Have you heard the one about the antenatal teacher, breastfeeding counsellor and postnatal leader…………………
Preparing for the start of a new antenatal course is always a bit nerve wracking. Will they all turn up, will they join in, will they like the biscuits? When I’ve got the room ready I pull my knitting out of my basket and as the stitches flow off my needles my mind settles, my body calms and I tune into what might happen next.
When a new course is starting and people arrive for the first time I welcome them all with a shake of the hand, we share our names and we all nervously take our seats in the circle.
I sit knitting, watching, chatting. NCT groups are often meeting up long after their children are babies. They support one another through school, exams and I have heard of groups who are now becoming grandparents together. However, on week one I feel the weight of responsibility not just to support them becoming the parents they want to be but also to nurture these burgeoning friendships.
I am always amazed at how quickly we all get to know one another – sharing experiences, drinking tea and eating biscuits and it’s not long before laughter joins the polite chatter.
Laughter is such an important part of Antenatal Classes. Only the other week the women were concerned that the men were laughing a lot together and might not be taking things seriously.
I reassured them that laughter was an excellent sign. The fathers to be are sharing stories and getting to know one another and I am sure that the use of humour is an excellent way to share fears and anxieties about the birth of their babies. By talking about fear and anxieties they are preparing themselves to be the very best birth supporters they can be.
In fact laughter during childbirth and parenting is one of the most fantastic things you can do. The inspirational American midwife Ina May Gaskin is fond of saying “as above so below” meaning that if your mouth, throat and neck are relaxed then it’s impossible to be tightly clenched ‘down below’. So laughing, screaming or singing your baby out is a wonderful thing to do during birth.
So keep laughing find the humour and welcome your baby with the sound of your laughter……………….……just remember to keep doing your pelvic floor exercises!!