I’m not sure how quickly new parents usually sign up to these things, but within the first month of finding out we were expecting Pickle, I’d already paid and signed us up to our local NCT Essentials antenatal course. For me, it was really important to get to know other local parents, as although we have lots of friends and family who have little ones, they’re not particularly local to us. I wanted to make sure that I had friends I could meet up with during those maternity months when everyone else I knew would be at work. I wanted a support network. And I also wanted to learn – I’ve not been a parent before and there’s SO MUCH I don’t know!
Tonight was the first session, and it’s safe to say, I was really nervous. It didn’t help that LPD couldn’t go with me tonight – he’s enjoying himself on a lads skiing holiday – so I was already worried I’d be the odd one out. Instead, I dragged my Mum along with me for a bit of moral support – bless her! There was a slight awkward moment where the group leader obviously wasn’t sure if my Mum was in fact my girlfriend or wife (even though I had emailed to warn her!), but all was smoothed over in the end.
There’s eight couples in our group, and I was quite worried to start with as there was a bit of a frosty feel to the session. I wondered if it would always remain this awkward, but as we each relaxed into the session, everyone soon loosened up and I honestly didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did! Some of the other Dads are absolutely hilarious – LPD will be in good company when he does come next time! I particularly loved this quip from a Dad who was trying to label the anatomy of a pregnant lady:
Perineum? Isn’t that a plant?
Luckily, I think most people have gone with the intention to make good friends so once we’d gotten over the awkwardness at the beginning, we were all soon chatting away and getting to know each other very happily.
We were sent the above things to think about, and I got LPD to jot down his answers. His answers made me cry! His favourite thing about me being pregnant? ‘The Pickle App’ (I use the Ovia pregnancy app). He likes hearing about what Pickle is up to every day and having a shared moment where we get to both think about the baby together and how they’re developing. He also said he liked watching the Six Nations matches and feeling Pickle kick along! Pickle does enjoy a good kick along to the rugby!
I loved seeing the different dynamics between the couples – those who were very affectionate with each other, those who bantered a lot, those who were shy and those who threw themselves into it. Those who made their partners laugh and those who were quiet throughout. I loved hearing all the other Dads’ responses to what they enjoyed about their partners being pregnant. You could so easily see the pride and love in each of them, and it was so heartwarming.
There were a few couples who have newly moved to the area, so I enjoyed telling them my ‘fun fact’ about our hometown – it has more trees than Sherwood Forest! Impressive, right?
This week’s session covered hormones (we learned about progesterone, relaxin, oxytocin and adrenaline), discussed how we might be feeling about pregnancy and upcoming parenthood, and at one point we split into groups of Mums vs. Dads. The Mums were tasked with describing our ideal birthing room and the Dads were instructed to detail their ideas for a perfect pregnancy date night. I think the group leader was hoping there would be similarities between the two… but there really wasn’t! I mean, how many people’s idea of a perfect date would include pain relief and qualified medical staff?
The Dads did make us laugh though. One group offered two date night suggestions:
- Favourite takeaway
- Mutually agreeable film
- Early night
- Favourite restaurant
- Mutually agreeable film
- Early night
Which made us all laugh! The most important thing I learned was the importance of oxytocin – the hormone of love. The amount of benefits it had to the body and to baby was incredible, and can be realised through kisses and touch. I’ll be instructing LPD that we need to be constantly cuddling from now on! Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to next week’s NCT Essentials session and I absolutely can’t wait to see what LPD makes of it all! Here’s to the forming of new friendships and lots of happy, healthy babies in just a few months’ time!