Maude and I attended our first ‘Parentcraft’ class last night. Maude was quite looking forward to it – she had done a great deal of research and wanted to participate fully.
The midwife introduced herself and was impressively warm and welcoming.
‘That’s Carol,’ whispered Maude. ’She’s our midwife.’
I smiled and Carol suggested that all the couples introduced themselves to the group – since we would be sharing the sessions for several weeks.
The introductions began. Couples squeezed each other’s hands, exchanged smiles, gave their names, detailed how pregnant they were and where they lived. Carol thanked each couple in turn and made everyone feel at their ease – especially the men who shuffled in their seats and fidgeted with the change in their pockets. Our turn arrived and Carol glanced over. I drew breath and shifted slightly in my seat. Before I could say anything Maude took over:
‘Hello Everyone! I’m Maude! I am 36 weeks pregnant and I will be having my baby at the Queen Elizabeth.’
There was a finality at the end of this statement, so Carol smiled again and moved to the next couple. I tapped Maude’s arm gently.
‘Well, they don’t really need to know who you are, do they?’
Maude ‘whispered’ this, so it was audible to the entire room. A diminutive father beside me sniggered. I looked closely at him. He was wearing a waistcoat which made him look like a snooker player and his sideburns were shaped to emphasise his individuality. I began to think that I didn’t really want to surrender my anonymity to this group anyway.
Carol took the group through the 3 stages of pregnancy. Maude answered when Carol asked if anyone knew the names of those stages. Maude also chipped in with various technical terms and suggested at one point that one of Carol’s diagrams was, in fact, the wrong way up.
Carol persevered, but began to offer her questions exclusively to the other side of the room. Maude was undaunted and fired her answers at the back of Carol’s head – repeating them until she turned around and was forced to acknowledge that Maude was right.
‘Maude's being doing her research, hasn't she?’ Carol forced a smile.’If I’m feeling under the weather next week, I'm sure she can take yous all through the rest of the course.’
I swiftly fell off my chair to distract Maude, before she worsened the situation by correcting Carol’s grammar.