Thursday, 2 February 2012

I swear my husband will be a good father...

Tonight was the final night of our 4 week childbirth pregnancy class.  The session, which focused on baby care, was nearly entirely useless.  Ross has been suffering with a sore shoulder for a while and it was really acting up tonight and he was... not interested in playing along nicely.

We were asked to take turns dressing and undressing giant stiff baby dolls.  When it came to be Ross' turn he picked up the doll without thinking about it and started to dress the doll.  The leader of the class looked horrified and tried to (in a sing-songy voice) gently chastise him and asked if he'd actually pick the baby up like that.  Ross stopped and looked at her like she was an idiot and said "No" in a tone of voice that indicated "Of course not.  I'm not stupid."  Ross dressed the baby as the leader looked on, shaking her head.

I started to feel anxious.  I was torn.  Part of me wanted to be irritated with Ross that he wasn't playing along- but at the same time, I was painfully aware of how pointless the exercise was.  Skill at dressing a baby doll really doesn't translate to the real deal.

Next came a demonstration of how to bathe a baby.  Not something I was worried about, but I get demonstrating it.  Some people might not know how it's done and I'm happy to have a technique taught to me.  But after the demonstration we were expected to divide up and all take turns bathing our stupid little dolls.  This time, when directed that it was his turn, Ross just flat out refused.  If he had been uninterested in playing along before, he was now at full animosity towards playing along.  He said to me that if his shoulder hurt this badly, he would actually probably decline giving our baby a bath because he wouldn't feel confident in his grip and ability to do it safely- so he certainly wasn't going to bathe a doll.

I shook my head and looked at the teacher who looked like she was making a note to call Social Services on us.  My anxiety mixed with embarrassment.  I went into these classes knowing that Ross doesn't play along well with things that he thinks are dumb.  And god forbid, anyone should tell him what to do! :)  I figured out that, mostly, I just wanted the leaders to understand that I'm not married to a callous idiot.  When it comes to our actual child, Ross will likely be one of the most conscientious, tender, and cautious dads in the world.  Then I decided that as long as I know how awesome Ross is, I don't  really care what the useless leader of a class thinks.  And actually, I turned down my chance to bathe the doll as well.

(The reason the class wasn't entirely useless was that, at the end of class, one of the women came up to me and gave me her phone number!  She and her husband were really nice and we'd shared several conversations, rolled eyes, and laughs over the course of the 4 weeks.  She came to yoga last week for the first time and checked to make sure I was planning to attend next week.  It only took 2 years, but I totally got a phone number from a potential friend!  That I could imagine hanging out with!  Huzzah!)

Did you take any classes to prepare for childbirth?
Do you (or your husband) play along with silly exercises in group educational settings?

18 comments:

  1. I attended what sounds like a similar group to yours, run by the midwifery unit at my local hospital. The most helpful part I found was the tour around the birthing centre to be shown the rooms etc that i was likely to be giving birth in and be talked through all the equipment so as not to be alarmed by anything on the day.
    I found the talks around birthing, analgesia and after care were just going over things I already knew. However, this was in a group setting and if you, like myself, found yourself pregnant and then made it your mission to read every publishing on pregancny , birth and babycare ever written, from Ina May to Baby magazine , then it us unlikely that these classes will teach you anything you didnt already "know" .
    What you must remember that these groups need to be pitched at the prospective parents who may not have read a book, never have held a baby and are terrified of the whole birthing experience. They do exist.
    In defence of your course tutor, she was unlikely to have had access to live newborns for you to practise on and furthermore once your baby arrives with you, you will realise that the only way to have given you the true experience of dressing and bathing a baby without giving you an actual baby would have been to given you an octupus and asked you to put it inside a string bag.

    Good luck with your high expectations of motherhood. the most rewarding jobs are often much much harder than you can ever read about or imagine.

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  2. your husband sounds like a dick.

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  3. Surprisingly accurate assessment

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  4. LMAO, "given you an octopus"! I think that's now my favorite quote. And bravo, Ross. Glad to see that you stand up to criticism and expectation medium (I don't think you could actually call a midwife a large obstacle) to minuscule, like anonymous above. I hope you help Meg let comments roll off her back.

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  5. i fear for the mental well being of your child

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    1. Based on what?!? The fact that he will have a parent who doesn't risk his safety as an infant if he doesn't feel physically safe bathing a wet noodle with an injured arm?

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  6. Just found this blog. If u don't like the state of the UK health service and it's staff I'm sure you will be accepted in your motherland with all it's private health schemes where money buys you the world.

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    1. We have horrid group classes here too! Come back and complain, it'll be fun ;-)

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  7. Why didn't your husband just explain his shoulder problem to the leaders when it came time for him to step up? Surely a feasible excuse is better than no excuse at all, right? Might've given the people running the class a better indication of your husbands character...

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    1. If only I'd have thought of that, my unwillingness to bathe a dolly might not have seemed so churlish. What I really need is an anonymous commentator to travel the world with me offering much needed advice.

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    2. I'm still not entirely sure why they should assess his character. Either right or motivation. They are providing a service and he clearly told them he didn't want it. End of story.

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  8. ah, Bravo to Ross for standing his ground! I wouldn't mind watching someone demonstrate how to dress and bathe a baby using a doll, but that is a bit stupid to then make the entire class practice using a doll - I would feel a bit ridiculous doing that. My husband and I found our NHS prenatal classes to be a bit pointless. In the end we took a private lesson from a doula, and found that to be extremely helpful.
    Congratulations on making a new friend! It's always hard for me to make friends too. If it wasn't for all of the lovely people I've met through my church I'm not sure I would have any friends over here.

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  9. Ok, so that question clearly touched a nerve with you Ross, and I have every faith that the class was tedious, superfluous and most definitely a little patronising for both you and your wife who have clearly prepped enough to be getting on with. But, as the first comment highlights, these classes clearly have to cater for a wide range of people who may very well not be to sure, I have a baby, it can be a scary business and I for one would've been glad of a class that double checked my initiative if only for y own piece of mind.
    You still actually haven't answered my question (it was clearly easier to mock it) why didn't you just tell the leaders you were in pain and didn't feel up to it? They have a job to do and your uncooperative attitude without justification must have shook their confidence and coated the class in a negative atmosphere. But above all it's the absence of politeness, isn't it just more polite to put people in the picture? Instead of degrading the efforts and the necessity of the class? Clearly if the class exists, some people are getting something out of it.
    Perhaps it's worth thinking about how you would react if your own child showed the same absence of manners in an educational capacity... But hey, don't listen to me, I'm just an anonymous visitor on a blog that asks me what I think.

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    1. I think my actions (or lack thereof) may have been misinterpreted, I'm fairly sure no one was aware of me creating a negative atmosphere or even being impolite.

      As I understand it this is a new class that has been remodelled from two older ones and some new items added, it was disjointed and occasionally counterproductive. Perhaps in 6 months time it will be better, I won't be finding out for at least two reasons.
      It appears that we weren't the only people who came away from it with the same point of view, having since spoken to others.
      I think blindly following a teacher or class because that is what seems to be required is not always a good thing and would hope that any child of ours would have the presence of mind to not do so in every occasion.
      I do find it increasingly tiresome answering people as "anonymous" though.

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    2. This Anonymous- I appreciate that you are asking legitimate questions. Sometimes it is hard to tell when people are "Anonymous" if they are sincere or just being jerks. I do have to say that, despite the lack of disclaimer on my blog, I have been known to use hyperbole and artistic license to illustrate points or make them more humorous...
      Ross didn't actually create a scene or upset anyone to any great degree. He declined to participate in the bathing experiment, but it really wasn't that big a deal. And actually, I think most people do a disservice by pretending that workshops like this are valuable. I can't tell you how many of the participants said "that was totally pointless", but then wrote "Great! Very helfpul!" in the evaluations. I'd rather our son be a straight shooter (but not rude, of course) than someone who plays along just because.

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    3. What you see is what you get wins in my book.

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  10. You get out what you put in.

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