Are Parenting Classes Worthwhile?
For a first-time mother, the months leading up to the birth can be a mixture of excitement, anxiety, anticipation, wonderment — and a feeling of ignorance about what it is like to be pregnant for 9 months, give birth, and then bring up a baby. Although you may have observed others going through pregnancy, that is far from the same as experiencing it yourself, and you may well feel the need for parenting classes to get you through this new and wonderful experience.
Not everyone goes to a parenting class, either because they do not have one locally, they think they know enough to get by, or maybe even because they do not like the idea of classes of any sort. However, a pre-natal class can be a great help for many new moms, and fathers too in some locations. To help you decide if such a class is for you, here are some disadvantages and advantages of attending a pre-natal parenting class.
Disadvantages of Parenting Classes
Before looking at the many advantages of joining a parenting class, we will first consider what to some may be disadvantages.
1. Cost may be an inhibiting factor for the poor if no free local classes are available. In some countries and localities, free classes are the norm.
2. The period of a pregnancy is a fast moving and hectic time for a mom-to-be, and some feel that they do not have the time to fit in regularly weekly (or other interval) classes, preferring to just go it alone.
The Advantages of Going to Parenting Classes
Really, the advantages of pre-natal classes far outweigh the disadvantages. Here are the most obvious:
1. Bringing up a child is the most important responsibility you can have, and there is much to learn. It is better to learn in a formal, but relaxed, environment and be taught by professional and experienced personnel. That way you will build up your knowledge and confidence, be prepared for the birth and bringing up a baby, and be sure you are getting accurate information. Friends and family may be well meaning, but can pass on their own bad habits and misinformation.
For example, when my wife had swollen ankles when pregnant, a friend told her “oh, that means you’ll have a bad pregnancy and birth.” There are no parenting classes where we live, but fortunately I was able to assure my wife that was nonsense. Swollen ankles are common amongst all pregnant women, whether they have a good or bad pregnancy. My wife sailed through with no problems.
2. You will receive a lot of practical advice at a pre-natal class, such as how to change a diaper, bathing your baby, feeding and all the other basics you should be best prepared for. In some classes, you may even be taught breathing exercises to help you prepare for labor.
3. One advantage you may not have thought of in attending a parenting class is the social aspect. Many a pregnant woman has found new friends sharing the same experience, and the classes will provide that experience. That extra support may well be a great boost for you, and the new friend, and you could become friends for life. That often happens, both during pregnancy and when first taking a child to kindergarten.
On balance parenting classes are to be recommended for new mothers. Knowledge is never a bad thing, but lack of knowledge can be.