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NCT women-only sessions?

(35 Posts)
PerpetualStudent Tue 20-Jan-15 12:32:42

Anyone ever been to one? What do they cover, why do they need to be women-only?

Im just looking into booking a course, Im interested but my (male) DP is the real keen bean. The course that best fits my dates includes a 5 hour women-only session, while others that are aimed at those with slightly later due dates have just evening/weekend sessions to while birth partners are welcome.

I know NCT classes differ a lot by teacher, & Im going to book the later course if I can, but just wanted to get an idea of what a woman only session might cover i.e. why they see fit to exclude my DP from something we both want him very much involved in?

ThunderboltKid Tue 20-Jan-15 12:38:36

One of our sessions was women only and we talked about things like what you may feel like mentally/physically after the birth. It allowed everyone to be very open without feeling self conscious in front of other people's partners.

The men all went to the pub!

PerpetualStudent Tue 20-Jan-15 12:42:21

Ah, I suppose that's a point - I generally have no shame about what I chat about in any context, especially with DP, but I suppose not everyone wants to talk about that kind of thing with men they barely know. FIVE hours though?

Thurlow Tue 20-Jan-15 12:46:16

I don't remember it being 5 hours but yes, it went into a lot of detail about the physical affects of labour and having children - definitely things that most women felt a lot more comfortable talking about without men around.

PerpetualStudent Tue 20-Jan-15 13:02:05

Sorry, meant on the course Im looking at it's 5 hours.

Also (just ranting now!) it's on a Wednesday 10-3, so assuming all mums-to-be can/would want to take a whole day off work? Grrr...

BeverleyCrusher Tue 20-Jan-15 13:11:21

We had a session where the men went into another room to do something for a couple of hours and we covered some of the more personal stuff. I definitely would not have been happy covering this in front of blokes i didn't know. This was at an evening course where both mums and dads came to all of it.

Think most of the women had finished work by the time we got to that bit though? If you haven't, you can always ask to go to the later one as long as it's not too close to 37 weeks?

weeblueberry Tue 20-Jan-15 14:19:45

Yeah we had a session where the men went into another room, presumably to discuss how best to support us when we're emotional wrecks and we had a discussion about how we genuinely felt our partners would handle it when it came to zero hour. It was a lot franker than most of the previous conversations had been if I remember right and it turned out there were a couple of women who were seriously worried their husbands/partners weren't totally up to the fatherhood thing. Not in an abandonment type way but just in a 'he's never going to get up in the middle of the night with the baby if he's tired' type thing.

We also chatted about sex and our expectations for that which we were a lot more comfortable doing without the other partners there.

Quangle Tue 20-Jan-15 14:42:41

It's odd that you think it's odd tbh. This is the most intimate e

Quangle Tue 20-Jan-15 15:06:08

sorry, dont' know what happened there.

This is the most intimate experience ever and whilst you might be happy discussing this in the presence of your DP, I don't really want to discuss it in the presence of your DP, or anyone else's.

Not that it's relevant but I attended those classes as a single parent to be and it wasn't easy for everyone else to be coupled up. Even less easy if there is no women only space in the sessions.

PerpetualStudent Tue 20-Jan-15 15:24:39

I take your point Quangle especially about couples vs singles & obviously my take on this is in the minority so far.
I suppose this is snagging at my bigger issue with NCT, which is why would I dicuss super intimate things with anyone I'd just met, be they male or female. Im all for sisterly solidarity, but as a veteran of group counselling & a facilitator of training myself I feel if you're going to ask people to 'open up' you'd better be damn prepared to facilitate effectively & deal with any fallout, not just assume it's going to be healing & supportive because we're girls together
And maybe Im being churlish, or missing something, but if I wanted to talk about my ante and post natal sex life, my fears about how childbirth might ravage my body, or how the whole process might effect my mental health, I'd rather talk to my current friends & family (including current new mums)
I get not everyone has that sort of support around them, & I know Im lucky.
I guess I just have this image of all sitting round in some lady's living room (& the website says it is being run in her house!) being expected to discuss our deepest fears because 'now the silly men are gone'
Wherease what I want is classes that discuss the physical & medical processes of birth, supporting participants to bring who they want & discuss what they want & that leave me AND my DP feeling prepared & empowered for birth & beyond... And so personally, the more he's involved, the better.
But I totally get others feel different, that's 100% valid! We should all get the antenatal support we feel most comfortable with!

PerpetualStudent Tue 20-Jan-15 15:26:19

Sorry for great big hulk of text - am on phone!

BotBotticelli Tue 20-Jan-15 15:48:47

I think my women only session covered things like:

- how much you might bleed after birth and appropriate sabotage products to deal with the blood
- genital hygiene and washing post birth
- stitches!
- leaky boobs, breast pads
- how we all 'felt' about becoming mothers - think this was my teacher trying (and failing!) to broach the subject of mental health.

All things I felt more comfy discussing with women!

BotBotticelli Tue 20-Jan-15 15:49:10

Ha ha ha: sanitary products. Not sabotage. Stupid iPhone!

TheCowThatLaughs Tue 20-Jan-15 15:56:15

Isn't there also a possibility that abusive men will try to control all their partner's ante-natal appointments to stop her having the opportunity to reveal the abuse? Surely one woman-only session won't hurt you or your dh?

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Tue 20-Jan-15 16:10:26

What is the issue with it being at her house? Our NCT class was at a house. It was nice actually. Suited the teacher because her children (older, not likely to wake) could be there but in bed until her husband got in. Suited us because there were comfy seats and lots of tea in nice mugs, not a draughty hall.

I don't think it's a question of not facilitating properly or dealing with fallout. It's simply the case that most women find it easier to open up about very intimate things like bleeding, or worrying sex will hurt afterwards with someone who is about to go through the same process. Some people find it easier to talk in a women only space, but some will also find it easier to talk to others going through the same.

If that isn't for you, that's fine, NCT isn't obligatory. Just do local NHS classes or book a private class with a local doula or someone.

PerpetualStudent Tue 20-Jan-15 16:11:57

Lol at 'sabotage' products! See Bot, it's that well-meaning but potentially mis-managed approach to mental health convos I want to avoid!

TheCow of course it won't hurt, but if Im dropping between £300-400 on a course, I want to find one best suited to me!
Im really grateful for everyone sharing their experiences of women-only sessions, really interesting & useful, & reaffirming that a course which allows birth partners to all sessions is prob best suited to me personally.

Thurlow Tue 20-Jan-15 16:13:51

I don't remember our session actually covering too much on the emotional front, though I imagine that sort of thing will be quite driven by what the group are willing to talk about. Mainly it focused on the physical side of things. Someone women might be comfortable talking about that in a mixed group, but I felt it seemed better doing that as a female only session.

fattymcfatfat Tue 20-Jan-15 16:16:51

I attended bump birth and beyond at my local sure start. Its free of charge and you get free goodies (books for baby, sippy cup, toothbrush l, towel etc.). I was on baby 2 but oh hadnt come to anything regarding dc1 so it was more for him than me and it really put his mind at rest (I had my mum with me for dc1) it was very relaxed and informal and we had yhe opportunity to stay behind and discuss anything that made us uncomfortable in private

Thurlow Tue 20-Jan-15 16:17:08

Sorry, pressed post too soon...

Yes, of course you should find the right course to suit you and your partner. But I get the impression that actually the vast majority of women would be more comfortable discussing the practicalities of managing tears and six weeks of bleeding without any men around. And there's very little in that session that can't be easily fed back to your DH if you want him to know the details. It's just that the content of that session (what we had) was really very female-specific, whereas the rest of the sessions were about labour and birth, where a man has more practical involvement.

Half the men didn't come to the breast-feeding sessions either.

noreplacementsfound Tue 20-Jan-15 16:19:47

We had a mixture of mixed and single sex classes. The women only one was concentrating on breast feeding so maybe the teacher felt if you weren't going to do it why bother learning how grin

We had nothing on the emotional effects of having a baby, it would have taken another week of classes!

WhyOWhyWouldYou Tue 20-Jan-15 16:49:25

Its not just nct but nhs ones can have a separate bit. The men were at all of our nhs sessions but in one got split off to go talk about ways they could support us women in the early postnatal days and to learn how to change nappies, dress baby, etc. Whilst they were doing that the women discussed things like bleeding, stitches, the type of emotions to expect after birth etc - we didn't have to share any personal details more just like you might feel this or that and thats ok and signs that you could be getting pnd rather than just going through the normal emotional upheaval birth brings. Then we were all brought back together for the men to demonstrate how to change nappies and dress a baby.

So even if you find sessions that don't advertise a separate bit for women, there may still be a bit of it.

Knottyknitter Tue 20-Jan-15 17:45:12

We didn't have a women only session, but the dads went off to the kitchen area of the hall while we discussed those bits. They did a separate exercise that we all went through when we joined back up (& put kettle on!)

weeblueberry Tue 20-Jan-15 18:52:50

I did have a really strong support network of friend and family to discuss things with. What I didn't have though was people who were going through it all (and would be when the baby was her) at that time. That was the big draw of the NCT class. Not just the actual classes themselves but knowing I had a group of people who were going through the same thing as me at that point was invaluable. smile

ch1134 Tue 20-Jan-15 19:56:23

At our women only session we did relaxation and hypnobirthing. I guess the men would have got bored. We didn't ever discuss us post birth. I wish we had.

BeverleyCrusher Wed 21-Jan-15 08:48:14

Ours wasn't about emotions or mental health particularly, although I think she did cover PND and signpost some of the things to watch out for / sources of help. It covered bleeding, care of stitches, perineal massage, going to the loo etc. Mostly very practical stuff that you might have to deal with post birth.

And not stuff that the fathers particularly needed to be involved in the discussion about.

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