Saturday, February 4, 2012

What I learned in a Japanese parenting class

So today Kathryn and I went to the Birth Clinic for a Parenting Class. We weren't quite sure what to expect and were a little nervous since the whole class was going to be all in Japanese. We wanted to go to so that we could learn more and so that we could meet some new friends around our community.

We gradually learned that most of the material was meant for the Fathers, which was interesting since the class was labeled as a parents class

It began with the head doctor giving a speech about what to expect, what the first stages of labor feel like, and when to go to the hospital. We then watched a video produced by the National Japanese Broadcasting company about the importance of Fathers speaking to the baby while it is still inside the womb. It was then scientifically demonstrated how much the baby can hear whats being said outside the womb by making a test subject swallow a small microphone. The Japanese are very thorough! They also showed how even at a very young age, a baby will respond in a special way to his or her dad.

After the video, us men all got to take turns wearing the "empathy belly'. Many laughs were had when grown men were putting on the suit. It didn't matter what language you spoke, it is universally funny to see a man wearing one of these things.

Then it was my turn.

They first wrapped a Velcro band around my chest, simulating the tightness of a woman's chest during pregnancy.

Then came the suit! I couldn't believe how heavy it was, my hat is off to you ladies.

After they put the maternity shirt on me, they made me take REQUESTS from Kathryn. So Kathryn being the loving wife she is made sure to let me get the full "experience".

I had to reach for things on the floor, lay down on my back, march up and down the stairs, get up and down from chairs. If I didn't know better I would have thought Kathryn's old job was a drill sergeant.

I think Kathryn was going to have me start doing some push-ups, thank goodness the time was up and I got to take the suit off.

What was great about this class is that it was all geared towards Fathers and the important role a father has in the life of his soon to be child. Many Fathers are closed off and distant from their children in Japan, and it was great to see how this Christian Clinic engaged the hearts of these men.

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