“Pass the Scooby Doo ball through the pelvis bone. Go on. It’s much easier if you turn it the other way round”.
Up until now I have very rarely spent my Monday evenings like this but I presume this will not be an uncommon occurrence now that we have started our NCT classes. I gather that this exercise was meant to demonstrate how crouching on all-fours is eminently preferable to lying on your back whilst giving birth. Still, if the fruit of our pregnancy is a merchandised 3D depiction of a cartoon dog then I will be very disappointed come November the 11th. None of the baby grows will fit for a start.
I am fairly certain that Scooby had my eyes though.
It was a strange feeling as we turned up to the children’s centre that was to house this meeting. Wide eyed, expectant and nervous all at the same time, it was like that first day at big school all over again. Will I make friends? Will I say something stupid and show myself up? Will one of the other couples beat me up and steal my dinner money?
Also, “ante-natal classes”, I don’t know if I want to be involved with that, I’m fairly sure that on the whole I’m pro-natal (I realise that this joke works better out loud but you can’t have everything).
In the end it actually fell somewhere between a session from my Theatre Studies degree ( where we really did have to pretend to be a tree and talk about how that made us feel) and a middle class dinner party with even more awkward conversation and significantly less hummus. The men and women were separated and we had to discuss our expectations of the birth and beyond. What were we most looking forward to after ushering a new life into this world?
Of course the fellas body swerved this potential pitfall which, horror of horrors, could possibly have shown an inch of compassion in front of other men we had only just me and started cracking nervous gags. I swore I would never be THAT kind of bloke but I found myself trotting out a line about being keen to have a child so that I could introduce them to Scunthorpe United.
Yes, I could have mentioned holding the baby for the first time, hearing the first word, applauding the first step but, no, I pretended that I most wanted my progeny to be subjected to basement division, kick and run football. I expect a call from Social Services any day soon.
But at least I looked like a BLOODY BLOKE eh? Bleurgh.
I couldn’t think of anything else to say, I’m terrible at small talk but it’s no real excuse. I’m certainly not an Alpha male, I’m just uncomfortable confirming my Gamma status straight off the bat so I pretended for a while. Playing a character, like, riding the wave of anxious bravado that filled the tiny hall filled with a hundred kids’ rough crayon depictions of a day at the seaside.
I’m certain that we will settle in to our natural roles as the weeks progress and there will be couples with which we bond and some that we will never (and will never want to) see again and that’s fine.
If I could drop into every friendship about three months in then I would be happy – you’re past the initial discomfort by then and you can actually get on with having fun. I suppose at least these bonds can revolve around a common theme, a touchstone for us all to refer back to when the conversation dries up. After all, at some point over the next three months we’ll all have Scooby Doo balls of our very own.