“Your baby crowning will be like the opening of a flower” said the midwife. I am no horticulturalist but I suspected this was bull####. I was nervous at the thought of a birthing class beforehand and it wasn’t being helped by this hippie who looked like Mama Cass, smelt like cats and, apparently, combed her hair with a hot twix. If this was the best the NHS could offer I thought it best to wait until my wife’s waters broke and head straight to the nearest Vetinary Clinic.
Never had I felt so ill qualified for the role I was to perform, and I had chosen this. It wasn’t forced upon me, I hadn’t painted myself into a corner. I wanted this with everything I had and I so wanted to do it well. Be a Dad. Not just a father. The vast majority of men are blessed with the ability to procreate but being a Dad meant more. And I was positively sh####ng myself at the rehearsals for the opening credits. Oh balls, I was out my depth. The class came to the part where group discussion was encouraged, the Mamas separated from the Papas in distinct groups. I wasn’t quite sure what was to be gained from a clueless man asking questions of other equally uneducated men (in the field of producing sunflowers from birth canals) and asked Mama Cass this very question. I was advised it was that it was to foster a team spirit. I wasn’t advised what I would need the team of men for during labour. Scrum at the business end? Barbershop quartet?
I wanted to know practical things – the phone number of the maternity ward, the quickest route there, what should I bring for my wife and baby. Mama Cass was skipping round barefoot and singing. This wasn’t helping. Me and the legion of the inept broke up and were reunited with our partners. I took hold of her hand like we were on the ghost train and wouldn’t let go. Mama Cass ended the class with a ‘Namaste’. I was sure she was about to crack into ‘Dream a Little Dream’. Instead she advised that the next class would cover the beauty of home births. I was still no better prepared, and now the hippie was entertaining the idea that the most momentous event of my life should occur in my living room. God I felt helpless.
Post by Papa Dont Preach!