Lots of people see the NCT as very pro lots-of-things (breast feeding, natural birth, attachment parenting, baby wearing, co-sleeping) and anti-lots-of-things (pain relief, caesareans, formula). I must say, they are often holier than thou in their approach – I take what I want (breast feeding, part attachment parenting) & ignore others (drugs, caesarean).
Kirsty Allsop got into trouble with them for suggesting lots of people aren’t prepared for caesareans & formula after their classes. Luckily we were in ours – we acted out one which was both amusing and useful. They didn’t, however, tell you how to make up a bottle of formula or tell you that you may not give a shit in childbirth and ask for all drugs available. And they certainly don’t tell you that you will feel guilty about it. Mainly because their teachings say you WILL be able to cope without pain relief. Kirsty certainly has a point.
I didn’t have caesareans out of choice but necessity – the recovery is horrendous, especially when your stomach muscles decide they want a divorce, most people formula feed as they struggle to breast feed & we all end up doing what suits us. The problem being that organisations such as the NCT, or my (very middle class – the NCT would be proud) pregnancy yoga lessons don’t help when things don’t go to plan. When I wrote my birth story on my yoga group page (in a nutshell – failed vaginal-birth-after-Caesarian or VBAC with lots of pain relief) they didn’t say ‘bring your baby in for a show and tell’ like they did most people. This was partly as I admitted yoga breathing did sod all for me (yet again), I didn’t have a doula (the ‘in’ thing to do for lots of women, especially yoga lovers) & I failed in my attempt to have a natural, pain free birth. But partly as they want to surround the pregnant ladies in the class with positive birth stories so they realise they CAN have a fabulous birth. Which is all very well until you don’t have one. And you feel crap as all the other girls who came in to the yoga class with their newborns had had them. I wasn’t even allowed to lift for 12 weeks after my 2nd birth (can I even say I gave birth as they came out the sunroof?). I wasn’t out showing off my newborn for a long time. I just wish they had let someone with a perhaps not so nice birth story come in and tell their tale. Then I wouldn’t feel like such a failure.
Now don’t feel sorry for me – I’m lucky to have 2 great, healthy children, and, apart from the odd thought of ‘why do I love epidurals so much when so many friends do without them’, I don’t really care that I had caesareans. My scar is even healing much better the time too & I quite like it – it’s smiley. And I know loads of people who had worse experiences than me.
I do love much of what the NCT does. I’m usually the person who spends the most at their fabulous nearly new sales, their breast feeding help line was great, and my classes were too – we made so amazing friends through it when pregnant with Osc. Some of whom are visiting this weekend. Some of whom also didn’t have the birth they wanted. Which makes these groups all the more important – we helped each other through a lot and didn’t judge on anyone’s way of parenting. After all, we all have healthy, happy toddlers now and that’s far more important than the way we gave birth.