Fresh debate has erupted this week on breakfast telly over men in the delivery ward – whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing to have the big lump of spunk there.
Tracey has just informed me that if I wasn’t going to attend the births of our children she wouldn’t have let me attend the conceptions, so I guess we know where she stands on the issue.
In 2009, French obstetrician, Michel Odent, said he was of the opinion men hindered in the delivery ward, increased the chances of C-section and anyway would probably rather be at the pub drinking with their mates. Or something along those lines.
I know a pub is precisely the sort of place my father was for the births of myself and my siblings.
“I’m glad I wasn’t there,” he’s admitted to me on several occasions. The delivery ward he means, not the pub – even when there’s no impending baby he’s always happy to be at a pub.
So, like so many social mores held even 100 years ago, a lot has changed in a very short period of time. From my father’s day, when dads in delivery wards were almost unheard of in Australia, to the births of my own children, when nothing short of a delayed flight or natural disaster was acceptable as an excuse for not being in the room rubbing your partner’s back – and telling her how absolutely friggin’ awesome and clever she is, and how you’ll take the rubbish out without so much as a frown from now till the day you die, and how she doesn’t really need to name the baby after your mother, even if it’s a girl.
Of course, if Dr Odent had seen my performance at the birth of my eldest daughter he might be excused for making assumptions and thinking he had a very valid point.
I’d been told not to touch anything green (or was it blue?) and I didn’t. I did, however, manage to both touch and topple the contraption holding the green (blue?) fabric, sending it into the backs of the heads of the two doctors who were busily sewing up my first wife’s belly.
In doing some further ‘research’ for this post (Tracey calls it ‘not helping with the kids’) I saw it mentioned over on BBC news that Gordon Ramsay hasn’t attended any of the births of his four kids. My initial response was one of pity. I mean, he’s a busy man and I assumed he was working away and had commitments. Not, so. He just didn’t want to be there. And while I respect his decision I do perhaps wonder if he might have found it educational given he’s quoted as describing birth as “skinned rabbits and conger eels coming at me from everywhere.”
But if you’re not an international super-chef, who people are too scared to argue with because they know you’ll start yelling cuss words at them and comparing them to bad cuts of meat and then work the whole thing into your next telly series, then you probably don’t have the balls to say you don’t want to be there for the birth. Opinions have swung so far the other way people would look at you strange.
Until I started reading tonight I think I probably would have been one of them.
It simply has never occurred to me that in this day and age someone might not want to attend, or might not want their husband there. Personally, I wouldn’t have missed the birth of any of my kids for anything. They were amazing experiences and I was overwhelmed with feelings I can’t even describe at each and every one of them. Even now, I can think back on each birth and my eyes well up and I need to tell my wife how clever she is.
I think, perhaps, I’m now of the opinion, with any sort of ‘normal’ birth, the only person who doesn’t have the right to tell the husband they can’t be there for it is the doctor.
It seems I’m not the only person in this house who thinks this way. The issue has clearly been playing on Tracey’s mind too. She just stomped back into the room to inform me that while I’m allowed in the hypothetical delivery ward, Dr Odent is definitely not.
BBC News – 14 March 2013 – How it became almost mandatory for dads to attend the birth
BBC News – 25 November 2009 – Should dads be in the delivery room?
When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.
’raising a family on little more than laughs’