March 26, 2012
Swindon NCT Antenatal Courses- are they worth the money? In a few words, if you are a first time parent, yes, yes and yes again!
The primary reason for pretty much everyone on my course taking the NCT Antenatal Course was to meet other people who would be going through the same things they were going through at the same time in the same town. I cannot over emphasise how valuable I have found those people over the last 6 months, especially at the beginning.
Even though one of my very very best friends had a daughter the day after I had J (which has been absolutely wonderful) she lives in Bristol. Doesn’t sound that far away does it? It’s not and she’s on the end of the phone too which is obviously fantastic, but I’m still incredibly grateful to have a brilliant network of new friends right here in Swindon.
The first few weeks as a new parent are so hard. However ecstatic you are you are also utterly exhausted, super emotional and healing up in one of two possible places which is uncomfortable and can be a bit debilitating. Down moments are far from being a rarity!
The multitude of worries you have about your baby can of course be answered by your health visitor. It’s a real bonus, though, to be told that something is completely normal in an instant by, say, 3 other people who have already been told the answers to your questions.
It’s great to vent, it’s great to get out of the house and sometimes it can be a real relief to have a meltdown with someone who knows exactly how you feel because they’ve been there recently or are there now themselves. It’s also great to eat cake.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to meet a great group of friends through my course who I hope I’ll know for years to come. Of course there’s a chance the people you meet won’t be that sociable or friendly, but this seems pretty unlikely as…
…a. They are probably attending the class to meet people too, b. most people are essentially decent and friendly and c. You are all about to go through a major, life changing experience “together”.
A London friend’s response when she heard I was doing NCT was, “Oooh, aren’t you posh!” In her area you get three two hour NHS classes with the same group. In Swindon you get an optional 2 hour antenatal session (which was definitely a useful two hours) and an optional 2 hours session on breast feeding. Again, we did meet a few nice people, but two hours is not really enough.
Another friend warned me that NCT can on occasions be a bit judgemental about people who would prefer not to have a natural birth or to bottle feed. However while breastfeeding was certainly encouraged it wasn’t rammed down your throat (immature giggle) or any more strongly recommended than government guideline etc -in my classes anyway.
There’s also a preconception that NCT is all a bit middle class. While there’s some truth in this I’d say I’ve met lovely people from all walks of life.
Yes, you do meet people through other baby activity groups as your baby grows, but it’s at the beginning that you will need your “baby friend” the most.
Oh yes, you learn lots of things about the birth and how to look after your baby when it arrives too! Nothing can really prepare you, but it’s reassuring to feel you’ve picked up some kind of knowledge.
If you can scrape the pennies together, do it!