It's important when first time parents decide to go to the childbirth classes to have reasonable expectations. The father is not going to be able to deliver the baby with boiled water and towels by the end. There are still going to be unknowns that occur even if the plans are printed out and laminated in a binder in alphabetical order.
You are finding and reading this article because you want to know what of the things they told you at the class are bull. You want to know if the classes are worth the time and the money that you will be out if you attend.
I will start by telling you my personal favorite part of the class. Ready? It was the hospital tour. That was really all I wanted to know. Where do I go when I start to have the baby? That happened at the end of the class, so unfortunately we were in it for the long hall. If your class does it at the beginning maybe you or your partner gets suddenly ill after that or you wander away (make sure you bring your purse.)
This list is obviously poking fun at the classes a little bit, but the educators that do these classes have our utmost respect and thanks.
15 The Internet Is A Thing
Ladies, you have to be aware of this. You are here after all. Most all of the things that you will ever want to know (and plenty that you do not want to know) about birth are at your finger tips. You don't even have to put pants on.
This is important, even though you can look up a lot of things, doesn't mean you should look them up. There can be a lot of bad news on the internet and you can start to google gas pain and all the sudden find out that someone thought they had gas and it turned out to be a pimple that contained spider eggs. That is the craziness that is internet use. Google responsibly.
Also, if you can't trust yourself to deal with all the internet for searching things out try to find a couple good books to read through. What to Expect When You Are Expecting was my favorite source, it's a classic.
14 Classes Are At Hospitals...With Sick People
Some birthing classes are offered at hospitals. Where do people that are sick go to? The hospital. Who has two thumbs, a big belly and doesn't want to get sick - you ladies. I would assume anyway. Obviously you go to your appointments and there are potentially sick people there, but seeking out more time with people that may have germs seems like a bad call to me.
Of course they likely have the hand sanitizer at all the doorways. That is so drying on your hands though. Safer to stay home without pants and google about how to know when your water breaks. The only positive I see about going to the hospital for the classes is that you will for sure know where the hospital is when you are in labor or when you come down with the plague that you are going to get from going to the hospital. That's all I got for that.
13 Forced Social Interactions
We have all been there. They always start with having to introduce yourself to the class. Give your name and your favorite part of pregnancy was the introduction at my class. Sitting there and listening to everyone else's story - while sounds sweet, can be a drag. Having to remember everyone's name? No thanks. You can barely remember your own name somedays.
Everyone gets nervous about introductions and if you are private person, birthing classes may just be an hour of too much information. Having to listen to one woman explain her violent vomiting or how another couple can't decide between the names Janice or John. It's all very annoying, without the added pregnancy hormones that can make you extra testy. At which point it's your turn to tell the class your favorite part of being pregnant and you're only response is "GET ME OUT OF HERE!"
12 Outdated Information
A lot of times the information in these classes are out dated. That might be painting it with a broad brush, but there isn't always information on the newest trends. If you are wanting to have the placenta attached for three days after birth, they may not know much about the option and they probably aren't going to address it in the class. These are where your doctor appointments are handy. And really if you go to those, these classes are even less likely to be helpful. The videos are likely to be from the 80s or 90s. Now watching a baby be born probably would be no better to watch in the HD format we have these days, but at least the hair style wouldn't drive you crazy during the show. Who can focus on the miracle of birth with the bangs looking like that?
11 Go Natural Or Go Home Agenda
This probably varies by class, but the class we had was very focused on how you were going to get through this with no pain medication. While the intent was probably good, there was a tad bit of shame involved if you admitted that you were looking to get the epidural at 29 weeks pregnant.
It seems like there should be a little more balance to the options given. In the class we went to there wasn't even mention of it. That's helpful stuff to give to mothers to be. Maybe a quick section on how the epidural works and some of the side effects that are possible might be helpful. There is no need to "sell" it. It's my understanding that some classes have the opposite where the mothers planning on going natural feel like they are outsiders. Balance is probably the key here.
10 That One Person That Makes The Class About Them
You know the person that wants to ask a question after each point in a meeting and all you want to do is scream, "PUT YOUR HAND DOWN". Of course that person is at one of these classes. They live for this. You will know more about that person's vagina at the end of this class than you ever thought possible. They will take everything and make it about them. They will try to get a diagnosis for whatever ache or pain that they have felt that day. They will let you know what doctor they had and how long it took them to conceive. They will let you know that they will in fact be letting the placenta stay connected for 8 days in order to get all the nutrients. They will make eye contact with you at break and try to be your friend. Always looks down, my friend. Always look down.
9 Not Enough Snacks
That brings us to the snacks. If these people know anything they will have snack options available for hangry pregnant women. That part is good. Here is the bad part, the selection is really crappy. What am I a toddler? Why are there fruit snacks and granola bars? I want Doritos, bagels, toast, and pickles. Pretty simple. That's all I'm saying. Also, there are too many breaks. Let's just have an open door policy where everyone can go to the potty when they need to. No need to stop the class every 8.5 minutes for another preggo to waddle out to the bathroom. In the name of efficiency, this needs to stop. Also, quick taking snack breaks and providing water if you want us to ever get through this day. Obviously these women can't control themselves and feel they must drink all the water... and then pee.
8 Horror Movie Is Shown
Back to the movie. Guys, there is no benefit that I can see to watching someone else go through birth. There just isn't. There are so many factors that go into how your body responds. How your body starts labor, how your body is handling pregnancy, how your body handles pain signals. Watching someone labor through like a champ does not mean anything when it comes to what you experience. Maybe this lady on the TV has a really high pain tolerance. Maybe they sneaked her an epidural while the camera crew was at the kraft services table. We don't know. And that is why you shouldn't aspire to be exactly like her. Or one of the reasons you shouldn't. Also the bangs she has, you shouldn't aspire to those bangs. Have I mentioned that already? My bad.
7 Gives False Idea Of Control
You don't always have control and these classes make it seem like you are going to waltz into labor delivery to run the show. There are midwifes and many situations where you may labor more naturally and get more say. However, during your first rodeo you likely won't even know what you need to make things better and you're probably darn sure will not be asking for ice chips and your mix tape to play. You aren't going to be bossing nurses and doctors. You aren't going to be handing out laminated copies of your birth plan to all the staff and holding a meeting thanking them for attending your event. This is a survival mode type of situation where you are focusing on getting your next breaths and how to make it through. There is fear and to be honest a little bit of panic. People are there to calm you and help you through, not the other way around.
6 Already Know How To Breath
I already know how to freakin' breath people. Quit telling me that it's going to solve anything. My paper cut still hurts even if I breath deep and count to 11. This carries through to the pain that is labor. That doesn't mean you should stop breathing, in fact I profusely encourage you to do so. Like really, don't stop that. However, none of the kinds of breathing that was done on my end made it feel better. That doesn't mean that focused breathing and hypnotic thoughts can't help you. Just saying the 5 minutes we spent in the class didn't teach me all I needed to know for that. The five minutes taught me enough to be frustrated that breathing wasn't fixing anything like the dang teacher said it would. Was it Ho Ho HEEE? Is that why it's not working? May Ha Ha Ho Ho EEEE? Screw it.
5 Idea That A "Coach" Is Needed
These classes kind of make it seem like a coach is required. I think that in the literature prior to the class they even say one is required (or at my class.) They don't really do anything at the class. In fact, during labor they don't really even do much. My husband tried to rub my back and I remember being so pissed off because he kept rubbing the same spot over and over again - like really...more than that 1 inch square is hurting. Why are you even touching me. You suck! Go away. This isn't a therapy class. Why do we need to have someone else there? Not sure. Probably for their information and to feel part of the team. It's not really all that helpful, in my humble and correct opinion.
4 Too Much Time Trying To Make Husband Feel Special
While we are discussing this, it really is foolish how far we go out of the way to try to make the Dad's feel special. Really, you want to give them a special snack too because they came to the class? You want to give them a chance to lay down on the mat for a little bit. Give me a break. WE are not pregnant. I am pregnant right now, Stuff this making the man feel special. I love my husband a lot, but he knows as well that this is not about him. His ego doesn't need to be stroked in order to stay involved in our baby's life. It's almost this outdated thought that in order for fathers to be involved you have to really make them feel like they are appreciated. Nope- do what you are supposed to or buh-bye. This is the first of many tests to see how you handle it.
3 There Isn't A Way To Prepare For How It Feels
There are a lot of descriptions for how things are going to feel when you start contractions and when you push. Really though, it's can be so different for people. Also, from one pregnancy to the next your body can even change so much. My two deliveries were night and day. The first one I begged for an epidural at 2 inches dilated. My second I made it to 7 and then was afraid that I would miss my chance to get one, so I asked. Even in one person the sensation can change. This is why the information is a little bit hard to take in. You just can't know until you experience it. Even when you stress yourself out over the internet reading about how it's going to feel, you will still find yourself wondering if that was a contraction or not. Should it hurt worse or if it's all hurting too much. These classes won't fix that for you.
2 Creates Anxiety About "Maybe"s
In some instances the classes can get you a little more stressed about possibilities. Look, a lot of us are the kind of women that didn't read ahead in the book to find out how this whole thing ends. For us, having all the possibilities laid out in front of us and all the things that could go wrong spelled out, it's a little overwhelming. Anxiety isn't great for anyone, but it's something I think we can all agree is especially important to avoid during pregnancy. We are not saying that you shouldn't educate yourself on possibly complications, but in a classroom environment there is something that makes it seem even more surreal. Also, your set of problems are likely to be different than Suzy next to you in class. That means that you are learning about things that could bother her, and not you. Time wasted.
1 So The Baby Is Here... Now What?
There was zero information about what to do once the baby comes. What do you do with the baby now? Do they just let you leave with this tiny human? Like just leave the hospital. They didn't train me how to be a mom at all. Granted that was likely not their job. However, they don't really address after care either. Things to watch for after you give birth. Things to do to ease discomfort. Coping skills for you after the baby is born and you are are recovering. Wise words or ear plugs? None of those things were offered. Now sure there are probably more classes that can be pursued for this, but they cost money. Having babies and learning how to care for them benefits all the world, I don't think charging is the way to go if we are looking for better parenting practices in the world. Luckily there are internet and books available bringing us back to point 1 in which we know that classes are BS.