Last night J and I went to the first of a series of six child birth classes. It was only the introductory class, but still lasted two hours. I guess the length is why they suggested bringing a pillow, even though we didn't actually use them. (Well, I put one behind my back because why not, but I really don't need it.)
Unfortunately, I didn't actually learn anything new from this first class. But apparently some things were new to other people. For instance, the instructor told the class about what foods to avoid in pregnancy, and I was internally rolling my eyes because all of us are due to give birth within 1-2 months so you'd think everyone already knows this stuff. But no, there was at least one person who was not aware of LISTERIA. I mean, seriously, I have lived in fear of this bacteria for seven months, and this other woman has been blissfully unaware! I almost wanted to cover her ears so she wouldn't have to learn about it now, since she's successfully gotten this far, all the while eating deli meat.
We also saw a video (made in the 70's) of various women giving birth. It also didn't teach me anything new because I've already seen most of this myself on tv, but I will confess to getting a bit choked up watching it. J said he was choked up too, and I noticed several other audible sniffles in the room while the video was on. So that was kind of cute.
One thing I liked was that we got a tour of the facilities, and we got to see one of the birth rooms. It was surprisingly nice, with wood paneling and a crazy beautiful view of Franklin Field (UPenn stadium) and downtown. There's even a jacuzzi in the bathroom. Definitely nicer than the bland and sterile looking rooms in the 70's video.
But the best part of the class was when the instructor asked for a volunteer from among the dads (and/or moms and sisters who were there in some cases), and after a pause from everyone, J finally put up his hand. The instructor made him sign a consent form verifying that he didn't have back problems and then outfitted him with a fake pregnant belly and breasts. It was weighed down with water and puts weight on the shoulders and lower back. He earned early praise for not grabbing the breasts - apparently that's what most men do - and then she asked him to do various things like get up from a chair, tie his shoes, etc. Here is he leaning down as if to tie his shoes.
I don't know that he really got the full sensation from pregnancy, but I'm sure it didn't hurt to imagine what it would be like to carry all that extra weight and girth around. Now if only they could simulate the feeling of little feet pushing at your skin and the weight of a baby on your bladder and other girly parts. :)
So even though I didn't learn a whole lot, there were parts of the class that I enjoyed. Later classes should be more helpful, because I truly don't know anything about breathing techniques or anesthesia and stuff like that. If only they made the dads wear that fake belly and breasts through all of the classes...