As with many things in life, the good antenatal classes get snapped up early. This means that when you’re not telling people you’re expecting but are feeling what can only be described as ‘bleh’, you’re also trying to sign up to the right class.
I decided there would be two criteria to meet. Firstly, the course had to be taught by someone my techie hubby would respect and secondly, it had to stand out from the competition.
Ella’s “Be Ready To Parent” course has a snazzy website that shows she is a young mum of three and a paediatrician by trade. Been there done that recently – tick, and knows what she’s talking about in a medical sense – tick. My hubby Anthony was sold.
The Be Ready To Parent classes include a first aid course and a session where the birthing partners have time with Ella’s Psychiatrist husband so they can learn the difference between baby blues and post natal depression; two excellent differentiators in my opinion.
Ella gave us some pre course homework and also suggested we make a calendar of mother and baby activities in our area. This was so useful after Oscar was born but Ella is far from your stereotypical strict school teacher; she’s so warm hearted.
Each session is run by an expert in their field which means you can ask really in depth ‘what if’ questions and get a proper answer. My favourite sessions were those run by the midwife who was honest and reassuring. She helped the birth partners realise that their role was to be a voice for those of us giving birth and she helped us understand that we could remain in control of our labours by knowing all the possible scenarios and our choices if they arose.
But Ella’s Be Ready To Parent classes were more than just preparing us for giving birth; they were about ensuring we felt empowered after the birth. We were given expert advice on necessary and useful baby equipment; breastfeeding; nappies (I’ll say no more on that subject); first aid; our health after birth; religious baby ceremonies and childcare. Some of the sessions felt a bit premature but I have needed information from every session bar the first aid course so far. Right now I’m reviewing the childcare information as I return to my business, Gradia.co.uk (pardon the plug).
Every expert left their contact details and insisted we get back in touch if we had questions or concerns. I contacted the breastfeeding expert when I encountered a bump in the road, and I wouldn’t still be exclusively breastfeeding 6 months on if it wasn’t for her. And poor Ella, my hubby contacts her for advice with every rash, cough or sniffle Oscar encounters but she never minds and is always helpful.
Parents often tell you that when they first get their little one home from the hospital they look at them and think ‘Oh my gosh, what do I do now?’ We didn’t have that. Ella prepared us and we knew our roles, so when we arrived home, we took Oscar out of his car seat and the three of us just danced.
Written by Lisa Eskinazi, mum to Oscar and wife to Anthony, who attended my first ever antenatal course.