I’ve heard the stories, heard the screams. I’ve gazed upon the cradled babies in the nursery ward. Giving birth is an amazing feat of zero skill, and it still amazes me. It amazes me that this is the epitome, the pinnacle, the supposed female trump card to all male accomplishments. A man lands on the moon with analogue technology and proves Galileo’s theory of air resistance, but never mind that, another woman gave birth, just as well as any other female animal on the planet. A man creates life in a petri-dish, but never mind that, some broad stole his sperm and created life herself.
Anyway, I’m not knocking the dangers of labor, men know all about the dangers of labor; there really ought to be a better word for giving birth.
So here, we have the amazing feat of giving birth. Your life is in jeopardy for a matter of hours, a few times in your life. The number is less than three if you’re an educated career woman. Of course lesser educated educated, less talented, less professionally accomplished women, tend to have far greater experience in the field of giving birth.
This is the only “job” affording prestige, praise, and credit, for just exercising a biological function. So, why is it a trump card? If I hadn’t spayed her, my dog could do it. Our pets are so good at this that we have to spay and neuter them, lest we’re inundated with kittens and puppies.
I have an aunt who was so prodigious a natural birther, my uncle swears that when he arrived at the hospital (half-corked), the nurse stepped out to fetch the doctor because it was time, and my aunt shot him with his second child. “The door had just closed, and I shit you not, there was a baby in my arms, while I was still on the other side of the room.” Of course, not all births are this easy.
But I’m not interested in the obvious center of the show here.
I lucked out, my wife can’t dilate more than six centimeters, so she has to plan cesareans. I wasn’t around for the first attempted natural birth, which took three days of hoping, and finally an emergency c-sec. She told me a few stories about a nursing nun who was being snarky at her agony. No, I want to focus on something else, and I want to be told I’m wrong; I wanna be shown evidence proving I’m wrong.
You see, I have also heard stories, have also seen the scratches and bite marks, on the fathers who braved the maternity ward. And these same brave men praise the bravery of the mothers of their children. They proudly display scars the mothers-to-be inflicted upon them during the ordeal. Sometimes a father will reminisce amusingly about how he’d been temporarily deafened when she had screamed right in his ear for waxing sympathetically over her tribulations.
I hear these stories only from men. I know, men aren’t the only people comforting these women during birth; some women don’t have a man at the time. But what I don’t hear, are these stories from the female nurses, friends, mothers, sisters, etc, who are there to console and coach these single mothers-to-be. Why is it, I’m only hearing accounts of weathering physical abuse and injury from the fathers?
You see, if I am correct, and it is only fathers who suffer this abuse, then delivery of such injury is selective. I can see no call for it. In fact, fathers-to-be should avoid the maternity ward altogether, as they are obviously not welcome. If birthing is license to mistreat, abuse, or injure a father in the witness of medical professionals, then what deterrent exists, preventing continued abuse in private? And for that matter, what indication is there that she doesn’t abuse him already? If endangering your own life once or twice provides license to abuse a man, what does that say about our society. Particularly when he endangers his own life as a matter of routine to support you?
So, I want to hear a rational female explanation. Tell me how I’ve got it wrong.