I’ve had three kids, but I’ve never actually seen what goes on down at the business end of a birth. While I love the idea of witnessing such a profound moment, and of course supporting a laboring woman, I am a bit on the squeamish side. I sometimes wonder whether watching a birth wouldn’t gross me out just little.
My husband, also squeamish, had no choice. He had to be there all three times. He wasn’t allowed to scream in horror or cover his eyes or pass out or throw up a little in his mouth. Just like me, he had to take it one push at a time, no matter what came out where. No opting out. I mean, what kind of father doesn’t want to be there when his child is born?
Turns out, plenty. Or plenty regret that they were.
Over on MomLogic, marriage therapist Dr. Michelle Golland thinks we ask a lot of some men who would really prefer to kick it old school with cigars in the waiting room. Or, at least, no where near their crowning, crapping wives.
Just as some women don’t feel like goddesses as they pack on the pounds during pregnancy, Golland argues, some men don’t feel like their best moments as fathers and partners happen in the labor and delivery room. They’re a little less attracted to their wives for awhile. They’re seeing things — vaginas and breasts and things — in a very different way all the sudden. She says these men shouldn’t be punished for that.
Her recommendation is that couples speak openly about their expectations for birth. Men should feel free to say it grosses them out. And of course talk about how they’re feeling after the birth, too. In some cases, why not give Dad a hall pass during the big moment? A few laboring women might even prefer it.
In fact, this doctor thinks birth is better when men stay away.
Dads? Glad you were there or would you secretly have preferred to hang out with Don Draper down the hall? Moms? Kind of wish the same?