. This is until I allowed myself to focus on the fact that this being that will be, according to my readings, the size of a small pumpkin, must exit my body in some way. Don't get me wrong. I have known for many years how the process of birth works, but had somehow chosen to push this fact to the back of my mind until now. 

So I freaked out and heaved all of my pregnancy driven hormones and uncontrollable sobbing onto my unsuspecting husband until he somehow convinced me to relax and get a few hours sleep before our 7 hour class on how to become new parents.

I share this anecdote only because my fears were replaced with a heavy dose of comic relief only a few hours later as we embarked on an exciting adventure otherwise known as parenting class. The class began at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. We were surrounded by roughly 10 other couples in varying stages of expectancy all eagerly awaiting what was sure to be an informative day of class for first time parents. We were so very wrong.

The instructor was a nurse who also fancied herself as quite the storyteller, spending the first 30 minutes of class time recalling some of her favorite answers to her list of ice breaker questions and then informing us that while the class was scheduled to end at 3:30, it was almost impossible to fit everything in in only 7 hours. This was not a good sign. We then quickly realized that if some of the people in this class were allowed to be parents, we were going to be impeccable. 

So after spending four hours of our lives which we will never get back and watching far too many inappropriate videos of a Molly Ringwald look-a-like giving birth, Husband and I decided that we had learned nothing we didn't already know and that we could play games on our phones at home instead of in this class. We left for lunch and never looked back.

So while I am still not thrilled at the thought of the general physics involved in birthing a child, I feel much MUCH better about how prepared we are. I had somehow convinced myself that I was missing some greater knowledge that could only be gained from a class when in fact this knowledge I lack can only be gained through experience. So, come what may. In a little over a month, I will embark on the same journey of countless women before me and I will be just fine. Because the finished product is well worth all the drama.

No class can teach that.

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