ONE of the treats of a modern pregnancy is that you don’t have to go through it alone.
No, you can now simply head to your local NCT or NHS class, where you will be thrown together with a random cross-section of society.
The two things you immediately have in common? Proximity, and your rough conception date.
These classes can spawn lifelong friendships, and much-needed fellowship during the tricky throes of early parenthood.
They will also definitely feature at least five of these broadly-painted stereotypes. But which one are YOU?
The Preggo-Loving Earth Mum
While other children dreamed of unicorns and wedding bells, this one’s crystal ball told of a future wandering the earth barefoot with messy hair, a permanently swollen belly, and numerous infants climbing all over her.
You’ve caught her at the start of her odyssey.
Her bralessness is a prerequisite for being ready to suckle her young at the drop of a hat, and her trousers are made of something grim like hemp or corduroy.
Her child, though inside it feels like a Rob or a Susan, will be called Orion. She will also be the first one shrieking for drugs when the contractions really start to kick in.
The Reluctant Mum
Still shell-shocked from getting knocked up in the first place, every new piece of information is met with utter bewilderment, as though she slept through literally every single biology lesson ever.
If you listen very closely you’ll hear her quietly retching behind her hand while your NCT teacher talks you through the process of a baby moving into position at the foot of your pelvis.
And while you sit around discussing the price of pushchairs and cots with the other members of the group, all of the blood will slowly drain from her face. The next day she will buy a pushchair and a cot.
The Serial-Class-Going Mum
What with this and hypnobirth class, and pregnancy yoga, and baby whispering, and meditate with your foetus, and extreme vaginal floor aerobics, it’ll be a wonder if Serial-Class-Going Mum finds time in her busy schedule to actually have a baby.
When it finally does make an appearance in between seminars, she’ll simply transition to baby massage, milk club, baby spin class and clown school. Not to mention the numerous Open University courses she will attend online while the rest of the world sleeps.
The Horror-Story Mum
Childbirth is often referred to as “a miracle”, presumably because once you know exactly how the process works, it’s a miracle that anyone would want to go through it.
Hence it’s spoken about in soft, calming tones, generally by people with glazed eyes and a fixed smile.
Then in strides Horror-Story Mum with all the grace of a bounty hunter lugging the head of Osama Bin Laden, munching an apple, and shouting about vaginal tears, nipples being ripped to shreds, and the odds of going to the toilet during childbirth.
The rest of the room desperately scampers to its Happy Place.
The Keeno-Swot Dad
When he’s not acing it at work, he can be found walking around purposefully with his shirt tucked into his jeans, and immediately following the birth of his child he’ll whip his top off for some “skin to skin”.
He’s read every book going on every subject, he volunteers for every single demonstration that requires a male representative, and he’s not just going to be there for the birth of his child, he’s going to be there better than anyone has ever been there before.
He’s going to win at being a first-time dad, he’s already memorised all of the best children’s books word-for-word. In short, he’s insane.
The Joker Dad
Form a semi-circle of plastic chairs, and you immediately have a makeshift audience for the class joker. Or, more specifically, JOKERS plural.
Because with the epidemic rise of “banter” in recent years has come a glut of predatory comics, all surreptitiously battling to be the “funniest one in the room” – and pregnancy, with its willies and vaginas and boobs, is fertile hunting ground for puerile humour.
Watch as they passive-aggressively jostle for punchlines around perineal massage, see them stifle victorious grins as they score much-coveted belly laughs with a quip about “cutting the wrong cord”, then picture them confused, babbling incoherently and breathing into a paper bag while their strong women turn into lionesses during labour.
A post shared by Josh Burt (@joshburt76) on Dec 25, 2016 at 1:24am PST
The Fishing-For-Mates Dad
It’s an unspoken rule that NCT is more about making friends with other expectant parents (particularly for the mums) than it is about actually nurturing your offspring, but woe betide anyone who openly acknowledges this little truth-nugget.
You don’t want to seem desperate, you don’t want to come off as needy.
You don’t want to be the Fishing-For-Mates Dad asking “so what you up to next weekend lads?” while eyes start to widen, and pulse-rates quicken all around the room, “fancy a drink or something?”.
Oh and will you look at that, everyone appears to have gone deaf.
A post shared by Josh Burt (@joshburt76) on Jul 7, 2017 at 9:40am PDT
The Dragged-Along Dad
Though we are finally moving away from old fashioned notions and tired stereotypes about reluctant fathers who go out and win the bread while their womenfolk navigate the children through the day unscathed.
You’ll still find remnants of this bygone era in your NCT class.
Her smiley, upbeat and keen to participate, him checking his watch with a face like a smacked bottom, wondering why he’s having to learn about breastfeeding when he doesn’t even have breasts.
Well, not yet anyway.