A couple of low-brow Australian television presenters severely chastised a professional sportsman for doing his job while his wife was in labor. It turns out that she gave birth some 48 hours after he played the game, the information of which was passed on to the television station by the woman concerned:
But this piece is not about two dimwit talking heads on the idiot box. Rather, it concerns this modern obsession with the idea that men must be present in the delivery room during the birth of their child. While I admire Anna Jovanovic’s pluck, I’m less enamored of her statement that a kindhearted man is in the delivery room while a selfish man is absent.
On the contrary, for the previous 40,000 years of human existence the opposite was true. This trend of the father being present has only come about in the last 40 years. So the assumption is that every father preceding the 1970s in human history has been a selfish and hateful bastard. That’s a pretty big call to make.
There is women’s business and there is men’s business. For the guys, our business is going out and fighting horrible wars where we get killed in horrible ways. For the women, their business is to push out more people so as to be able to continue with the whole human existence task. 50 years ago a husband wasn’t even allowed in the delivery room. He would be thrust out the door where he could do no harm. Mind you, 20 years ago a woman wouldn’t have got near a battlefield in a fighting role but it seems they want to break that one down as well.
You’d think with all this feminism stuff that women can do things for themselves. But apparently that doesn’t extend to the delivery room. They now need men in there and if you don’t go in society will mock you on national breakfast television. Men are cajoled into the delivery room by guilt and intimidation, which is fascinating seeing as they get no say in whether the woman aborts the child nor do they get to have custody of the children in a divorce settlement except in rare circumstances. But talk to men and the majority of them will admit that they’d rather be anywhere else at the time of the birth.
Women get a huge rush of hormones during birth, as well as all the drugs they can handle. This enables them to forget enough of the experience after the fact to allow them to do it again in the future. Men receive neither hormones nor drugs. They will remember everything that they see and hear during that period. They must bear witness to the woman they they love going through terrible agony. They can do nothing to help, and often the woman will scream at them for putting them in this situation, (although I always thought that it took two to tango).
Friends of mine who have been there get this vague 1000 yard stare when the subject comes up. They swear black and blue that it was “the greatest experience of their life”, but simple observation reveals the truth of the matter. More than one man has confided in me that he has had trouble having sex with his wife since he saw her giving birth. There was a reason that the wise mid-wives kept the blokes out.
A man’s place during the birth is with his fellow men. They should celebrate the impending arrival in an atmosphere of supporting joviality. When the news arrives of a successful outcome the proud father should make his way to the hospital to be with his wife and new child. That done he should leave them in peace and get back to the boys where the serious business of whiskey and cigars is about to begin. I am not being flippant here. This is how it was done amongst men since the dawn of time. Don’t tell me that all those fathers were bad people. The woman has all the professional support that they need in the delivery room. The father needs his own support as well.
The act of being a man with your child starts at the very beginning. Don’t stuff it up.