The One About The Breastfeeding Evangelist.

By and large, our antenatal classes have been great, as long as you can overlook a couple of small annoyances here and there.  I (jay) don’t expect *anyone* has a perfect antenatal experience, anyway.  Certainly, some of the people in our class aren’t having a great time; there’s the woman who looks like she’s going to pass out in fear every time blood is mentioned, the woman who asks 100 questions every time; not to mention the couple who dropped out because of pre-eclampsia and may or may not have had their baby by now… and the other couple who mysteriously vanished without trace. Who knows.

But nothing could have prepared us for the Breastfeeding Evangelist Experience of last week. We arrived a little late, and were slightly confused to see that our teacher hadn’t arrived – although everyone else was seated – because she’s very punctual, so it was unusual. We knew it was going to be a session on breastfeeding, but had forgotten that someone else was going to be taking it.

All of a sudden, this fiftysomething woman swept into the room, talking continuously as she took off her coat, unloaded her boxes and wrote on the board. She reminded me a bit of one of those women who are a lot older than they look (lucky them), who tend to pop up on early morning TV and enthusiastically and effortlessly do aerobics, cheerfully bellowing things like “COME ON GIRLS! BUMS OUT AND KNEES UP!” … except she was a bit more fierce and serious. Get the picture?

Without pausing for breath or asking if anyone wanted a drink (we did), the B.E. launched into the session. I should point out here that vee and I are totally FOR breastfeeding, but if we hadn’t been, the B.E. may have scared us off completely.

I’m sure she meant well, but jeesh. She talked nineteen to the dozen. She wouldn’t discuss or listen to alternative views on the subject. She made us breastfeed teddies and dolls (unfortunately, we missed out on the one with the crazy dyke haircut).  She bit people’s heads off if they so much as suggested considering an option she thought was a bad idea.  She dismissed a lovely bloke’s question about how he could wake up in the night and let his wife sleep through, because he was foolish enough not to realise she would wake up ANYWAY – huh! – silly him(!)  And everything she said was peppered with “phone me!” or “give me a call!” – as in “If you can’t do whatever, phone me and I will help you do it.”

In short, the B.E. made breastfeeding sound like a highly skilled art that only SHE knew about. She even went as far as  to say our parents and friends wouldn’t be worth listening to, because they were unlikely to know as much as she did. Great.

The worst bit for me, apart from the fact that she went 45 minutes overtime (bear in mind the session was held from 7-9pm on a Friday night!), was the fact that she didn’t acknowledge I was a mother at all, throughout. She didn’t even acknowledge I was a parent – it was all “Mum and Dad”, “Mum is God”, “Mother and Father”, “Dad must do everything in his power to help Mum to breastfeed”, “Mum”, “Dad”, “Mum”, “Dad”,  yadda yadda. I think the most offensive part was when she said, “Fathers…” and then looked over at me and vee and added, “and partners…” OK great, so I’m only a partner, now, am I? Kind of like a bystander? How come everyone else gets to be Mum or Dad and I get my own special P-word? If I hadn’t been so darn tired and overwhelmed, I’d have raised the issue, but really, I didn’t have the energy.

When we finally finished – thanks to someone lying that they had to leave because they had an arrangement to attend to – I asked vee if she would be phoning the B.E. if she had any breastfeeding problems.

She looked at me as if I’d just suggested she stick her head in the freezer, and said “No.”

xx jay

PS:  If you have made it all the way to the end of this post, you are rewarded with a shiny new BELLY SHOT (yes, Gypsy, for you) – though of course it is not 35 days until our EDD now; it is 32. Yikes.

PPS: Yayyyy for Addison‘s arrival!


13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Att on February 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    ZHOLY COW B.E. is NUTS!! I am not looking forward to such classes as Fil and I have decided on pumping as to bottle feed. I’m afraid when we finally get ’round to having our baby La Leche is going to jump out from behind a shrub and tear us to bits.

    And I must say.. EEEEEEE at Vee’s belly. HELLO LITTLE BB!!


  2. The belly looks GREAT! Sorry for your stupid instructor. That sounds really awful 😡


  3. Posted by wishinghopingpraying on February 9, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    EEEW! What a dreadful woman, so sorry you had that experience!


  4. Posted by reproducinggenius on February 9, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    What a fantastic belly shot! Vee and BB are looking so lovely!

    B.E., on the other hand, sounds like a lunatic. I wouldn’t call her either. In fact, I might have had a hard time staying in the room not mentioning to her that she is a frightening and dreadful human being. Congratulations to the both of you for keeping your composure through that!


  5. perhaps you will want to mention it to your regular instructor, if you liked her. this woman should know that the person she has coming in to her class is a nightmare. what a beast! love the belly shot!


  6. Posted by docgrumbles on February 10, 2009 at 3:40 am

    breastfeeding is hard… but the supposed “experts” can make it so much worse! What is the deal? I was overjoyed when the lactation consultant from the hospital stopped calling me because all she ever did was make me feel guilty for not getting it perfect.


  7. you are stronger than i am. i would have been very annoyed and probably would have said something…..

    that being said, i applaud you for sitting through it all!! AND, by the way, friends and family can sometimes have some very good advice! boo-urns to the EXPERT! i really believe BF is a learning experience…those first few days and weeks are hard….but you just ‘play around’ with it and learn what works best for YOU. it gets easier too, that i promise you!! so glad you are going to do it though…

    loving the belly shot….that BB is looking mighty good!!! AND vee, but that goes without saying!

    love to you both!


  8. Lord, what a mess of a session. Good things she’s not your regular teacher!

    The belly is progressing nicely!


  9. thanks for sharing your painfully long experience. your telling of it all made me chuckle a whole hell of a lot.


  10. sooo annoying! we took our daughter to a big sister class and had the same experience. the “teacher” addressed the moms and dads about 500 times and never once used the words “parents” which would have been an obvious easy solution. i gave birth to our first so that probably made it a bit easier for me to take but i still wanted badly to say something but it didn’t seem worth the energy. we were surprised that our daughter didn’t say anything actually!

    congrats to you guys, looking forward to seeing your little one in a month!!


  11. That is a lovely belly shot. That was not a lovely class. Of all the people to select as a teacher!


  12. YOWZERS!!!
    But swooning over the new belly shot! You look great!


  13. Posted by gypsygrrl on February 14, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    oooooh such a gorgeous belly shot!!!
    is it really going to be a year until i can come visit you and BB???
    i am sorry i have been kind of MIA… i think of you all daily…

    loveyou all,


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