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It takes a village...

I guess you can take the measure of a society any number of ways. Here's one.

Setting aside all of the biological, physiological, and medical knowledge that six weeks of Lamaze class crammed into my head, the thing that really struck me was the focus on the nuclear family. Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad and a bunch of nurses having this baby.

I grew up in an extended family. We were a very localized bunch. ashacat and I live in our hometown, as do our parents and our siblings. We have a community of friends who are also engaged and interested in the arrival of our child.

Two people seems like a narrow set of pillars on which to rest this whole thing -- you know, pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. I feel like we have a broad foundation; and we are taking it further, having recruited a dear friend to join us as a second "labor coach". (All three of us are Virgos. We make a very effective team. Manchester hospital may never be the same.) However, I know that we are not the norm.

I know that adulthood for most people means moving away from home. Many settle near their colleges. Many just follow the jobs. Tens of thousands inexplicably move to Phoenix and Las Vegas. For whatever their reasons, they move. They move away from kith and kin. They move away from that familial support network.

I should not be surprised that Lamaze class reflects this most common facet of American life.

But I don't have to like it.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 28th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
Kin staying close
In our family within 30 miles 12 people
second ring add 14 plus another 60 or so just first cousins at 70 Miles
having family close is a great thing-- enjoy it
Dec. 28th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Kin staying close
You, of course, have a layer on your SDE server with all of your family plotted...! :-)
Dec. 28th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
Couldn't stand even thinking about taking the class the 3rd time around - too many strangers for learning about something so personal and intimate (and THIS from an extrovert! lol) so we took a hypnotherapy class instead (and were the only one to sign up).

I think asking that dear friend to join is an amazing invite and will give you all a time you'll all talk about forevermore.
Dec. 28th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
too many strangers for learning about something so personal and intimate

The group we were in (nine couples) was ... well, everyone was pretty 'down to business'; there were a lot of good questions and it seemed like everyone had come to class knowing at least 'Bio 101'. I think the setting (at the instructor's home, in her basement family room) helped make it less intimidating. And the instructor herself. I think we really got lucky.

Did you find hypnotherapy helpful?
Dec. 28th, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
Your class sounds like the right mix of students and the setting is great. We took our first two kids' classes at MMH and they were too large - our mistake - rectified the last time.

Yes, I found the class helpful (aside from the hilarity that skeptic scientist husband is easily hypnotized and was made a believer) because it contributed to helping keep me moderately calm in what turned out to be quite a dramatic birth for #3 and me. That's another story for when you're both past your upcoming event....you should hear nothing but positive reinforcement right now. :)

I believe that in a "normal" birth setting, it could be quite helpful. We took it because we were bored with the prospect of taking another of the same classes, and I wanted something to help with pain management and goal focus.
Dec. 31st, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)
It's an interesting point. My sweetheart moved with me to Atlanta and became the one member of his extended family living outside Illinois (with a few exceptions in St. Louis, but according to them, that's still Illinois). We are also accepted as the couple who will not be having kids. I wonder if we would have stayed had our plans been different in that regard. I probably would have wanted to stay.

I know that I've spent a good portion of the last 8 months hoping to get one of my coworkers to move back to her family as she deals with her rather difficult pregnancy... a month and a half of bedrest is bad enough, but she would have been better off with a wider support network.

It is excellent that you have the network and you recognize its value. Three Virgos in one hospital room, though? I am sure we will hear the sonic boom down here.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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