Walking nervously into the grounds of a local primary school earlier this week, Mrs B and I embarked on the first of our NHS-funded 'Parent Craft' lessons.
Literally going back to school the pair of us took our seats (thankfully not toddler-size) in a neat semi-circle, largely consisting of puzzled-looking mums and dads, in an empty primary classroom. The setting for our introduction to the miracle of childbirth was as sterile as it was uncomfortable. The NHS, bless their souls, had, however, laid on a wealth of refreshments for us, namely two jugs of water and at least five glasses. We were, it was fair to say, instantly sceptical of the two hour lesson that lay ahead.
Jenny, adopting the role of biology teacher, began by detailing the various signs of labour. The breaking of waters may not, we were told, actually mean the start of labour. In fact, the whole process may not start until hours or even days afterwards, which was news to us. As were the intricacies of the various stages of labour - all expertly demonstrated to us by an enthusiastic Jenny with the aid of a 30 year-old baby doll and a plastic pelvis.
Needless to say we left the school grounds wiser than we had entered and thankful that the free course had given us such a brilliant insight in to what we can expect in a few weeks' time. What's interesting now, however, is how NCT will compare? I have a feeling that there may be a few more cushions, and maybe even a selection of biscuits, but will the quality of the information and the delivery match that which we received from the NHS? Watch this space to find out.