NCT Signature classes - DH moan and advice needed(24 Posts)
Hello. This is a bit of a feeling-sorry-for-myself moan, and also a request for advice, especially from anyone who has attended an NCT Signature course in the past...
So a bit of background first: My DH suffers from depression / anxiety, and can struggle with meeting new people and socialising generally. For various reasons, he hasn't been 100% MH-wise recently. It's manageable - he's not on meds, and he's doing okay at work etc - but he's definitely stressed out.
I'm pregnant with our first, and I had booked us on the NCT's Signature course, starting last Saturday with a 5-hour class. When we talked about booking it, I told him I knew it wouldn't really be his cup of tea, but I have been feeling a bit anxious myself about ending up alone and isolated during the week while I'm on a year's maternity leave. I'm pretty shy / introverted by nature, and I don't know anyone where we live apart from his family. So I figured that NCT would be a good opportunity to meet other new mums locally, and he agreed.
Anyway, on Saturday morning, he told me he couldn't go to the class. "I just can't do it" is pretty much all he would say. I got very upset, as I didn't want to go alone. Maybe I could have, but I just kept picturing it being a load of couples doing breathing exercises and back rubbing on birthing balls, with me by myself trying not to cry. We ended up having a huge row. His MH issues can be challenging at times, but normally I am 100% understanding and try to be as supportive as possible. Often, this involves me taking the lead / going solo in situations because he can't cope with it, and I don't resent that. He takes care of me in other ways. But this time I just wanted him to be able to JUST BLOODY DO IT!! I felt so let down.
Okay, moaning over with. (Thank you if you've read this far!!)
So now for the advice bit... I have to decide what to do about the rest of the NCT course. We talked about it again tonight, ending in another row because he's said he can't/won't go to any of the classes. I know there's nothing I can say/do to change that. So should I go on my own? There is a breastfeeding class this Saturday for c2 hours (for couples, but I imagine not every bloke would go, so that's okay), a women's-only one in the week (fine), and then a final session the following Saturday for 5 hours - I guess the follow-up to last Saturday's class. I expect I would be the only one there by myself, if I go.
I guess the advice I'm looking for is... in these circumstances would you go to the classes by yourself? Will I feel like a right lemon in that final 5-hour session? Does anyone know what kind of stuff the class would cover? I'm just wondering how awkward it would be with me not being in a couple. I know the first class covered labour / birth, so my guess is this one would be more about parenthood / caring for a newborn, but I don't know how it works in practice.
Just to add, I know expectant mums come in all sorts of situations, eg being single - this isn't about me not wanting to appear 'conventional'. But based on the NCT instructor's emails, the whole group is made up of couples, and I signed up as a couple too, so at the very least I'll have to make excuses for DH not being there. But really this is about me potentially putting myself in a situation that could stress / upset me, rather than help me prepare for being a mum and, hopefully, make some friends.
Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts or insight, I'd be grateful. I just can't decide what to do for the best.
I'd go. My husband has basically refused to ever join in any of my NCT stuff but 4 years on, I still see most of my group regularly. I found the support network invaluable while on Mat leave and beyond. Good luck! What have you got to lose?
One of our NCT group turned up by herself for a few of the sessions. It was fine - the lady running the class partnered up with her for the bits where two people were needed. Please go. NCT is all about supporting new parents, and it sounds like you could do with building a bit of a network. Why don't you drop the lady who runs it an email beforehand to explain your worries. I'm sure she'll do her best to make you feel comfortable.
Oh, and once the babies are born, it's really just the mums who meet up anyway, so it doesn't make any difference whose partner was there for the classes or not.
Thank you both - you've just made me breathe a shaky, teary sigh of relief. (I've got a bit emotional about it all - I'm blaming the hormones!)
I was really glad to read both your takes on it - it's made me feel a lot better about giving it a go by myself. So I will give it a shot. Thank you again.
Yep those hormones are going to get much worse
Good for you. Do let us know how it goes!
Excellent! We also had one couple where the husband opted out for a lot of it. He was really anxious/shy for various reasons. More than four years on we're all still friends, and this particular bloke is now good friends with DH.
Definitely do it. A good NCT group is amazing, and at a minimum it will give you familiar faces and regular coffees in the early days.
Can you speak to your class teacher, I'm sure she'd make sure you feel welcomed and included.
Definitely do it - it's just 3 classes and once you've done the first one you will get over any nerves/discomfort!
Do you have a friend/sister/mum who could come along to help with the couple bits, if you didn't want to do it alone?
I have been doing mine in the US so it was a bit different (much bigger - 16/17 couples), one girl brought her mum to some and another one split with her partner after the first session and brought her friend to the rest.
I did a breastfeeding one alone as DH didn't want to come, I assumed most men wouldn't so I let him off. But most partners did go so I was mad with him afterwards, so know where you're coming from! There were a few without partners, and they went to great length to explain why their partner's weren't there (at work etc) but I didn't even bother mentioning him - no-one cares really, just you! I got over the embarrassment after 5 mins and everyone just got on with the class. And if anyone is judgy, well you just know that you don't want to be their friend!
As for being isolated, as well as NCT you could always look at local mum/baby clubs etc after baby is born, as as pp have said it's only mums who go to most of that kind of stuff anyway!
Good luck with your DH, it sounds pretty stressful for you
I would go by yourself. I'm sure you'll be made to feel welcome regardless!
How is he going to prepare himself for supporting you at the birth though?
Definitely go! I've just finished my nct course and the group were so supportive I think you'd really benefit. Very little working together with your partner- mainly group stuff. Let the course leader know in advance so she can think about pairing up with you, or pairing you with another solo attendee for certain bits. As others have said, it is really about women building a network for maternity leave. We already have a mums only what's app group to chat/arrange meet ups etc. Enjoy it and report back!
I took my Mum to a couple of the sessions that my DH didn't go to, as others said though the instructors are good with partnering up if needed. We used to meet up a fair bit in the beginning as couples and now it's just the women that meet up, my husband is antisocial at times not for any reason, just that he is, when they do big group meet ups I generally go just myself and my DD. NCT is really for you, so go along and get what you need from it Hope all goes ok, I found the breastfeeding session in particular really good as they went through things like hand expressing, the women's only session I unfortunately missed but it gives the women the opportunity to chat about all the pregnancy and birth things that they feel may be a little TMI for partners.
I went to one of my NCT sessions on my own, it was fine. We didn't do anything like breathing exercises in pairs, it was mostly talking, and the breastfeeding class was just the mums anyway, no dads invited. I'd definitely go.
I'm so glad you've decided to go OP.
I still see my NCT friends every month or so 2 years on - we kept each other sane in those early days of new motherhood! I'm an introvert but made a massive effort to keep turning up when things were organised, making suggestions and just forcing myself to get involved which worked.
You won't feel a lemon and the instructor shouldnt put you on the spot. As others have said, it's really not about the men. But I'm sorry your DH couldn't (or wouldnt) face his fears and just try that first session for you
I haven't started my NCT yet (next week yay!) but in our position i would still go. I'm sure you'll get lots of good info, meet some lovely ladies and you dont know who else might be alone for one or more of the sessions... My dh cant make 2 of the sessions as he's working away and he's gutted but i'll still be going.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I understand where your OH is coming from (I'm not excusing him not going though) as I really wanted to do NCT but the thought of going had me so scared that I haven't gone to them and now I kick myself for it!
You could see if someone else could come with you? Like your mum/sister/friend? Is that an option?
Does his MH prevent him from doing many things he wouldn't want to do anyway?
Will he need a good nights sleep so you have to deal with all night wakings? How about the crying- will that be so stressful that he couldn't be expected to cope.
I'd go alone, but my worry for you is that this is his opening salvo in his contribution to all parenting, and he is managing your expectations about how much effort he intends to make.
My husband was away working for a couple of our sessions so I went alone. Think some other husbands didn't make it because of late working etc. It will be fine
Dont put too much pressure to make friends on yourself - most of my group ended up moving away! There will also be lots of chances to meet people after the baby is born
I'm inclined to agree with SeoulSister OP.
Have you two chatted about how his MH is going to impact his parenting?
MH is absolutely real and to be taken seriously. It certainly doesn't disqualify someone from parenting!
But an awful lot of parenting, especially early on, is doing things you "just can't do". MH or not (and I've had more than my fair share of difficulties) you have to find a way of doing what your child needs regardless. Right now that means he needs to find a way of doing what you need to help the both of you bring your baby into the world.
Collapsing into a mumbling heap of "I can't" is really not an option.
Is social anxiety a part of his MH condition? How is he planning to manage the never ending stream of social situations you're forced into as a parent? There really is no way out of the groups, the parties, the extra-curricular activities, the school gate etc. etc. Not to mention the barrage of professionals from HVs onwards.
I really don't mean to sound harsh but a parent's MH issues simply must take a back seat in comparison to the child's needs. Just as parents with physical health concerns have to find ways to manage their conditions whilst still meeting their children's needs.
It's bloody hard work under ideal conditions. I'd be really concerned that at a comparatively minor hurdle like this he balked.
Does he have any experience of tiny babies? Does he understand how much support you need at this time and why building a social network is so important for you and the baby? If you could chat it over again with him and emphasise why this is important would he be prepared to push himself to do it?
I'd explain to the course teacher and she will help you feel included. Maybe your husband needs to go back to his gp and explain how his mh is being affected by the pregnancy. He might need some extra support.
My DP also suffers from anxiety and panic attacks and finds social situations difficult. We've got our NCT classes starting at the end of Feb (we've booked the Essentials one) and I'm also worried in case he feels unable to go which has often happened with social situations in the past.
If it comes to it, I will definitely still go on my own as I want to gain the knowledge and make local friends who are having babies as I don't know anyone at the moment! I am also quite shy and introverted but used to going through with things on my own now.
My DP is on meds which have really helped and also finds mindfulness helpful and has really improved over the past 6 months so I'm hoping he will be able to come to the classes. It might also help if you find out what triggers your DH so you can re-assure him. My DP gets anxious and panicky about the thought of being 'trapped' somewhere are not able to escape if he feels a panic attack coming on. If I can re-assure him that if he started feeling a panic attack coming on while in the antenatal class, he can step outside for air, go home etc... and isn't stuck there for the whole 2 hour session if he starts to feel unwell. Just having that escape option really helps with not feeling anxious and feeling able to go through with things.
I made a deal with my DH that he only had to go to one NCT signature class with me so others would not think him a figment of my imagination. He has 2 grown children and is not really the type for group exercises, visualisation etc but even he admitted class 1 was okay, the people perfectly normal and is coming to no 2 with me. We have agreed he can always fake shift changes if he can face no more... Perhaps with reassurance he can leave if overwhelmed your DH might be persuaded to go to at least one of your classes?
i'd say definitely go, its a great way to meet people. obviously it depends on the people in your group as to whether you all end up as great friends or you drift out of contact, but its very reassuring to see a couple of familiar faces when you go to other baby groups etc
one couple in my group had their little boy at 29 weeks but they still came to most of the classes even though their baby was already born, they just skipped the labour/delivery one. they still wanted to meet people and get the "social" aspects of the group. I am still very close to her now, so i'm very glad she decided to come!
Join the discussion
Please login first.