When I was pregnant with my first child, I was determined to have a natural, drug-free childbirth. So I decided my husband and I should take Bradley Method Birthing Classes.
And so, every Saturday during college football season, we sat with our instructors in our family room for three hours, watching all sorts of ridiculously outdated videos, completing homework about cervix size, and planning every single aspect of my birth.
Even though I did end up having a drug-free birth, all I could think about during my few lucid hours after my baby was born was why the heck I spent so much time in those stupid classes.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking birth classes. In fact, I'm not even knocking Bradley Method Birth Classes (but update your materials, people!).
Mostly, I'm just knocking my own stupidity for spending so much time and energy thinking and planning the BIRTH of my child, rather than learning about what to do after she arrived.
Yes, there were the few sessions spent on changing a doll's diapers, which I already knew how to do anyway. And there was lots of time spent on how to breastfeed.
But the rest of time was spent on my cervix dilation, and how my husband could support me during labor and transition, which, yay, I'm so glad that I knew about that except since my daughter was sunny side up until the last moments before pushing, my whole labor felt like transition.
And all those great breastfeeding tips? Well they didn't work because I had a foremilk imbalance.
I'm not saying all the information about birth wasn't valuable, but quite frankly, I could have done with just a few classes on breathing and the "hows" of birth with the rest of the time spent on how to actually take care of a baby.
Hire a doula if you want a natural child birth. Then take some classes on the more important part: PARENTING.
I'm an educated person who worked with children for most of my life, yet I felt completely and utterly helpless with my daughter. I had absolutely no clue what to do with her.
So sure, take your birthing classes. But do yourself a favor and take some parenting classes too. Because that labor and delivery part is over pretty quickly. But the kid part? Well, that lasts forever.
Were you glad you took birthing classes?
Image via David Swift Photography/Flickr