NCT and me
For me Nct was a no-brainer as we'd recently moved to a new area, knew very few people locally - none with kids - and it was our first baby so I felt like I had some serious learning and friend making to do.
I remember being rather astounded at how expensive it was, then came the befuddlement about which dates to do, as typically none fell between the weeks pregnant they recommend. But I lied about the cost to Chris and I went for the earlier course to be super prepared, and boy am I glad I did.
I totally see how it's got to be either a really useful bunch of information or some gal pals at the other end, otherwise all you'd have to show for it is a reaffirmed fear of plastic dolls whose eyes close, super moody husbands and the unwavering memory of the first time you saw quite how big and wobbly a placenta really is (Chris nearly fainted, honestly).
I, however, was lucky. Despite a questionable start of 'introduce yourself with your name and a word that will help people remember your name' - and no the Korean word for garden will NOT help me remember that you're called David! We realised quickly that we had a good bunch, hell I even had the same coat on as one of them, that's a sign right?
After a couple of sessions numbers had been swapped, WhatsApp mums, dads, both and our lifesaver nocturnal mums group were up and running and the polite chit chat commenced.
The men's WhatsApp message history still makes me chuckle. Its basically a series of birth announcements and the same dad consistently saying congratulations on your new baby [insert wrong sex here]. And then all the other dads being too polite to point it out. I swear he still thinks Etta is a chap.
For me Nct told me things that I could have read, but in an environment where I could ask questions to real people and allay my fears there and then, as supposed to the terrifying rabbit warren that is Google + hormones. Our teacher was a doula and hypnobirthing teacher, who had suffered from pnd and was extremely honest about the breadth of challenges that birth and beyond could bring.
I did however leave thinking that I was going to flat out refuse anything other than gas and air, certainly having none of that heroin stuff, was definitely going for a water birth and would easily breath the baby out. The reality of labour for me was the exact opposite: all the heroin (or diamorphine to give it its more socially acceptable name) all the surgery and not much of the breathing. But there's always next time right?...
Anyway, my point was going to be that I am very aware of how lucky I was to attend my particular nct course with those particular women. Only last week we all went for pizza, and if a month goes by without hanging out its unusual. It's also been instrumental in the inception and reality of Etta Loves. My designer is from our group, I took another nct friend to playtime paris as she provides invaluable support in both prototyping new products and general errands when work work stops me getting shit done. All the babies were in the first product shots, and our consultant orthoptist Laura is an nct friend of an nct friend. So without it I'm not sure I'd have a website to be wittering on on.
I have of course heard many stories of people hating either the content of nct or feeling judgment, a lot of which will be teacher dependant. And also not bonding with the other parents in the group is very common, but if you find one friend to message at 2am when you can't stop your baby crying, or when you don't know whether a rash is that rash or just heat rash then it might just be worth the dosh.
So whilst I can't be 100% certain that we would all be friends had we met independently, I do know that I owe a lot of my sanity to those girls, and will be eternally grateful for their love, support and the part they played in the future of Etta Loves.