the circular runner

All-Day Birthing Classes–Where Irony Goes to Die…

In humor, life, observations, Uncategorized on March 19, 2012 at 6:23 am

Irony and parenthood–they don’t mix.  God, I hope that’s not true.  Yesterday, I spent the day with my wife at an all-day birthing class. You can say a lot of positive stuff about technology, but one thing you cannot deny is that for all the steps forward, we do take a few back.  Artisanal cheese and bread and soap, these overpriced things are what our grandparents called bread and cheese and soap.  Now, we celebrate people for doing things the hard way, the old-fashioned way.

The same idea is at play with birthing classes.  As the nurse-instructor said a million times yesterday, we have classes like this because we do not have community.  So, my wife and I and about 15 other couples got together in a hospital basement to talk about stuff that the instructor said is natural and cannot be taught.  We were celebrating the fact that even with all the virtual communities we have in our lives, there is only one way to learn about birth–the hard way.

There is some irony there to be sure.  You pay a couple hundred bucks to hear a nurse tell you that she can’t teach you what you paid to learn.  You just gotta go through it.  That’s irony, but it’s not the amusing kind.  The other couples were very serious.  Still, I know the class was worthwhile for my wife. We broached those topics that no one wants to discuss: the pain of childbirth, and for some unfortunate families, the potential difficulties/problems that accompany that pain.  So, in the end, I will say that I’m glad we took the class even though, I can’t really say I learned anything, except that I’m serious, too.

But what did I expect?

Well, I’m glad I asked myself that question because one thing I didn’t expect were the videos, which were serious, as well.  This blog is a family production, so I will not go into details, but there were some graphic scenes.  We’re talking NC-17 stuff.  I write this and I know it sounds juvenile. I am sounding like an adolescent boy squealing at the sight of stranger’s vaginas.  I know the birthing process is life and it’s serious.  I will also admit, quite surprisingly to me, that mixed with the shock of watching a person come out of another person who I don’t know, was true feeling.  I was moved more than a couple times by what I saw in the videos.  As hard as some of these women had it, and as awful as some of the voice-overs were (some were done by the fathers of the children after the fact, and there’s nothing worse than genuine feeling scripted out), when you get right down to it, there’s something truly touching about a baby just born being held by his/her mother and father.  Jesus, I’m getting a little weepy just thinking about it.  Really.

I don’t like snark, let me say it now.  I do try to be amusing in my blog-persona and in my life-persona, too.  I like laughing, not so much at people but at situations.  The older I get, the more I feel like the only quality in people I really can’t abide is humorlessness.  (I’m glad that’s a word, by the way.)  But as you get older, you kind of have to temper the chucks and the wucs.  You can’t push it.  Sometimes, they’re just not there

I started this post off with the intention of showing how silly a thing like a birthing class is. Though there is a part of me that wants to hold that there is something kind of ridiculous about the concept and its execution (and I haven’t mentioned the fact that, as always is the case, there was an overly-serious, overbearing, teacher’s pet in the group) the reason behind such a class is not worthy of laughter.  And that reason is, and I know this is hack, mystery and wonder.

Jesus.  That’s pretty serious, isn’t it?  Well, as the good actors of Downton Abbey (a very serious show, I might add) say, Lump it.  It’s life.

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  1. This is great! My husband and I skipped half our birthing classes (ours was one hour a week for 6 weeks), and I couldn’t even watch the videos. But you’re right. Its serious business and its awesome. I wrote about my second birth at http://stephicakes.com/2012/02/27/welcome-corbin/ if you’re interested in more stories. 🙂

  2. I chuckled at this because in the short time I have been reading your posts you are quite humurous and here you are trying to be serious and such..
    I have quite a few babies, never attended the first class so not sure what they teach..
    i will say, having a sense of humour as a parent will make the rough patches smooth..
    CONGRATS on the upcoming babe.. it’s a wonderful time..simply wonderful!!

  3. Hearty congrats to you and your wife. All this scary, big, unteachable, bloody stuff is huge. HUGE! Love reading your perspective.

  4. Not hack at all. As cliched as it might sound, the mystery and wonder is what makes this existence bearable, even exciting sometimes. Here’s wishing everything goes great for you and your wife, and the baby too.

  5. These classes are soooo helpful – because the instant you actually go into labour, you promptly forget everything you ever learnt at them! Or maybe it’s just because I am the kind of person who never reads instruction manuals before trying out appliances…

  6. But what I really meant to say is: Congratulations! And enjoy parenthood!

    • thanks. i know what you mean about the manuals. i don’t tend to read them. i’m a teacher, but i don’t like to learn through books, which i hope means that i don’t mess up my son, as i have messed up some perfectly nice ikea products. then again, my wife is great at ikea, and she will keep me from scuffing up the boy too much.

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