Yesterday I started my maternity lessons, held at the General Hospital here on The Rock. At 36 weeks, I know I started them late, however I could not attend before since I was not here to do so. So yesterday morning I headed off at the early hour of 8 o’clock, to the lecture room at the hospital.
We were quite a large group – over thirty in number. The age range varied from a very young frightened-looking girl who could not have been more than 16 who attended with her mother, to the majority of twenty-something year olds, and myself and three others whom I know, who are older than myself. Of us all, I think I was the most advanced pregnancy-wise, since ‘my’ group had their classes done last month. Or at least it seemed my Bump was the biggest around.
I knew some of the women attending. Some by sight, some through work and some with whom I share a hi/bye relationship. None are friends of mine, and after yesterday’s lesson (not to sound arrogant, but it’s true) I doubt that I will actively look up someone from the class to start an active friendship.
The class was about the basic things relating to pregnancy, starting with an explanation about the blue card (the hospital card holding all your relevant information), pregnancy pains and diet. The first part went by smoothly without any interruptions. But when the midwife started talking about the pains to expect during pregnancy and the food to avoid/eat during this period, that is when the Chosen Few started making themselves heard.
For out of the approximate thirty that made up the class, there were the four attendees who I shall refer to as the Chosen Few from now onwards. They were the group of people who ensured that they made their voice heard after every sentence the midwife uttered. If she was talking about heartburn, the Chosen Few could be heard to say ‘oh yes, tell me about it!’ If she discussed the ever-growing urge of going to the toilet more frequently, the Chosen Few could be seen nodding away madly and jumping in mid-sentence to tell the rest of us their ‘horrible’ experience of waking up ‘precisely at 1am and 3am’ to go to the toilet. The rest of us had to listen in on the Chosen Few talking about their irregular bowel movement, their itching bits and the way their nipples have become so sensitive that they could only find peace when running around topless.
The hotpoint of the whole lesson was when the midwife talked about the perils of keeping a pet at home when expecting. The Chosen Few appeared shocked and could not hold back at protesting about this. ‘But when I eat, I always hold my cat on my lap!’, ‘But who will clean after the dog if I don’t do it!?’, and ‘But the cat won’t stay with anyone except myself’, they were heard crying out. The smartest one of the Chosen Few lot told the midwife that the pet would learn to adapt itself around the baby, to which the midwife calmly explained that a pet is only an animal, and a baby is totally defenceless against it.
Other highlights of the morning included the pregnant-already-mother-of-one (the eldest of the Chosen Few) asking the midwife what the pressure she was feeling in her lower abdomen wasabout, and most surprisingly, what a breech was, and how could a baby in a sitting position be borne? My favourite question came from the loudest member of the Chosen Few asking the midwife how long in weeks was a normal pregnancy. I kid you not.
I am no genius in biology. I never studied it and have only the basic knowledge in things relating to the human body and its’ workings. But the minute I found out I was pregnant, I bought a basic pregnancy book, telling me what to expect during the coming weeks, week by week. I learnt more about my body and the developments going on in the baby’s body. Something the Chosen Few clearly did not do. And had no shame or embarrassment in showing the rest of us that they had not one ounce of knowledge about what was going on.
And so you can understand why I am not so eager for next Tuesday’s lesson…