Approximately one year ago, I attended one of the recommended New Parent classes your hospital touts as providing “valuable tools and life skills to assist with the birthing process and beyond.” Unfortunately, my 18 instructional hours prepared me for jack squat. So, below, I have included a few suggestions for topics that your students would actually find useful.
1. Replace the breathing and pushing segment with an overview on screaming and epidurals. Student takeaway: If you don’t get an epidural, you will end up screaming a lot. To say that pushing out a baby is even remotely similar to anything we discussed in class on this topic (pushing my feet against a taut sheet my partner is holding, really?) is like comparing a day at the spa to water-boarding. Both involve water, yes, but, well, you get the picture.
2. For the module on diapering and dressing the baby, you really need to ditch the dolls and contact a local farmer who happens to have some baby livestock to rent out. Any schmuck can put a non-slippery, non-squirmy, flexible doll into its clean diaper and little sleeper, but it takes real skill to stuff a piglet into one of those getups. Once your students have mastered the piglets, they will be just about ready to move on to a real baby.
3. An entire segment really should be devoted to the art of eating/vacuuming/sitting on the toilet/dressing/putting on makeup one-handed. There are so many practical exercises you could do to help your students enhance their one-handed dexterity, which every parent knows is a vital life skill during the first months (years?) of the child’s life. I’m not sure why you haven’t thought of this already.
4. Some poop instruction of the Goldilocks variety would be really useful. When is my baby pooping too little? Too much? Just right? Also, a variety of poop-cleaning tips would be welcomed—best removal from the ceiling, walls, carpet, clothing, car seat, bedding, ceiling fan, for example.
5. You really need to nix that section you covered on all of the tools (torture devices) that are used during the birthing process. The ones you showed us (and passed around for an up-close handling—who does this?!) look like they were used during the caveman era. I had enough to worry about without thinking about those forceps being stuck in me, or the suction cup yanking my baby’s head out. Those are the types of things I’d rather not know about—ever. I’m pretty sure any mother who had one of those primitive tools used on her has had to bury the memory deep in her subconscious to ever voluntarily go through another pregnancy.
6. Which brings me to my final suggestion: The whole mesh underwear thing really needs its own segment. I had no idea about everything that goes on down there with the post-birth rigmarole. Please address such questions as: How long will I be wearing a diaper? How long do I have to squirt water on everything? How many gallons of this numbing spray can I take home?
I don’t want you to think I walked away from your class completely empty-handed. Actually, my hands were full of the six-page birthing plan that you had us fill out during class (which somehow the baby remained uninformed about). Please note that these suggestions come free of charge, but if you’d like to knock something off of that delivery bill I’m still making payments on, I won’t protest.
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