We had the first of our antenatal classes last night; something that I was dreading. I’ve always struggled with these types of group learning, whether it be school, University, evening creative writing classes or work training sessions. Being within a group of people who I don’t know (and are therefore unable to trust) is just one of them. But it’s also the pressure you often feel to have to say something important.
I’ve never been the most vocal of people, or at least not instantly. I like to think about things carefully, go over all the pros and cons and more often than not come down somewhere right in the middle of any argument. So, when people ask what I think, or whether I have anything more to contribute, I rarely have anything to say, usually because it’s already been said by someone else, but also because I’m still unsure.
Having gone there with deep reservations I found that it wasn’t quite as bad as I was thinking. No more participation was required than you wanted to give, and of course I had my wife’s hand to hold. The other factor was that most of the information is directed towards the mother anyway and so the focus is somewhat away from me.
The demographics were fascinating to me though, and I think an antenatal class can tell you a lot about an area. There were six couples, all of whom were married, and two single women. Of the couples, none were a White British pairing and neither of the single women was British either.
That there are multiracial and multinational couples in London is not too much of a surprise, but the fact that all the couples were married was a big surprise to me. Marriage is making some kind of a comeback at the moment, and for many reasons the ideals of marriage are a big news item too.
As a natural cynic I can’t help thinking that most people are getting married because they like the idea of a big showpiece occasion rather than thinking about the years and decades that come after. But perhaps I’m wrong.
Perhaps in a world where things change so quickly and so dramatically, where information is available at the drop of a hat, where progression and year on year improvement is the ultimate desire, this world that is now incredibly unreliable and scary is making people latch on to something can give them constancy. And whether you are two men, two women or a man and a woman, what else can give you that social constancy as a marriage?
It’s a somewhat romantic thought I guess, but I’d love to look at data correlating number of marriages with social upheaval.
I’ve been writing more poems lately since starting up my new blog. It’s helped to have a bit more of an outlet. I’m thinking of sending some out into competitions too, not that I’ve ever done that well with them in the past, but it’s pointless to give up. Of course Valentine’s Day always provides a poem requirement, and I think my wife was satisfied with this year’s effort. I was too in fact.