Tag Archives: NCT classes

25 things they definitely don’t tell you in NCT classes (but probably should)

Things they don't tell you in NCT classes

Did you take an NCT antenatal class? This weekend we were having lunch at the pub and at the next table was an NCT group on their first post-baby reunion.

It was obviously an NCT group. There was a lot of handshaking, hugging and barely contained hysteria. All the babies were tiny, new and being clutched slightly too tightly by the glazed-eyed dads and happy / manic-looking mums. There was a line of sparkly, mud-free prams, no-one had a clue how to fold them. One of the mums freaked out about getting hers up two steps because ‘There’s no ramp, what do I do?’ There was a small ruckus every time a baby cried, and much respectful eye averting every time someone got a boob out. It was awkward, sweet and lovely, and I was both very glad it wasn’t us and also weirdly nostalgic for the time when it was.

Often billed as an expensive introduction service, we took an NCT pre-childbirth course because we wanted to make friends with other pregnant couples, obviously, but also because were pretty clueless about babies.

While we got lucky with our group and still see them all the time now, for parties and play dates and wine, we did also cover a reasonable amount of valuable baby info (breastfeeding a doll upside down, looking at photos of a placenta and simulating labour while bouncing on a ball aside).

But thinking back to that time, and watching the group in the pub, it struck me that while NCT does a good job of telling you some things, there’s a whole load that’s missed out, about birth to babies and far beyond, much further down the line.

So here’s 25 things they won’t tell you about in NCT classes, but probably should:

  1. No matter how many courses you take or books you read, nothing prepares you for that first moment when it’s just the two of you and the baby at home, and you look at each other to say ‘now what?’
  2. Afterpains
  3. The hormonal horrors of Day Three
  4. How to fold your freakishly expensive pram
  5. The post-baby night sweats (no-one ever mentions those! Why?)
  6. This
  7. That this is real
  8. And all these
  9. How to function on no sleep…
  10. …and that despite no sleep you will still function. Honestly
  11. That at some point you’ll probably cry about how much you love your baby, or because you’ve run out of biscuits, or both (see 3)
  12. How despite taking multiple exams, getting a degree and climbing the dizzy heights of the career ladder, cutting your tiny precious baby’s nails will be the most stressful thing you’ve ever done
  13. All that lovely thick pregnancy hair? It’ll fall out and you’ll be left with a halo of uncontrollable re-growth
  14. How the only topic in baby groups from months and months after is giving birth, which you’ll discuss time and time again
  15. How easily you’ll talk about the state of your post-baby vagina after a bottle* of wine (*glass)
  16. And just how bad the first post-pregnancy hangover is
  17. What it’s impossible to do one handed (butter toast) and what it is possible to do one handed (everything else, including using the Calpol syringe, because you’re a wonderwoman)
  18. That you don’t have to love it all, but there’s an awful lot you will love
  19. That it really does get easier
  20. And it can be tricky but also a ridiculous amount of fun
  21. That birth and the early days are only a tiny percentage of the story, and it’s what comes next that’s the ongoing challenge
  22. That pretty soon you’ll be applying for schools for your child and be completely floored, because didn’t you just give birth to them and how is this even possible?
  23. How nothing changes when you have a baby but everything does, from not being able to watch films to relationships and jobs, from never sleeping normally again to looking round every time a baby cries in public and having that jarring feeling when your children aren’t with you, and that having a child really really is like having a piece of your heart outside your body, which is at once both amazing but also frighteningly fragile at times
  24. At what point you should stop calling your NCT friends NCT friends and just call them friends, because you’ve spent the majority of the last couple of years with them and they know more about you – and your post-birth sex life – than most people
  25. That it’s OK that you still don’t really know what you’re doing, because everyone else is basically winging it too. 

More posts…baby milestone cards for mums, things I love about being a mum of two and an open letter to sleep.

A nursery update and some Friday link love

Instagrams from the pubIt’s finally Friday! Thank you so much for all the lovely comments, tweets and advice I was given on my post from earlier in the week about nursery and dealing with separation anxiety. It got worse (the next day, despite me sneaking out, she started crying before I left the room then didn’t stop. Her sad, tearful face when I picked her up is etched on my memory forever, the guilt!). But then it got better (yesterday she cried when I left, then they managed to distract her into having some, dare I say it, fun. She wouldn’t eat though, but baby steps, right?) I know we have to take each day as it comes but I’m feeling much more optimistic now.

During the last two sessions I took refuge in a nearby pub – hence the wine-y Instagrams above (win-stagrams?) – with the added distraction of the internet. Here’s some links from the past week I’ve been looking at:

  • Firstly two thanks yous - to the lovely guys at DotComGiftShop for naming A Baby on Board in a list of beautiful baby blogs, and to Tots 100 for including my post about finding out I was pregnant in the Top 50 favourite blog posts of 2012
  • Three incredibly powerful posts that have really stood out for me this week: Cathy on ectopic pregnancy, Mama Cymraeg on missed miscarriage and Emma on having two under two
  • Like a lot of people I’ve been following the Kirstie Alsopp vs the NCT debate; Alex has written a good post about it, as has Clemmie. Our experience was overwhelmingly positive – our teacher covered everything from c-sections, inductions, to formula feeding and we made some amazing friends we see all the time (hi guys!) But what are everyone’s thoughts – are NCT courses money worth spending, or do you agree with Kirstie?
  • I also liked Ruth’s post about reflections on the end of maternity leave, as it’s very timely for me. Is anyone else due back at work soon?
  • Did you know more accidents are caused on the tube by grapes than banana skins? Happy 150th birthday to the London Underground!
  • And finally, I know everyone’s probably seen it already, but how utterly lovely is Tom from McFly’s wedding speech?

Have a good weekend, what does everyone have planned? Looks like it might snow on Sunday…

Pregnancy week 27: a blissfully normal week

I’m trying not to speak too soon as there’s still one day left of it, but it’s been a very uneventful couple of days so far, especially after the past few weeks. I went back to work and then just did completely  normal things like going out to dinner with friends, shopping, and lying on the sofa and watching terribly trashy TV. Also, watching fireworks; it’s a really good time of year to live on a hill overlooking London.

Alex and I started NCT classes; more about those later, but everyone lives in our area (I was slightly worried they wouldn’t, as we have to go down the road to Dulwich for them as the Crystal Palace ones are only on Friday afternoons). All the people there seemed lovely, and we all had the same sort of baby-related concerns and questions. And next week we get to look at…photos of a placenta. Continue reading

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