Another day, another training session on bringing our child into the world. Today was the start of our hypnobirthing course, which sadly is closer to NLP than to a man with a top hat, a moustache and a shiny watch on the end of a chain.

The idea behind hypnobirthing is that you remain calm and relaxed throughout birth, rather than grunting and screaming while a bunch of people alternately yell at you and pump you full of drugs. One argument for this is that birth should be in a similar environment to conception. I’ve watched enough films to think it is highly unlikely that childbirth occurs after a man comes round to deliver a pizza/fix your plumbing/install cable TV, but as I’ve said again and again, I’m not medically qualified. Then again, I don’t think I’d have knocked my wife up if there had been five nurses and an anaestheologist in the room. I’m not some sort of pervert.

The first part of the course was a couple of videos of hypnobirthing, which are very dull to watch, because there’s a woman sitting in bed not doing anything, and then a baby comes out. Yes, I know you don’t want drama, but still, it doesn’t look like anything terribly exciting.

On the other hand, there were free biscuits to eat and I could sit for hours watching a video of a woman breathing if there were baked goods provided. We did a few breathing and visualization exercises and then I ate some more biscuits.

Years of meditation and mental focus mean I’m quite good at breathing (I can levitate computer generated images of a chair by thought alone) but a lack of either imagination or memory make visualizing things more difficult. On the positive side I don’t remember many negative things, but oblivion is more accessible than some ideal happiest most peaceful time of my life.

Fortunately, the things we had to visualize were much simpler than that; balloons and lemons, neither of which are immediately linked to babies, the delivery of, but all will be revealed in time.

All the attendees were first time parents except for one couple, who pointed out something I hadn’t really considered before: that babies are very, very boring for the first few weeks of their lives. They don’t react to you, they don’t do anything interesting, they just eat and shriek and shit.

Although some people may think that’s a great Friday night, I’m not one of them. Still, until you can adopt a twenty-five year old, there’s little hope that your kids will provide scintillating conversation in their first years. Unless all that reading to my wife’s bump has made a difference, of course.

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