You're starting to feel pretty confident that you're going to knock this whole parenting thing out of the park. Then, you get a curve ball. Because what’s a pregnancy without some hiccups, right? And no, we aren’t talking about those cute little hiccups your baby is getting, all warm and cozy in your belly. It’s totally possible that you strut into your first birthing class, expecting to do pretty amazingly with your breathing practice, and epically fail.
To be fair, it could either be you, or the class itself, or the product of just not meshing well with the instructor. Possibly it’s a healthy combination of all three.
A lot of the time, it isn’t the worst thing in the world to take the steps in finding a class that better suits you, and any inconveniences are well worth it. Depending on when you begin your birthing class, this could be a weekly routine you're stuck with for more than just a month. The last thing you need, as you battle heartburn and swollen feet, is the unpleasant dread of your birthing class every single week. And no, you aren’t being picky or acting like a "momzilla".
Now is the time when it’s totally acceptable to assert yourself and put your foot down. Heck, feel free to stomp that foot to get your way. A happy mommy-to-be means a normal, steady heartbeat to lull baby to sleep in her warm cocoon, and less frustrated dessert binging. Lucky for you - and baby, and your partner - there absolutely are ways out of what can be a downright horrible birthing class. No, you aren’t stuck and yes, there is another way. Just breathe.
If the problem with your birthing class directly stems from the instructor and his or her techniques, then you have every right to want to ditch that class for good. Trust us, it happens more than you think and you won't be the only one dropping out, so to speak. An awesome birthing class instructor can totally be the difference between a Zen, relaxing hour and a stressful, anxiety-ridden class.
And the sooner you figure out if this is your issue, the better. No good can come from suffering through six weeks of uncomfortable classes that should be making you feel better about birth instead of miserable during the last leg of your pregnancy. We aren't saying that you should confront the teacher or anything and perhaps they aren't even doing a "bad" job. But the important thing to remember is that you should be able to mesh well with them and feel comfortable and at ease.
Is your birthing class in the morning and you just aren't a morning person? While yes that will eventually change when baby arrives, there’s no reason to force yourself to wake up earlier than 10 if you don't have to. You know your body and mind better than anyone else, and if you can’t handle a morning class, then steer clear of them.
Being a crabby morning person can mean inadvertently finding any and everything wrong with the class, regardless of the instructor and fellow parents in there. Not getting enough sleep, or waking earlier than you're accustomed to, will just make the whole experience negative for you, and who wants that?
Likewise, if the class you've registered for is too late in the day or early in the evening for you, that's no good. Choosing the right time of day is almost as important as finding an instructor you can connect with. You don't want to do anything to negatively affect your birthing class experience and anything you have control over, you should take control over.
If nothing seems to be working for you as far as birthing classes go, then go back to figuring it all out. There’s no shame in taking a step back to do your research and putting off the classes for another week or so. Take this time to figure out what sort of class you think will work best for you. And as you consider all of your options, think about your own personality and what works best for you in general.
Like we said, only you know what sort of time, day and atmosphere will be best for you. Do you prefer classes where you can keep to yourself? Or, would you rather be in a birthing class that feels more like a birthing community? These are all important things to consider when you get back to the drawing board.
That's right, your handy doctor does indeed know all--well, to an extent, but especially if this is your first time being pregnant, you can trust your doctor to steer you in the right direction of at least the options available to you. And if the classes are at the hospital you see your doctor at, they will have an even better knowledge of what's offered and what will work best for you.
No, your doctor won't know every single thing you need to know about the perfect birthing class. There may not even be a "perfect" birthing class out there. In fact, there probably isn’t. But there is the best option for you and you've trusted your doctor this far, so allow him or her to take you a step further and help you get rid of the birthing class that isn’t working for you.
Chances are, if they haven't already gone through this particular issue, then they may very well be going through it right now. Ask them how they dealt with the issue or even which birthing classes they opted for. If nothing else, you can get a great recommendation or two. But you can also take comfort in this new frustration we face as expectant parents.
And no, it isn't complaining. Like we said, you have every right to have strong opinions, when it comes to your pregnancy and your birth. You wouldn't let a doctor force you into a water birth, if that wasn’t your plan, right? Apply the same sort of assertiveness and decision making when it comes to this too. And don't be afraid to ask any and every one you know who would have pretty much any knowledge on the topic.
Are you looking to practice Lamaze, opting for a natural birth with no medication involved? Or, was your plan to go with the Bradley Method and have your partner be there as your coach of sorts? Maybe you prefer the Alexander Technique, which emphasizes flexibility in your muscles and limbs. As you can see, there’s more than just your average, run of the mill, Lamaze class to be had.
Can you imagine signing up for a birthing class that supports the Bradley Method, when in fact your actual pan is to have a water birth or a birth that has nothing to do with your spouse or partner getting anywhere below your belt? Yeah, you'd definitely have to make a quick exit in such a situation. Do your research first and find the style of class that best fits your birth plan. You can save yourself a lot of confusion and headache later on, trust us.
We totally get wanting to go to a birthing class that is physically the closest to you out of all of them. But what if that particular class isn't the best match for you? Don't be afraid to broaden your search and drive a little further for the perfect class. Just because the Lamaze class is a block away, it doesn’t mean that you'll be getting everything from it that you need for your labor.
We aren’t suggesting that you travel three towns over or an hour away for the right birthing class, but we are adamant in the idea that easy is never necessarily the best choice for you. Especially when it comes to something as important as your birthing class. Switching it out for a new one is all well and good and we totally back that, but wouldn’t it be easiest if you don't have to keep switching your birthing class? We thought so.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide if you even want to take a birthing class at all. Because it isn’t a necessity to actually give birth. The hospital will still perform the delivery of your baby and hand that little bundle back to you, we promise. But since it's not a real requirement, consider dropping that nightmare of a class you're currently in and opt for nothing in its place.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with simply going in "blind", or reading up on your birthing choice as best as you can. In some cases, we don't even get to follow through with our original birth plans, anyway. Don't be afraid and don't feel guilty about giving up on the whole idea of birthing classes. Just because it’s the seemingly natural course of action to take, doesn’t mean that you have to put yourself through something that might make you more uncomfortable than at ease.
That's right, it’s totally o.k. to just give up and give in. And doing so doesn’t mean that you're failing at anything. Instead, you're getting in touch with what you really want and are comfortable with. And if it turns out that right now, birthing classes have no place in your schedule or mindset, then so be it. Let the whole idea just fall from your mind for now and enjoy all of the foot rubs you can convince your partner to give you.
Later on in your pregnancy, go back to the topic of birthing classes with a fresh mind, ready to look at the idea in a clearer way. As we've said before, there’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want in a birthing class and going for it, as opposed to suffering through a class that is just not for you. And should you decide that birthing classes altogether aren’t for you, then again, that is totally fine. The most important thing to remember is to be assertive in what you want to make you happy for the rest of your pregnancy and comfortable when "labor" day comes.