NCT saved, my sanity, gave me a purpose, gave me confidence, and I have been very grateful for my time with The National Childbirth Trust.
This week has seen a tirade of NCT bashing in the press, supposedly too middle class, pushing natural birth down peoples throats, and inaccessible to many.
Well I am definitely NOT middle Class, the classes I teach start at £14, and I support couples having EVERY type of birth and pain relief going- here is my NCT Story....
I decided not to do NCT classes when I was pregnant, I didn't know it was different to the NHS Classes, and I heard the horror stories of midwives passing forceps and other scary equipment around, and I didn't want to do that! How wrong I was - but luckily I made friends with another group of NCT buddies I met at Pregnancy Yoga.
Our Pregnancy Yoga teacher nudged me to do something with all the research I'd done so I google search 'careers in childbirth' and narrowed down the choices to Antenatal Teacher or Midwifery, well I didn't want to be away training 40+hours per week with a small child at home so Antenatal Teaching seemed perfect for me, and no training came close to the NCT University Diploma - and so my journey began.
NCT Funded the majority of my training and I volunteered for the local NCT Branch in Oldham - setting up one of the first NCT Sling Libraries and running coffee mornings I was learning and developing so much with support from local volunteers and my tutorial group I attended once a month with my baby with me the whole time.
The groups attracted lots of different parents, with many different approaches to parenting, and different birth experiences - it didn't matter everyone was welcome and we supported each other.
Meanwhile my personal life was very difficult, my marriage broke down, and I realised how abusive it had become.
I really don't know what I would of done during the next year or 2 if it hadn't been for NCT - it was an absolute Beacon of Light in my life - working towards something positive, for the first time in my adult life feeling passionate about something, not simply drifting. I gained so much confidence and strength from my fellow volunteers, and students - it never occurred to me that this was a 'middle class' charity everyone I've ever met through NCT (or almost) have been nothing but friendly, welcoming, supportive, and passionate about support ALL parents.
Things have changed so much in the last 6 years - here I am now a fully qualified NCT Teacher, I KNOW I make a difference to local people - empowering them to make their own decisions, still feeling the same passion I did at the beginning, knowing there is still lots of room for improvement, and striving to improve every day - BUT.....
.... The lessons I learned in my first couple of essays still stick with me - UNBIASED SUPPORT for every Woman and Man who come to my classes. Long may NCT continue