When I first came up with the idea of Bump and Baby Club, I knew that the success of it would depend on one crucial factor: being able to find brilliant antenatal instructors.
In all honesty, I wasn’t sure it would be possible. I had read plenty of negative press about antenatal classes, and the classes I took when pregnant with my first baby confirmed much of what I’d read.
So I embarked on an epic search for instructors, half expecting my Bump and Baby Club dreams to collapse during the process.
I spoke to dozens of new parents about their experience at antenatal classes and gathered leads, recommendations and suggestions. I spoke at length to instructors and watched them in action at their classes. I learnt that there’s a huge variety of teaching out there and a ton of mixed opinion but, to my delight, I discovered that great antenatal instructors actually do exist!
Our clients have widely differing ideas of what they want for themselves and their babies: elective c-sections, home births, pain relief, no pain-relief and different styles of parenting are all in the mix. Some people have already made a decision not to breastfeed, while others are passionate about making breastfeeding work at all costs. Some people are exceptionally squeamish (often men!), others are doctors and surgeons. Many have no set plans or preconceived ideas.
Great antenatal instructors (like the ones I think we have!) are able to make their classes relevant and valuable to everyone in the group, delivering evidence-based information whilst being sensitive to all the different preferences, personalities and opinions.
They are not only experts in their field, they’re also masters of communication, constantly treading the thin line between building people’s confidence / lessening their fears, and giving them a realistic and honest idea of the harsher side of labour, birth and parenting.
Our antenatal classes are more than just education – they’re a sociable learning experience and it’s up to the instructors to set the tone and create an atmosphere where people feel they can contribute, ask questions without being judged and, importantly, have fun.
I have enormous respect for the Bump and Baby Club instructors who negotiate all of the above so brilliantly and effortlessly. They are a truly lovely bunch of people who care deeply about their clients’ well-being and feel honoured to be a small part of their journey into parenthood!
I feel very lucky to have each one of them on the team.