Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Public Health Pre-Natal Classes

Our third public health pre-natal class is tonight, and I find I'm not looking forward to it as much as I was before the classes started. I'd hoped that we'd learn a lot and that we'd get to meet other new moms and dads, the better for bonding and playdates. But after last class, I'm starting to lose hope a little bit.

I thought our first class was good. We learned about infant brain development and about safety (ie, car seats). Chris, on the other hand, referred to it as "the remedial class" because with all the reading and research we've done, it seemed like the material in the class was way beneath us. Without judging anyone, it is obvious that for many people this class is the only education they will have before becoming parents, and the classes are geared to that. Not exactly at our level, but what can you do?

The second class, our hospital tour, took a bit of a turn for the worst. Though the information presented was terrific and some of it was actually new to us, during the brief "stretch break" the nurse heading the tour got into a loud conversation with two or three of the couples about placentas, the main gist of which was that some people actually eat them, and OMG isn't that ga-ross? The nurse contributed that one grateful mom had brought the nursing staff some crackers and placenta pâté, and some homemade cookies with breastmilk frosting. They were all so disgusted by this that they decided never again to eat homemade gifts, only ones that were obviously store-bought. The couples made their repulsion known with their constant comments of "ew" and "GROSS" and shudders of disgust. Chris and I, nearby and overhearing all of this, hoped madly that there was no-one in the class whose culture included this ritual, because it would have been incredibly offensive.

For the record, Chris and I are not intending to eat the placenta. But we are open-minded enough to recognize that some people choose to do so, and that while we personally have no interest in it, we also are not judgmental or intolerant of those people. It was really shocking and more than a little disappointing to encounter this attitude, as I'm sure there are things we have done or are planning to do that would strike these haters as equally repulsive.

It was at this point that I took a good hard look around the class. I think we are among the oldest people there, if not the oldest. Chris declares that we are definitely the most mature (aka, old and stodgy). Strange that being the old and stodgy ones would also make us the most tolerant, but there it is.

The birthing video we watched that night was accompanied by many uncomfortable giggles and snorts, as if we were all back in Grade 9 Sex Ed. I came home and ranted to Chris that these people were going to become parents in the next few months: that they were going to be confronted with all manner of bodily fluids in great quantities, several times a day. Had they not considered this? Were they really so desperately uncomfortable with the concept? (Thank goodness the issue of Moms pooping on the bed during labour didn't come up, because their tiny baseball-capped heads would have just exploded right then and there.)

Anyway, I'm no longer anticipating the forming of long-term friendships at pre-natal class, unless there is some other old and stodgy (and tolerant) couple who's sitting at the back, shaking their heads and the silly punks, just as disappointed as we are in the behaviour on display. A hidden treasure of a couple who's just as afraid as we are to speak up and ask intelligent questions lest they open themselves up for scoffing and eye-rolling. It could happen, but I'm not holding my breath.


Amberism said...

whoa. This is deja-vu. This entire post basically summed up our experience of pre-natal classes the first go-round. I was so disappointed because being very new to this community I had really thought that Steve and I would actually meet like-minded parents and was *excited*. I just walked away dumb-founded.

To be honest, I haven't met any Moms at any of the community-based stuff I do in my own community. I keep going, they have to be out there. In that sense, I wish I lived in Nanaimo.

sarapants said...

It seems strange that in this current era of starting a family later in life, you and Chris (in your EARLY 30's!) would be the oldest in your pre-natal class. Maybe the older parenting trend is more obvious on the Coast and not so much in Nanaimo??

And I must say, that for those people who want to eat the placenta, go nuts, that's great; but it is asking a lot of someone (ie: the nurses) to share your placenta pate and breastmilk frosting. Don't you think that's going a little far? Maybe not, maybe that's just me!


Related Posts with Thumbnails