Many many years ago my husband and I signed up for a childbirth class for our first child. I knew nothing about having a baby (he did as he had two daughters from his first marriage) and I wanted to make sure I knew what to expect (insert laughing emoji as birth is totally, completely, and utterly different from what you expect!). I was intending to have a natural birth and have a boy.

That’s not what happened.

Before we finished the courses, I had had an emergency c-section and a girl—for more details you can read all about it here.

So were the classes worth it then? I have 5 good reasons that say yes.

Reason #1: The Friends You Will Make
Annabelle, Tanya, Lisa and I met 22 years ago at a childbirth class. So yes, the class is worth it because I got a group of friends that, 22 years later, I’m still in contact with. We have shared tears, laughter, weddings, divorces, moving houses, moving countries, loss and birth. 

But what if you’re just going to take a one-on-one class? Is it still worth it then? I still say yes.

Reason #2: Childbirth Educators Know How Amazing You Are and Our Job Is to Make You See That Too.
The moment you say that you are pregnant people want to share information with you. It almost feels like a competition to share the worst story so that you are “prepared,” for the “horror,” to come. A childbirth educator has heard all of the stories and can help you see the process of birth in a different, more positive way.

You don’t often hear the amazing stories, the tales of birth being a beautiful golden, euphoric moment and it really can be—the whole thing can be just wonderful. It doesn’t always hurt and it can be the most loving, connecting, and life-affirming time of your life. You can be so empowered and so powerful that your ferocious beauty is mouth-droppingly awesome for all who are lucky enough to see it.

Reason #3: However You Have Your Baby, a Little Preparation Goes a Long Way
I offer classes either as part of a course or a standalone session that covers one aspect such as a c-section. If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard “I’m planning a natural birth—I won’t need the induction class,” I would have a lot of pennies! Very few of us want a c-section or induction but they happen and it is worth it to be prepared for that eventuality.

Why?

Well for example, with an induction you are often confined to the bed for monitoring—how else will you know how to alleviate the sensations that you may feel and to get the baby to come a bit quicker? It’s not lay on the bed and wait, that’s for sure! But in a class, we show you how you can help your body, how to breathe, and hopefully, give you some idea of what to expect and prepare your partner.

Reason #4: Your Support Person May Not Know What to Do!
So some of the questions that I have been asked by partners in childbirth classes: How long will it take? How involved am I? Where can I get a coffee at the hospital? Should I trust her to tell me when she’s ready to head to the hospital? If her waters break in the car will they stain the seats?  When they say they can see the head—what does that mean? How will I know she’s in labor? What can I do once the baby is born? How can I keep her energy levels up? Does it matter if I’m not there all the time?

Partners have the same questions you do and a whole load that you don’t. While you are birthing your baby, they are watching and it can be pretty stressful for some people to look at someone they love going through the sensations of birth. Classes not only tell them what to expect but also give them tools to assist you as well as a better understanding of what exactly their role should be.

Reason #5: The Internet Can Be a Scary Place
The final reason to take a childbirth class is that there is a lot of information out there and not all of it is accurate or positive. It can be an overwhelming place so take your time and make sure that you are getting information that is relevant to you and your partner. Connecting with an individual trained in childbirth can really help you alleviate some of the stress that you may be feeling in the run-up to the big day. Diminishing that fear can help reduce your labor time.

You still may not get the birth that you planned for but hopefully, you will understand the process and with the aid of the education you receive in the class be able to make the best, most informed decision for you and your baby.

This post originally appeared on bahbabelle.net.