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to by annoyed at this NCT antenatal group

(329 Posts)
birthstoryvisit Sun 11-Oct-09 10:27:12

Ok, I know I'm being unreasonable, that's why I've name changed, but I need to get this off my chest.

My DS is three months' old. Yesterday, I went back to my old NCT teacher's class to give my birth story (long, epidural, ventouse, lots of stiches). A friend with a wonderful birth (waterbirth, soft lights) went too.

They were horrid to me. Did not ask me one question about my labour (I thought that they'd want to know what some of the interventions were really like). Their basic attitude was "You failed to have a natural labour. I do not need to talk to you because my labour will not be like that. I am coming to classes and will have a lovely, natural birth with maybe a bit of gas and air. You are a failure." They spent their whole time asking my friend about her ante natal yoga and whether it was the raspberry leaf tea that ensured the quick labour.

This isn't just me. The first thing my friend said when we left was "goodness, they were a bit judgy weren't they?". I get it, they're first time mums and in denial, but am I being unreasonable to hope that at least one of them has a long labour and needs an epidural?(I know I am really blush). I gave up part of my weekend to try and be helpful. Grrr, won't be doing that again.

birthstoryvisit Sun 11-Oct-09 10:27:34

Sorry, to "be" annoyed...

Fibilou Sun 11-Oct-09 10:33:01

If I had been at that class (I'm a 1st time mum, due in January) I would have been really annoyed because while I'm hoping to have the "perfect birth" I also want to be fully prepared for every birth eventuality so if they say "sorry, we're going to have to do a forceps delivery" i know exactly what this entails.
I think it's irresponsible of these antenatal classes to go on and on about breathing and aromatherapy etc when what you actually need to know about is side effects of pethidine, degrees of laceration in an episiotomy and the chances of you ending up with an instrumental delivery. But they don't want to tell you that for some reason, or so I've heard. The result is that happens is that women go in expecting a wonderful birth and then beat themselves up when it doesn't happen. What is their deal with keeping women in the dark ?

thedollshouse Sun 11-Oct-09 10:35:27

I feel angry on your behalf. They have no idea what is ahead. The problem with a lot of these "types" is that they feel they can control everything, doing pregnancy yoga will ensure that they have a natural pain free birth, feeding their lo's organic butternut squash will get them into the best school etc.

In a few months their ignorance will have been knocked out of them. Playing devils advocate perhaps they were scared by your story and were burying their heads in the sand.

IsItMeOr Sun 11-Oct-09 10:35:38

Poor you! You know, I suspect you're right that they're in denial - I know that the mum in our NCT class who had a birth very similar to yours felt let down by the teacher that they hadn't explained that could be a possibility - and is relatively common to have a long labour for your first.

FWIW my NCT class sounds a bit different to the one you went to - e.g. the response to suggestion you might want a physiological 3rd stage from one mum was "why would anybody want to do that?".

So, I think you can be confident that at least one of them will experience something similar to you (we had two EMCS, two 3rd degree tears, three 3-day labours, etc in our sample of 8). And they will then wish they had asked you for any coping strategies.

But I think you did a lovely thing, and I'm sorry that they made you feel bad. Did you talk to the teacher about it? She should have prepared them a bit better I would suggest.

Congratulation on your DS by the way. Hope it's going well for you smile.

sabire Sun 11-Oct-09 10:36:03

I think you are reading too much into their silence. You are assuming that they thought these things - you don't know. Do you feel like a failure? Do you really think they all assume they'll have a normal birth? Maybe they were frightened, and in a state of denial about what might happen to them.....or want to do all they can to stop complications happening to them, hence questioning your friend about her more straightforward birth. Maybe they thought that questioning you would be insensitive, would look like they were trying to work out if you'd done something 'wrong' that had caused your difficult labour.

Anyway, I bet your teacher was really grateful you went along - she knows that there will be people in that group who will have similar experiences to yours and will have benefited from hearing your story

sweetnitanitro Sun 11-Oct-09 10:37:45

I think they were probably just scared rather than judgey and don't want to be told that this sort of thing might happen to them. I think I might have even been like that when I was pregnant blush. It was nice of you to give up part of your weekend though! You never know, if one of them ends up having complications then maybe your advice will turn out to be helpful after all.

sabire Sun 11-Oct-09 10:38:12

"But they don't want to tell you that for some reason, or so I've heard"

Mine covered everything - c-section, baby needing to go to scbu, assisted birth, epidurals, tears, stitches, postnatal infections, breastfeeding problems etc. PLUS breathing and relaxation....

lolapoppins Sun 11-Oct-09 10:38:54

I was dragged kicking and screaming taken to an NCT class by a friend when I was pg with ds. I was practically kicked out of the door when I said I had chosen to have him by elective c/s, and told the class was only for women who wanted 'real' births. I told them I was having a ELCS, not having him teleported out.

Don't worry about them. What a shitty attitude to have, I am sure there are many women who worry about the interventions you had and would like to hear about them from someone who had just experienced them.

Congrats on your baby!

pinkfizzle Sun 11-Oct-09 10:40:50

I would have really appreciated hearing from someone - especially if they took the effort to give up part of their weekend and had a baby to look after to spend some time with expectant mums to be.

I would have hoped that the NCT teacher would have been able to intervene.

Every labour is an achievement - it is not how you deliver in my opinion.

Hassled Sun 11-Oct-09 10:42:49

It's part of the whole Conspiracy of Silence thing, isn't it? And it's so wrong, because if those naive women do end up needing intervention they will be shit-scared because they hadn't anticipated it as a possibility.

pigletmania Sun 11-Oct-09 10:47:14

YANBU why name change this NCT collegue sounds awful and does nothing to represent NCT puts people off them angry. The attitude is disgusting angry it does not matter one jot how the baby comes out as long as its healthy. These sort of people give first time mums a false sense of what labour is REALLY like, yes for your friend it can be a wonderful experience if its a textbook delivery, but if there are complications than the baby comes first not what the mum wants and not the 'perfect birthing experience' Their attitude is disgusting TBH sorry but it is

cory Sun 11-Oct-09 10:48:36

I have come across slightly similar attitudes in my local NCT group, though not as rude as yours. Like the group leader insisting that I should have counselling for having had a caesarian and being quite unable to take in that actually I didn't need any counselling because I was ....erhmmm...quite happy to have had the section at that point and do in fact look back on it as a pleasant experience.

I just came across an old NCT newsletter with a bunch of mums-to-be gushing about how they are never going to have artifical barriers like cots or stairgates in their houses because they are going to be There when their precious baby goes exploring. Yeah right, like having a baby makes you immune to cooking disasters and sudden bouts of puking your guts out and water leaks and any other Emergency That Has To Be Dealt With. hmm

I suppose it's quite sweet really, the belief that nothing can come between you and the sweetness of the maternal experience. But I am glad that I attended an NHS ante-natal class which included a guided tour of the local SCBU. Though I missed out on that, as was already in hospital with bleeds and IUGR and suspected pre-eclampsia.

What I really liked about this class was that it was taught by midwives who had been present at hundreds of births, including some that had gone wrong. They had seen what it is like when it does go wrong, but also knew how much more common it is for things to go right. This is going to be different from even the best trained and most sensible NCT leader, who is unlikely to have attended many more births than her own (and in my experience can be tempted to extrapolate from her own limited experience).

pigletmania Sun 11-Oct-09 10:48:41

sorry i meant to say these people give first time mums a false rose tinted image of labour instead of advising honestly and truthfully, in my anger i got my words out wrong.

Fibilou Sun 11-Oct-09 10:49:14

Sabire, was that an NCT or NHS one ? I'm lucky that my SIL is a senior midwife (I think she's able to episiotomies and ventouse deliveries, also assists in surgery) so have lots of information on managed birth. I'm considering the NCT classes as I've heard they're brill for meeting other mums. However I don't see the point if they're not going to cover the whole spectrum of deliveries. What do NCT cover for the money that NHS don't ?
I'm 25 weeks so guess I will be discussing classes with MW on Tuesday

TwoSilverBalloons Sun 11-Oct-09 10:49:47

It is a shame that the teacher didn't encourage a bit more interaction with you. In my experience most pg women who attend NCT classes would ideally like a natural birth and, as others have said, think that this will be entirely within their control and is just a matter of willpower. They are often women who are used to having a lot of control over all aspects of their lives and will probably look back in some embarrassment for being so blinkered and missing out on the chance to quiz you.

My contact with NCT groups since having my dc's is that afterwards they all laugh at just how optimistic they were about the birth, they soon realise how you have your baby doesn't really matter and the hard bit is just beginning. My two births were completely different - one induced, epi, forceps etc,etc then one only gas and air. When I've gone along to meet NCT classes I always start with that fact and say one labour just hurt more than the other, one person can have very different experiences. I think that makes them think about how much they can affect.

Sorry it wasn't a good experience, please don't let it put you off, even if it didn't seem like it someone will have benefitted from it but maybe didn't want to stand out.

BertieBotts Sun 11-Oct-09 10:50:22

YANBU to be annoyed by their reaction. Other posters ABU to insinuate that all NCT classes try to cover up interventions and pretend they never happen, the classes I went to were fantastic and covered everything, and out of 8 of us we had 2 c-sections, about 3 or 4 epidurals, a couple of ventouse deliveries, about 3 labours (no deliveries) in water, one very premature birth... the whole range and nobody as far as I can tell felt short-changed or cheated by the course, and we have since discussed the births in great detail.

thedollshouse Sun 11-Oct-09 10:50:38

If you have nhs classes in your area you really don't need nct classes as well. Most of my friends said they were a waste of money.

pinkfizzle Sun 11-Oct-09 10:51:54

Cory got to agree with you - my nhs classes have been great with experienced mw's with a huge pool of experience ... to draw upon and it was free!

TwoSilverBalloons Sun 11-Oct-09 10:54:17

By the way, for an awful lot of women the main purpose of NCT classes is to meet other local mums. Admittedly, its a very expensive way of getting six mobile numbers but round here (West London) at least half the mums attend mainly for that reason.

My local NHS classes were massively oversubscribed and lasted 4 hours versus 20 hours with NCT.

cory Sun 11-Oct-09 10:57:29

My local NCT leader had had her births in a no doubt very pleasant local midwife-led unit (where apparently you got very superior biscuits); she could never get over the feeling that something ought to have been done for me- some sort of better guidance or more mother-focussed approach or closer contact to the NCT- so that I could also have had the lovely experience and the nice biscuits. I just could not get her to accept that when you spend two pregnancies with potentially serious medical problems and in constant fear of losing your babies, you don't CARE about bloody biscuits or even about a beautiful birth experience: you want to be close to an experienced consultant and state-of-the-art resuscitation facilities!

I know the NCT do great work (and I did end up as an NCT group leader later on), but ime there is a danger in having teachers who have such very limited RL experience; they do often extrapolate from their own experiences.

birthstoryvisit Sun 11-Oct-09 10:58:59

Oh, I do realise it was almost certainly just denial and fear, that's why I posted in AIBU! To be fair to the teacher, she did try and encourage them to ask me questions. Their response was "I think we've covered all of that in the session we had on interventions" hmm

As Twosilverballoons said, they seemed to think that a natural birth was just a matter of willpower and preparation. The course did cover interventions in a theoretical way (if it was the same as ours), just downplayed the liklihood of being needed.

I am a very mean, mean person. I am kind of looking forward to bumping into some of them at baby groups in the future and hopefully real life will have mellowed them a bit!

Love the comment about the stairgates!

Jamieandhismagictorch Sun 11-Oct-09 10:59:25

I agree with dollshouse and hassled. I felt absolutely terrible after my first (emergency CS) birth. Totally emotionally unprepared for the possibility of not being able to walk and breathe through the pain, a failure for having a CS. Nobody even came back to my Yoga class who'd had a less than straightforward birth

I know this was partly my own control-freaky personality rearing its ugly head, but also the "conspiracy of silence" played a part.

I hope that YOU are not feeling bad or guilty, OP. It would have helped these women to hear your story, but I understand that they might not have wanted to listen.

If the teacher was there, she SHOULD have made sure everyone took on board what you were saying. That's what is the most annoying thing (to me) about your story.

Many Congratulations on your baby !

Pyrocanthus Sun 11-Oct-09 11:01:14

One or two of them might eventually find it a comfort to remember that they have heard from someone whose delivery was less than lovely, and survived the eperience. It was good of you to share it.

Jamieandhismagictorch Sun 11-Oct-09 11:01:38

X-posted with you OP. I see the NCT lady tried

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