Monday, February 6, 2012

Preconception classes

So I’m reading the paper the other day and run across this story about a new birthing center that they’re planning to build here in town.  The term ‘birthing center’ was not a familiar one to me, so I read on, hoping to enlighten myself on the details.  The article began to describe the services offered, and the very first thing they mentioned is that it would provide preconception classes.  Well, there was something that grabbed my immediate attention.  Preconception classes.  Now there's an idea whose time has come.  There was a contact number listed with the story, and in my excitement I immediately reached for the phone to give them a call.  Anything that had to with preconceiving was something I had to look into. 

I dialed the number and spoke with a kind woman named Mindy who works for the foundation that’s building the new center.  The following is a word-for-word transcription of our conversation.    

Mindy:  Hello, thanks for calling the Inner Child Foundation.  My name is Mindy.  How can I help you?

Me:  Hi, Mindy.  My name is Kevin, and I’m very interested in signing up for one of your preconception classes.

Mindy:  Oh, that’s wonderful!  I’m so glad you called.  We’d be happy to help you out with that.

Me: That is so good to hear! You don’t know how long I’ve been trying to do something about it.   

Mindy:  Well, we’re here to help.  Would you like to go ahead and schedule your class now?

Me:  Sure, that’d be great. 

Mindy:  Okay, then…Your last name, Kevin?

Me:  Thorson. T-H-O-R-S-O-N… as in ‘Son of Thor.’

Mindy:  Oh?  You know what, I just saw that movie Thor on dvd a few weeks ago.  I don’t normally like those kind of movies, but it was actually pretty good.  Have you seen it?

Me:  Yeah, I’m a kind of a sucker for superhero movies.  I liked it too.

Mindy:  You did?  That’s great.  Now, Mr. Thorson, I need to get a little more information from you.  About your partner, actually.  May I ask if you’re married?

Me:  (confused) Um… well, I am married, but… Look, I think I should tell you, even though my family name is Thorson, I honestly don’t look anything like Thor, or even Chris Hemsworth.  In fact, if anything, I bear a much stronger physical resemblance to Loki… except he’s much taller, and he wears that curly horn thing on his head … I’m sorry, the question’s kind of confusing me…

Mindy:  Oh, no, I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to give the impression that I was asking about your personal life because I was… (laughs nervously) interested.  I just need to know a few things for the classes you asked about.  The preconception classes? 

Me:  (somewhat relieved) Oh…

Mindy: So, can I have your wife’s name?

Me:  Well, it’s Elizabeth.  But I’m still a little confused about why you would need to know that…

Mindy:  I’m sorry, I just assumed that she would be attending with you.

Me:   Oh.  That seems kind of strange…

Mindy:  It does?

Me:  (laughs) Hey, I guess you could say that you’re guilty of preconceiving that my wife would be coming with me.  Well, I hope you’re not the one teaching those preconception classes.

Mindy:  Excuse me?

Me:  That was just a joke. 

Mindy:  Ohhhhh.  That was funny (slight laugh).

Me:  Well, Elizabeth definitely has some issues when it comes to preconceiving. I mean, who doesn’t, right?  Does she have to come?  

Mindy:  Oh no, it’s not required or anything.  It’s just that we don’t often see men come in by themselves.

Me:  Really?  Huh, I wonder why that is, although I have noticed that many women do seem to have major problems with preconceiving, no offense.  I just didn’t realize the ratio was that overwhelming.  I suppose men just have a harder time seeking help. 

Mindy:  Well, I’m not sure, but if your wife can’t make it, don’t worry.  And may I just say, it’s totally refreshing to see a man take such an interest in his wife’s well-being.

Me:  Oh, I do.  I really do.  But, did I give the wrong impression?  I mean, I love my wife, but I can’t really do her work for her, can I?  She’s got to deal with this when she’s ready.  I’m really interested in preconception classes just for myself. 

Mindy:  Oh? Well, that is highly unusual, but still very admirable.  And I’m sure you’ll find the classes very informative. 

Me:  I hope so.  I’ve been preconceiving for a long time now, years really, and I would just love to be free of them, once and for all.

Mindy:  Oh, I know how frustrating it can feel, but please, don’t do that!  We here at the Foundation emphasize the critical importance of preconception planning.  We really believe that everybody should preconceive carefully.    

Me:  Hold on a second.  You plan your preconceptions?  I don’t get it.  How does planning your preconceptions help?  You almost sound like you think preconceiving is a good thing.

Mindy:  It is!  Our foundation believes it’s one of the most important things you can do. 

Me:  What?  So the purpose of these classes is to encourage preconceptions?

Mindy:  Yes, absolutely.  I’m very sorry if you thought differently.

Me:  Well, quite frankly, I did.  I’m sorry, but I can’t support that.  Huh, that’s a switch.  I guess one of my preconceptions was that these classes would be about getting rid of preconceptions, not how to get more of them.   Great, now I have to add another one to my list.

Mindy:  Your list of what?

Me:  Preconceptions, of course.  I was so hopeful that you might be able to help me lose the ones I had, and instead I end up with more…

Mindy:  Wait, you thought you were signing up for a class about dealing with preconceptions, which are those ideas, opinions and attitudes we form based on incomplete or unreliable information, and not about preparing to have a baby?

Me:  That’s right.  I saw the article in the paper about the new birthing center your foundation is building, and then I saw that you planned to offer preconception classes, and, well… I got excited.  I didn’t read any further than that.  Aw, nuts.  I was really looking forward to getting rid of my preconceptions.

Mindy:  But it said we’re building a birthing center.  How could you think it wouldn’t have something to do with babies… and birthing… and babies?

Me:  I don’t know.  I guess I just figured it was some kind of New Age, hug-yourself term, ‘birthing center.’ You know, somewhere you can go to be ‘reborn’ or whatever they do.  You call yourselves the “Inner Child Foundation,” don’t you? You mean it’s not New Age?

Mindy:  Actually, it’s just a cute way to refer to an unborn baby.

Me:  What a letdown this is…

Mindy:  I’m so sorry to disappoint you.  Our foundation’s focus is strictly on optimizing the health of both mother and baby throughout the process of planning to become pregnant, pregnancy, and delivery.   

Me:  Well, I suppose there’s a need for that too.  You know, you should really answer the phone that way.  It would save the unsuspecting public a lot of heartbreak.  Now I’m completely depressed.

Mindy:  Depressed?  Mr. Thorson, I do have the number for a place that specializes in depression.  Would you like it?

Me:  No thanks.  I’d probably spend ten minutes on the phone with them before I found out they only help poodles or something.  

Mindy:  I’m so sorry we couldn’t help you with your problem…

Me:  I’ll keep trying.  Thanks anyway.


And so the search continues…


  1. Some people will go a long way to prove a punchline. Whew!

  2. Hutton - Left you kind of breathless, did it? I've been known to have that effect on people. Just sit down, put your head between your legs, and try to breathe slowly. In no time, you'll forget how much time you wasted on this nonsense and you'll be good as new.