When I first found out we were pregnant just under two years ago, my first thoughts were excitement, fear, anxiety, is it a boy or a girl? Both my husband and I were shocked, but over the moon. I quickly started to think about all the products that we would need to purchase, that’s just me, and I started to make lists. One of the things that I knew we should do was to attend NCT classes. A lot of my friends and work colleagues had been to NCT. They learnt a lot and met a fantastic group of friends through it. It seemed like the “done” thing to do, to make friends that would be your sounding board during the last few weeks of pregnancy and support you during your maternity leave.
So, in January 2015 we signed up for NCT Signature courses starting in June. I was pretty shocked by the price. We paid just under £300 for 16 hours of courses that included 4 to 5 hours on three consecutive Saturday’s, and 3 hours after work for the breastfeeding session. I think that price might be slightly weighted for London, and I’m not sure how it compares to the rest of the country. However I definitely think it was money well spent, I’m sure that I have wasted more on useless baby products.
Our classes were held in the function room of a local pub, which meant that we could have a few drinks (or Lemonades) afterwards to get to know each other and discuss the classes. I know that the boys enjoyed being able to have a pint after 4 hours talking about placenta’s and knitted boobs!
Having completed the course, we set up a What’s App group with everyone included – the girls and the partners. I remember getting the notification when the group was set-up, going to a work meeting and seeing over 200 messages pinging on my phone. It was really exciting as one by one each of us had our babies, hearing about the birth and seeing the first pictures of the babies. Then once all the babies were here and we could brave stepping out of the house, we quickly settled into a routine of baby classes, coffee, cake, baby bounce and wine during the weeks of our maternity leave.
We were lucky and had a good group, and I’m sure that we all feel the same. I look back and I think how lucky we were to have a good year, and here’s why:
- There was always someone to have coffee and cake with. 2015/2016 was the year I ate cake every day, and also starting drinking coffee. The girls are to blame for this.
- At 3am when you’ve been up all night with a baby who won’t sleep or one that wants to feed all night, there was always someone who would also be awake who you could have a What’s App chat with.
- We were all going through the same stages of development or milestones with our baby at the same time. The girls were a brilliant sounding board for advice or moral support when you’re in the trenches of sleep deprivation and all day breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding is scary when you first need to do it in public. I remember being super scared the first time, but I was quickly put at ease and no one bats an eyelid anyway.
- They were the only group of people that I have felt comfortable with to have conversations about poo. What colour, how much, how often and those famous poosplosions.
- We would attend baby sensory and baby bounce every week as a group. It was lovely to have that routine, but also good that we knew we would be meeting up.
I love my NCT friends. I couldn’t have got through a year of maternity leave without them. They were a pillar of support and fun to be around, and made sure that I got out of the house everyday. Now that we are all back at work, I really miss being able to nip out for lunch for a catch-up. Although now that I have gone part-time at work to 4-days a week, I should be able to see these ladies a little more often.
For anyone that is considering doing NCT classes, I really recommend them. I hope that you make a fantastic group of friends, have a laugh during the course, and share a maternity leave together just like we did.