Is a question I get asked all the time. It is then swiftly followed by, ‘what are your NCT group like?’
Thankfully I’m in a position where I can answer positively to both, and I think my positive answer to the first question has a large part to do with my positive answer to the second.
If I’m honest I didn’t learn much from the actual course. We learnt what a birth canal looks like (I still maintain I’d rather not know) and that my husband has a weird fascination with tummy buttons. Much of the first session was taken up by him asking if there was anything you could do to avoid the unborn child suffering the terrible fate of, wait for it, an ‘outie’. Personally I was more concerned about the whole giving birth to a watermelon sized ‘thing’ but hey ho each to their own.
Where NCT has excelled is putting me in touch a group of ladies who live within walking distance to me who all have babies the same age. Obvious, innit?! Pre pregnancy I dreamt that maternity leave would be whistful walks through the park, the sun shining and birds singing with your adoring offspring gazing up at you. What I didn’t take into account is that it can be really quite lonely. You’re at home with the baby, on your own, all day, frequently suffering from extreme sleep deprivation and with an unpredictable beastie to try and tame.
And this is where the NCT group step in. They are also alone at home all day, sleep deprived and with a babybomb on the verge of explosion at any time. Their pain is your pain, their joys are your joys. They’re also desperate to get out of the house and TALK to somebody. It doesn’t matter if your baby has the grumps, theirs will next week. It doesn’t matter if plans change last minute, these things happen and it doesn’t matter if you turn up looking like shit because you’ve been up 6 times in the night. The getting out and good chat does wonders for cheering up a down day and makes the whole experience much more enjoyable.
I’ve met some really fun and lovely mums and nannies through going to various baby groups, but I think there’s a special place for the ladies that have been there from the very beginning. A good friend once said to me that true friendship is cemented through the experiencing of trying times together. Very true I think, very true.