Anti-natural class

This is not a typo - not this time. But the first time it was... or perhaps Apple had nailed the auto correction on the iPhone this time and had it right? 

Rewinding a little here, we had signed up for our local (correctly spelt) antenatal classes. I know it seems that there is a recurring theme in my blogs of me having no idea of what I'm doing, and I'm sure I still don't, but I promise our twins will be quite safe - Sarah knows what she is doing. 

Anyway, back to the iPhone, we were just arriving at the first night of ten classes - ten classes is apparently all it takes to become a certified parent, I think I probably needed twenty! My mum had sent me a text just as we were pulling up asking if we were home as they were going to drop by, I quickly sent a response saying "sorry we are out at our first anti natural class" and looking back at it, that is exactly where we were!

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There was nothing natural about the class, I suppose that's why you go to them? On night one, our tutor sat down and casually said "lets look at birth and how it happens." In hindsight this is where I should have let my internal monologue speak out loud and shout "let's not!" But I didn't and in the blink of the eye she had a plastic pelvis bone out sitting on her knee and disturbingly gender neutral and some how race neutral plastic baby in her hand. Quickly she ran through all the details of how the seemingly impossible was possible and that the baby, although it looked like the scale may have been out a little, would in fact fit through that very small exit. 

As she ran through this, I looked around me at nine rather concerned woman. they all seemed to be holding their bellies in disbelief. I almost said "come on people how did you think it was going to happen?" but again, I held it in, just... But this is when it went downhill, fast...

Sarah asked the question that was on both of our minds, "what about twins?" The tutor laughed a little and pulled out another plastic baby - she then proceeded to demonstrate how two babies would get out through the incredibly small exit. Amazingly, Sarah looked fine about the whole thing, I suppose we had already come to terms with the fact that she was going to be birthing two babies, but the other mothers were horrified. One of them, who is now one of our best friends, blurted out "HOW?! I mean how is that possible?! Sorry Sarah, but HOW?!" There seems no simple answer to that question but the specialist team at the hospital maintain that it will all become clearer closer to the time. 

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With the tension in the class at an all time high on the back of the birth demo and also likely due to none of us knowing each other, there was only one thing to do - become the class clown. And I did... This included me performing a re-enactment of Chandler on Friends, in which I 'hiked' Sarah the baby. Suffice to sat that after about half an hour of wisecracks and marginal baby jokes I had cemented myself up as the funny guy of the class. The other dad's were totally on-board, I was saying all the things they were thinking, I even got the odd laugh out of them, right before their partner would poke them in the ribs and give them the look. 

Unfortunately, our tutor was not impressed with my witty humour, so much so that she pulled me up as the 'first volunteer'. Let me give you a little advice, never be the first volunteer! In my case I didn't, it was more volun-told! But I was willing for any challenge, so I jumped... Then out came the fat suit!

Those of you who have done an anti-natural class already will know what I am talking about. This is the suit that is designed to make a male appreciate what it is like for a woman to carry children. At least this is the lie they spin you, the truth is that it is a class clown calming device! 

I willingly put the suit on, the tutor asked me "how does that feel?" in a manor that had a little too much excitement at the prospect of it not being comfortable. But not yet willing to break I said "I'm fine, I don't see what all the fuss is about?" - clearly the wrong thing to say! Before I could say "just joking" she had added three more shot-puts to the front and tightened the belt on the fat suit. "How about now?" she said with a glint in her eye. I could see where this was going and not willing to become a short-put mule for the Belarusian Olympic Team I yielded the only statement that I thought might save me, "oh my goodness, how are you dealing with this?"

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From there the ice was broken, I didn't give up the jokes altogether, I mean someone had to say what the men were thinking - although Sarah did point out it didn't necessarily need to be me! Although there was plenty of very useful information to take in and we were able to learn a huge amount, we never felt we were ready. Luckily these classes are not so much about the information, they are more about connection. There is something very special and helpful about spending time with others on the same journey as you and having the opportunity to ask questions that you have been unable to get answers for. As cliché as it sounds, we have made friends for life!

So what were my learnings from these classes? Easy really, be the clown, but only if you are willing to go all the way. Absorb the information but realize that Google will still be your friend. But most of all, spend time making those connections, the people in that room are going to be the best support network you will ever have.

Have fun - and if you get the chance, make sure you wear the fat suit! It's not as bad as it seems (he says while getting a scornful look from his wife).