I’ve met many mums, old and young, who have raved about their NCT groups – about how they have been a lifeline for those difficult moments and how they have forged lifelong friendships through them. So when I was looking to book onto an NCT signature parenting course, my expectations were pretty high.
Meeting new friends was my main reason for booking onto an NCT course. As an expectant mum, this was something that was really important to me. I’d also heard through the grapevine that a lot of the information given was more like propaganda with no pain relief and breastfeeding being force fed to you like sprouts at Christmas.
If for nothing else, the course did give me some new great friends – we’ve already met up a few times at our local Waitrose Cafe for a cup of tea, some cake and a good natter.
Here’s a great tip that I’m glad I’ve found early on – with a Waitrose card, you can get a free tea or coffee with any purchase in their cafe – makes a great couple of hours out for a really low price! We also inadvertently found out that if you buy a coffee upgrade, you only need to pay for the upgrade. One of our NCT group managed to get a coffee for only 30p using this method – what a bargain!! Although this somewhat confused our sleep deprived selves when we were told that she only needed to pay 30p, but would need to pay full price if she didn’t get the 30p upgrade… It’s also great to get out of the house and talk about our trials and tribulations with our babies as I’m sure there is only so much our non-baby friends and families can take before being bored of our latest baby only news.
Informed decision making
I really didn’t expect to learn as much as I did through the course. I’d done my research already and thought I knew what I needed to know. But I was surprised to learn more about labour and birth in a way that was interactive and helped me to make informed decisions.
From the course I learnt that there pretty much isn’t a right or wrong when it comes to your personal choices – something that I thought they’d push on us. But, they didn’t. The course leader gave us the facts, which we explored and each came to our own decision.
Between our group, I think we have tried every form of pain relief through labour and had completely different births. Some were very normal, some were very traumatic but all were different.
I sit in the camp of thinking that until you’re in that circumstance, it’s not possible to know what you’re going to want or need in terms of pain relief as sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. But, knowing my options and knowing what I was entitled to really helped to know what was being offered.
Although we also had a session on breastfeeding, it really wasn’t pushed upon us. Although ‘breast is best’, it just wasn’t for me and Georgia in the end. I tried, but didn’t feel like a failure for moving onto bottles. At the end of the day, if mum and baby are happy, then that’s all that matters.
Dedicate some time to think about it
The best part of the course, from an information point of view, was being able to dedicate some time to thinking about my labour and birth. Although there’s a fair amount of build up to the main event, in the lead up my mind was otherwise preoccupied thinking about decorating the nursery, buying last minute clothes and generally feeling like a beachball. Although I’d thought about birth, I hadn’t really made any decisions. So having time in our course to go over the evidence and discuss pros and cons really helped me to add some focus to an otherwise whirlwind adventure.
Although pricey, I think it was well worth it for the new friendships forged and the information which was presented in such a way that allowed me to come to my own conclusions, make my own decisions and importantly really think about what I wanted.