Well, sure—but know, going in, that you, Dad, are mostly window-dressing.
We did go to birthing classes, my wife and I. They weren’t bad. The only thing I actively disliked was that we all sat on the floor, on thin mats, and after the fourth hour of our five-hour sessions, my glutes were howling at me, and I wasn’t the one with my pelvis all stretched out. (Was this intended to hint at the pain my wife was about to endure? If so, okay. Otherwise, would picking up a couple of folding chairs at Target kill you, folks?)
The rest was perfectly okay. I learned a few things, bits of which came in handy when my wife was well into her FORTY-TWO HOURS of labor. But honestly? It seemed like a one-page handout, read and digested in ten minutes, could’ve done as much for me as a fifteen-hour series of classes did. I’d flipped through a couple of books and Websites by the time we signed up, and not much of the dad-knowledge being imparted was new to me.
Whereas my wife, at least theoretically, had plenty of reasons to be there and things to learn. Pain-management strategies. Terminology. Adroit use of pillows during the birth. Yes, she too had already picked up a lot of this because of her laudably voracious preterm reading, but if she hadn’t, it would’ve been vital. Particularly toward the end of her FORTY-TWO HOURS of labor. Besides, as she explained to me, the terrifying enormity of being about to give birth is softened by the shared experience of the class, by talking to other women and getting a sense that this event will, somehow, be manageable. (A similar but more personal level of support can be found by way of a doula, and when the last of those FORTY-TWO HOURS started to get very hairy, I was extremely glad that we had a talented and soothing one there with us. Her name’s Jennifer Kroll, and I’d throw her some link-love here, but she’s not doula-ing these days, because she’s gone back to school.)
I will also add this: I can’t say whether I was the smartest guy in the classroom on those days, but I am absolutely sure I wasn’t the dumbest. About a couple of the other parents in our group—well, good lord, I’m glad those people got a class in, because I would not trust them to keep a potted cactus alive, let alone an infant.