We’ve gone to a few birthing classes at this point. A lot of it is pretty unnecessary (“Really? She shouldn’t be using street drugs while pregnant? Not even meth?”), but there’s some good information and exercises, as well as going a long way to piercing the denial bubble the Byronic Wife has carefully maintained regarding giving birth.
The other couples run a big gamut, though. We’ve kind of broken in to two camps – each on opposite sides of the big conference table.
First is Team Let’s Have A Baby!
First up is the couple I’d have to call “Grown-Up Cool.” – I like them a lot. Outdoor clothes and attitudes to match. Totally devoted to each other, taking notes, etc. At one point the instructor was demonstrating the trajectory of the newborn during birth using an infant doll and a model of a pelvis. She crammed the baby’s head in the pelvic bones, set it down and moved on. “Excuse me,” the woman from this couple interjected. “Is that to scale? Because, I get it ‘magic of birth’ and all that – but that doesn’t fit.”
Next couple is “This is Gonna Be Exciting!” – a relentlessly positive couple who are definitely freaked, but are totally positive and going to have a baby who likely emerges smiling and singing a Disney song.
Finally, there’s us. And we’re pretty great.
Then there’s the other side of the table: Team Ah, Shit, You’re Pregnant? There’s only two couples over there, but I swear it’s darker on that side of the room. Sound has trouble escaping.
First up is a couple I call “Whoops, party’s over.” Sulky, expressionless “Omigod, Becky” girl and hair-in-the-eyes dude-guy. Frosted hair, surfer jeans, nicely done nails. Who knows what their story really is, but you can really see the trajectory of “Whooo! We’re all doing Jell-o shots!” to “Um, maybe that one’s a false positive, too?”. During breathing exercises he’s usually texting; during the videos she is.
But they’re destined to be parents of the year next to the couple my wife has dubbed “The Toxic Waste Dumps.”
Everything is harder for this couple. Everything’s terrible. If someone’s back hurts, hers hurts worse. Every symptom the instructor mentions, she’s got. She’s only 18 weeks pregnant, but she’s uncomfortable all the time and her feet are in bad shape and, man, she just doesn’t know… I think all the women who have reached the “waddle” stage would belt her except for the strain involved. When asked about our thoughts on giving birth, amidst our cautious optimism and faith in the female body she had to add, “I’m expecting the worst, so I won’t be let down.” Yeesh. That’s the spirit. Her husband seems less toxic, but can only stay interested for short stretches. During Lamaze practice when the women were on their hands and knees doing back stretches he had his hand on his wife’s back like he was supposed to, but his eyes were fixed firmly on the butt of “Whoops, Party’s Over” girl.
Checking someone out in birthing class. Now that, my friends, is class.
So, we’re learning a lot about stretching and staying calm and making weird mooing sounds… but we’re also learning a lot about who we’re looking up for play dates.