Friday, September 18, 2009

Prenatal Lessons from Classical Roman Poets

Scott and I attended our first prenatal class last night. Each Thursday for 5 weeks straight we're heading to St. Paul's for a 2 hour birthing primer. I wish I could say it was going to teach me how to survive this process intact, but given my current physical state I'd say that train has already left the station.

I had the impression that we were going to be sitting on the floor practicing breathing or watching a graphic birthing video but overall it was pretty damn benign. We learned about the various phases of labour and a few natural pain management/relaxation techniques, ate some chocolate puffed cereal squares, got to know our classmates a bit, and that was about it.

My worst moment came when I realized how incredibly tight a space the pelvis is. The nurse took an unrealistically small doll and a skeleton's pelvis to illustrate how the baby travels from the uterus to the outside world and boy, was it a tight fit. I almost asked for my epidural right then and there.

So where was the drama? The images of panting women and the blood, sweat and screaming? Just between you and me, I bet that last night there were any number of women labouring away up on the third floor in the maternity ward cursing the prenatal class they attended just weeks ago because that smiling, perky little nurse teaching it sold them a bill of goods about the joys and rewards of natural child birth without showing them the grim and gory reality. Pfft! Suckers.

Can you tell I'm suspicious of this whole process?

Personally, I think Virgil was a bit off in the Aeneid warning us all about Greeks bearing gifts. My advice? Beware of nurses advocating natural childbirth who ply you with chocolaty snacks.

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