A rite of passage for many new parents are labor preparation classes. Many first-time parents attend to learn about what to expect during labor and childbirth, and hopefully learn some techniques to help manage the pain.
During these classes, people meet, share intimate moments, and bond over their impending delivery. Childbirth is a great remover of self-consciousness, and it all begins in these labor prep classes!
One of my funniest experiences of this class was holding ice to simulate childbirth pain. The theory was that forcing ourselves to hold onto the ice through the pain would be similar to what we would experience when we were in labor. I’m not sure I understood how funny this was at the time, but it’s hilarious in retrospect -- if only childbirth was equally painful as holding ice! On the plus side -- it was the middle of a heat wave, and the ice cooled me right down.
There were sweet moments in our class, as well as the educational content and pain management tips. We were told that, during labor, we should focus on an item that meant a lot to us as a family. My choice was a wedding gift quilt, handmade for us by a close family friend. In class, we went around the circle and each showed our items; it was a really emotional moment as couples opened up to the room of almost complete strangers about sentimental jewelry and photographs.
After being through the whole experience, I can look back at myself and laugh a little. At the time, I thought if I was educated on everything that would be happening, I would be able to control it. The reality is, of course, that babies have their own agenda. They come out when they’re ready, we have little control over how labor and childbirth will go, and -- at the very end of it -- we have a very tiny person we are in charge of for the foreseeable future. It’s great to get information on childbirth and labor, but remember who is actually in charge here -- baby!
Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of brunchwithmybaby.com, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.