The antenatal class I attended when pregnant was a one-off six-hour affair that left my head (and handbag) packed with oodles of information.
The midwife did her best to cram in as much vital material as she possibly could, but it turns out there was a lot she didn’t cover.
I’m only 20 months in, but some of the most invaluable tidbits I’ve learned so far about life as a parent have come from experience in the field.
Here are eight things they don’t (but maybe should) teach you in antenatal class…
1. The John Wayne walk – You’ll need to perfect this not just for the last few weeks of pregnancy, but also, crucially, if you fail to find a parking space close enough to the hospital when in labour.
2. Parental harmony – Nothing will test your relationship with your partner like having children will. Most of the time you will be a united front, but there will occasions when he is the bane of your existence. Fear not, you won’t be the only Mum to feel this way.
3. The baby hog tackle – Everybody wants a newborn cuddle, but nobody wants to pass them back. A true baby hog, however, will happily sit for hours on end holding your baby, even if they’re crying; it’s up to you to get the precious bundle back in your arms.
4. Nappy negotiations – It’s not HOW to change a nappy you need to master, but WHERE you will change it that is important. Whether it’s the tilt of the seat or the vibrations from the engine, the car is the place most babies like to do their first and biggest bowel movement of the day. Keep nappies, wipes and a change of clothes (theirs and yours) in the car for such occasions. And maybe a surgical mask.
5. Baby budgeting – You may have to take out a second mortgage for all the cute baby clothes and pointless crap you won’t be able to resist buying. Not to mention all the extra money you’ll need to pay for the coffee addiction you will undoubtedly acquire.
6. One-handed multitasking – You’ll need to become an expert at cooking and eating with one hand, whilst simultaneously breastfeeding. Because you will have no other option if you want to eat.
7. Ninja moves – Crawls, backflips and numerous other stealth moves – you’ll do whatever it takes to avoid waking your sleeping baby. These moves will also come in handy for avoiding all the questionable and unwanted parenting advice that will be thrown your way.
8. Lessons in love – Whilst the baby weight drops off some Mums quicker than they imagined, your body never really goes back to its original shape or form. You will, however, learn to love that Mum Pouch more than you can imagine. Although no way near as much as you will love the little being who gave you the Mother of all gifts.