My Support Network: The Antenatal Class Family

My Support Network: The Antenatal Class Family

When I was pregnant people kept saying to me “your life will never be the same”. In my head I kept doing that “well obvious” face that Kevin and Perry (remember them!) used to do. But until you are on the other side, it cannot be explained accurately. Well it can be, but you don’t believe it.

Being controversial, it is also hard to take advice off people who gave birth years ago. I mean human nature being what it is, means my parent’s generation often look back on these things with rose-tinted glasses and, of course, medicine and health guidelines advance. That is not to say that my family have not been amazing and supportive or that their advice isn’t welcomed, it is just that it sometimes easier to bounce ideas off people who are experiencing what you are experiencing at that exact moment. This is where my new family comes in. My antenatal class family or ACF as I like to call them.

To do NCT classes or not?

If your close family are anything like mine, as soon as we announced I was pregnant, one of the following questions was “are you going to do NCT classes?”.

As great as having a baby for the first time is, the thought of spending whole weekends with six other random couples discussing child-birth was not exactly exciting. I had also heard stories about people being told in antenatal classes that you were a failure if you couldn’t breast feed.

Then you realise the cost and we had serious doubts about undertaking any classes. Eventually we took the plunge and I am so thankful we did. We decided to go the whole hog and enrolled on the NCT signature course.

Friends for life? REALLY?!?

I remember W telling me a couple of days before our first session that one of the bosses at his work still meets up with the NCT Dads at least once a year (his children are now in their late teens!). W also commented on how the course was in effect the most expensive way to make new friends ever! Of course, the classes were a lot more than about making new friends and we learnt lots that helped us during Bump’s birth {click here to read Bump’s Birth Story series}

Invaluable friends

I recall sitting in the car park of a village hall in early summer waiting to go in to the first class. I felt like I did on the first day of school or university! All I could hear in my mind was my friend who had said to me…

“The content is good but it is the people who make it worthwhile, you will have a whole new gaggle of friends who will be invaluable”.

That friend was not wrong. My ACF have been my lifeline and kept me sane, even in the early hours of a morning when I am struggling being a Mum.

Maybe I was lucky, but my ACF have been fantastic. The NCT slogan of “support for birth, friends for life” really sums up my feelings about my ACF….I know that sounds corny but oh well!

I loved the fact that, pre birth, I could talk and laugh with the mummies to be about the less talked side of pregnancy (everything from being scared of wetting yourself (and worse) in labour all the way through to depression and how to cope). These were things that I felt I could only discuss with ladies who were experiencing all these emotions and worries at the same time as me.

Postpartum Support

Fanny

Meet Fanny the Flamingo. A pre-push gift from one of my ACF girls!

It was when I gave birth though that my ACF came into its own. Their support has been fantastic. No one minds silly questions and someone always has a bit of advice that you may have never thought of (little finger upside down in the mouth may seem obvious now but it wasn’t to post birth me!).

Our WhatsApp group has been a lifeline to me, even at 2am in the morning when I am sat in the dark nursery feeding Bump, there is always someone on the WhatsApp group! We have regular meet ups, taking up the whole of Sainsbury’s cafe for example!  If I am honest, my ACF have made motherhood not feel lonely. Because, let’s be honest, being on maternity leave is damn lonely.

Yes antenatal classes are expensive, yes they don’t focus enough on post birth but boy oh boy the support network you gain from them is priceless and, if I am frank, has got me through the first month of being a mummy.

Did any of you undertake antenatal courses? Was your experience the same as mine? Would you recommend them?

Penny x

PS: To my ACF, sorry for the shockingly bad picture! I couldn’t find a decent one…

Disclosure: Elements of this blog were originally posted on the Mummy & Little Me blog as part of the Birth of a Mummy and Mummy & Little Me partnership. Whilst I am receiving payment from Mummy & Little Me they leave it up to me to decide what I blog about and do not have any editorial impact on my posts.

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