Lamaze Class in Hindsight – Were Lamaze classes worth it? Or, is Lamaze a waste of time? After the pregnancy and years later, I reflect on whether Lamaze class helped during childbirth.
A proud mom-to-be was asking me questions about Lamaze classes recently. It’s those times where you have weird flashbacks about points in your life that sail by so quickly, you barely remember them. Lamaze classes were one of those buried memories.
Lamaze Class in Hindsight
As a pre-mom, I was so focused on what was about to happen that the whole Lamaze class experience is kind of an afterthought in the memory department. Now that my kids are older, I talked to some other moms (and my poor husband who had to endure Lamaze classes with me) to see if we really took anything out of the Lamaze class experience.
Lamaze class in hindsight. One of the first things that struck me was the memory of feeling like I had to take Lamaze classes. When did Lamaze classes become so ingrained in our culture? I’m not trying to scream conspiracy theory but at what point did Lamaze classes become a standardized process in order to have a child? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the sentiment of trying to make the birthing experience as relaxing as possible. I wish in hindsight that the process didn’t seem so antiquated to me. I hope Lamaze classes have been updated a bit since 2002. My Lamaze class seemed to be right out of the 1970s.
I attended four, two and half hour prepared birth classes. Each class had a different theme (Lamaze, breastfeeding, birthing room visit etc). I was in a group with eight or nine other moms-to-be (with husbands in tow). I can’t remember the exact order of everything but I remember our “birthing counselor” being very clinical. She also wanted us to get specific about our individual plans for childbirth. She asked us outright what our plans were for breastfeeding. This session may as well have been called “Let Us All Sit in Judgment.” Somehow this entire process turned into a breastfeeding contest. Moms that chose to use formula only were being judged and moms who chose to breast feed were being judged based on the duration of how long their breastfeeding plans were. I was disappointed the discussion turned into a debate. I felt and still feel that these choices and beliefs are personal. One mom was pretty convinced that every mom in the group was going to raise the next Hitler based on their choices (no matter what their choices were).
Lamaze class in hindsight. The judgment didn’t stop at breastfeeding. Next was the birthing drugs debate. I was second or third to answer and told the group that I was choosing to give birth without drugs. About half of the new moms said they wanted to try their births drug-free if possible. The other half of the moms-to-be looked at me like I was absolutely crazy. A couple of them even became vocal about how “stupid” my choice was. The birthing counselor sat meekly and did nothing to intervene. I was forced to defend my “choice” to a group of moms I had never met and would never see again. Awkward. Look, I don’t like needles – OK? I didn’t say anything to the women who wanted to be shot up with as many pain relievers as humanly possible. I did however find it ironic that these women were in a Lamaze class that concentrated on managing birth pain through breathing.
Lamaze class in hindsight. The rest of my Lamaze class experiences were more tame. I enjoyed taking a tour of my hospital’s birthing facilities. It was a little like taking a tour of your future high school while you were still in junior high. Nice, but nothing can really prepare you for the first day. The exercise ball routines were OK but nothing I hadn’t already seen in a workout video. Same thing with the Lamaze breathing exercises. Nice, but nothing I hadn’t seen in cheesy 1980s sit-com childbirth scenes. The “play relaxing music” suggestions were something I probably could have figured out on my own as well.
The highlight of Lamaze classes for me was the Rice Sock. I still use mine. Who would have thought that a husband’s old football sock could be useful for anything? I love my rice sock!
Lamaze class in hindsight. Lamaze wasn’t an altogether horrible experience. I just didn’t take enough out of it that I felt was relevant. Maybe it was just my counselor. Maybe it was just my group. I just found the practice of hypnobirthing far more educational for what I was looking for. By all means, take Lamaze classes if you feel they will help. They certainly won’t hamper the birthing experience. I’m not here to judge. I’ve learned my lessons.