The light from the generous bay window is shining in onto a dozen anxious couples perched on mismatched sofas and chairs, more indicative of wealth somehow than matching ones would have been.
Various clutter including a child sized viola case and sheet music has been pushed into a corner to make room for us and a jolly woman in Birkenstocks has just asked us to brainstorm sources of help for new parents. We are at an NCT class is Glasgow's West End.
“Imagine you’re at the very end of your rope” says the Jolly Woman “Who would you go to for help”
It’s a sobering thought. I have worked at the CAB, however and I pride myself on knowing what to do in most situations. I think I would know what to do. In my mind I am thinking “Sure Start Centre, GP, Health visitor, Social Services”
Following my usual strategy for group activities, I do not leap in straight away with the answer. More polite to let everyone else have a go first, I think. I am immediately glad of this when Dee, a flawlessly put together veterinary surgeon, suggests hiring a night nanny. Someone else chips in with a Postnatal Doula; another person, a support group like La Leche League.
I don't add anything. I thought I had the right answer but I don’t. At least not a answer appropriate to here.
As the conversation moves on, I realise every possible source of help I was able to think of would have come with some element of social control. I look at the list now filling the flipchart paper. Not one of those would, although some of them look expensive.
Aha, I think, here is a pithy observation about the class system. Middle class people can access help without being judged.
I file it away to use later on my blog. I have no idea how pertinent the issue is about to become.