We've discovered an amazing set of classes for pregnant women and their partners and interviewed the two women who created them. Besides being informative, the classes are an ingenious exercise in themselves for making new mama friends. Trust us, you will be glad you learned about The Parent Collective - read on!
1) What is The Parent Collective?
The Parent Collective (TPC) is a new take on parenting classes that will not only provide you with the information you need to get through delivery and have a successful transition home with your new little one, but offer the added benefits of a new social network to lean on long after the classes have ended.
The Parent Collective prenatal series consists of four, two-hour classes (held once a week for 4 weeks) with 8-12 couples in each class. The classes are best for couples in their late second or third trimester. Each week couples learn about a new topic from respective healthcare experts in a relaxed, discussion-led format.
The curriculum is as follows:
Week 1 – Labor and Delivery
Week 2 – Pain Management and Relaxation
Week 3 – Breast and Bottle Feeding
Week 4 – Newborn Care
2) What inspired you to start The Parent Collective classes?
Melissa and I both benefitted from a prenatal class series in the UK called The National Childbirth Trust (NCT). The NCT has been around for over 60 years and is the preeminent prenatal class across the UK. It has had such sustained success because it provides couples support along with education. By sorting all of their participants by neighborhood and due date couples make friends within their community who are having babies at the same time as they are.
I had both of my boys in London and Melissa had her daughter there before having her son in CT. We met when our kids were in preschool and talked about our shared experience of NCT classes and couldn't believe that there wasn't any prenatal classes that offered soon-to-be parents a similar experience. When I was first pregnant, friends told me it was a must to sign up for NCT classes because that was where I would meet all of my ‘mummy’ friends. We hope TPC gains a similar reputation.
My only complaint about the NCT classes was that they were very agenda-driven. All instruction was pro-natural childbirth and pro-breastfeeding and if you hoped for a different experience, you felt a bit left out or judged. We made a conscious choice to present TPC classes in a judgement-free format so that anyone, no matter what their birth plan or parenting style, feel like they have a place to learn, ask questions and meet friends.
3) What makes it different?
Classes are grouped by neighborhood and due date, so you’ll be in a class with couples who both live near you and are delivering around the same time.
The Parent Collective is different from other childbirth education classes in that it openly aims to foster a new social network through the class, gather new baby friends for their little ones and provide a new parent support system after the classes have ended.
We are constantly banging on about how important it is to have a group of new parents to call on who are in the same stage of sleep deprivation as you. By making these friends before babies arrive, our parents have a group of friends to call on from day one, which is invaluable! Not only that, but they don’t have to stress about meeting new people on top of managing the day-to-day of adjusting to life with a baby.
One other important point to make is that our classes are judgment-free, which means that all are welcome and included, regardless of their birth or parenting preferences.
4) Why do you want birthing partners to join?
Often partners feel as though the pregnancy is happening only to the mother and they can feel a bit isolated or separated from the journey. We see our classes as an opportunity to bring partners into the fold – opening up a dialogue about how they will parent together and provide the partner with supportive roles both in the hospital and once they return home.
5) Do you have any stories from past participants that have stayed with you?
There are so many! Here are two that have made an impact on us:
In one of our early classes, a couple discussed the mom’s birth preference of not wanting an episiotomy. Their facilitator stressed to our dads and partners that they play a crucial role in the hospital as advocate for mom. She made the point that mom will be exhausted and emotional and she will need her partner to look out for her. We spoke with that couple after their baby was born and the mom relayed that when she was in labor, the doctor began stressing to her that she needed to help the baby along and was pushing her to have an episiotomy. Initially she made her preferences clear but she said that she was feeling vulnerable and eventually caved. Her husband then stepped in, knowing that his role was to advocate for her and convinced the doctor to wait. She ended up not needing any assistance on that front and she was so grateful that he knew how to handle that situation.
Another couple reached out to us after the class to say that they appreciated our classes as much for what wasn’t in them as what was covered. Prior to ours, they had attended another prenatal class focused only on labor and delivery, which was a one-day marathon session. After sitting for 8 hours, they left feeling shell-shocked! They had so much information thrown at them, which was impossible to process. After having experienced TPC classes they appreciated the pared down nature of our curriculum. We don’t give every medical detail or every possible scenario. Couples aren’t forced to watch a birth video - the goal isn’t to become an expert on giving birth. One of our facilitators said it best when she told her class that she doesn’t expect them to take notes and learn every point she makes but rather when they get to the hospital and the doctor mentions something, it isn’t the first time they are hearing the term and as a result they feel calmer and more in control. That is our goal at the end of the day – we want our couples to feel empowered because they had their questions answered in a relaxed way that didn’t create a whole new range of questions and anxieties.
And for mothers near Greenwich, CT check out their launch party on March 8th! We'll be there with Mia Tango introducing some of our spring & summer collection. Invite below:
Thanks ladies for creating such a wonderful community for mothers to be!
xoxo, Teat & Cosset