The Morning Report
Subscribe now. Get smarter tomorrow.
Friday, March 24, 2006 | Parentally Incorrect
A friend of mine who is going to have a baby this summer recently asked me if he and his wife should take a birthing class.
I answered with an affirmative yes and told him that the class brought my wife and me closer together.
He asked me, “was that because the information helped you understand what your wife is going through?” I told him, honestly, no. But we had a great time making fun of the other couples.
One of the hidden highlights of a birthing class is to zero in on what types of parents to avoid once your child is old enough to socialize. It’s been three years since my wife and I took the class and we still have code words and catch phrases based on who we met.
Apparently, we’re not alone. We’ve since met lots of young couples who have developed a mutual enjoyment of each other based on the sneering remarks made about the other couples while driving home from their birthing class.
Although every annoying expectant couple is annoying in their own unique way, they tend to fall into five different types (hence the headline).
“Doulas” are the people who strongly believe in natural childbirth and even more fervently believe in cloth diapers. Many a birthing class has been slowed to a halt while “Doula Mom” and “Doula Daddy” hold court about the benefits of cloth diapers and the evils of disposable diapers.
I believe the exact quote the Doula Mom said was, “A thousand years from now, they won’t be digging up MY son’s diapers.”
They may have a point about the terrible problem of diapers but they ignore an even bigger problem: Using nothing but cloth diapers guarantees your child will be nicknamed “Skid” by daycare workers.
“Sharers” are the people who’ve done lots and lots of research before taking the birthing class and feel it’s their duty to share their information with the rest of the class.
For instance, the instructor will say something like, “Sometimes you can get intense contractions that start weeks before the birth and then stop” and the “sharers” will say, “We’ve read that this is especially common with the Uburanga tribe in Berundi and they call this occurrence ‘Katushti,’ which means ‘lots of phantom contractions weeks before the birth.”‘
“Repeaters” are folks who’ve probably had more kids than the instructor and could probably teach the class themselves. They can be annoying, especially when the teacher says something and they butt in, “That’s not what you said last time,” but they do have some cogent advice.
For instance, during birthing class, they ask the couples to bring in something that can be used as a focal point during the breathing exercises, such as a stuffed animal or picture of William Hung.
My wife and I once forgot to bring our “focal point” so we tried to make do with an empty bag of Fritos. I feared this might hurt our chances of passing the birthing class but the “repeater mom” next to me eased my conscience by saying, “To tell you the truth, once those contractions start coming, she’ll be in so much pain that she’ll probably yell, scream or throw somethin’ if you tell her to look at the focal point.”
And it was good advice too. Still, we have our Frito bag saved in a special place and I look forward to showing it to Alex one day and saying, “I tried to get your mom to stare at this while you were being born.”
The next couple you see in a Birthing class isn’t really a couple. It’s the “Teenage Pregnant Mom.” Usually, a birthing class lasts for four once a week sessions. Sadly, the teenage future mom never brings the same person with her to each class. One week, it’s her friend. The next, it’s her mom and after that it’s her cousin. But one person who never attends is the baby’s father.
Finally, there’s the “Couple Where the Guy Who Asks Stupid Questions.” A teacher once tried to tell me, “There are no stupid questions,” and I’ve been trying to prove her wrong ever since.
Strangely, it’s only the guys who ask the stupid questions. Women in birthing class tend to be sensible. If they had only been that sensible when they got together with the guy who got them pregnant.
But stupidity has many forms. Some guys are cranky that they’re missing SportsCenter so they ask the teacher, “Are we your favorite class?” while others say things like, “I’m really into herbs. How soon after the baby is born can I give it Echinacea?” or “I forgot the focal point. Can I use this empty Frito bag instead?”
Of course, my favorite stupid question came from the guy who asked, “Are we going look at pictures of baby feces to see what kinds of food they eat?”
My wife still hasn’t forgiven me.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer whose wife will have given birth to their second child, Owen Brian Moye, by the time you read this. He can be reached at