Thursday, August 25, 2005

And then I never want to discuss this again

Two different blogs are devoting valuable e-space to the amazing issue of the trauma of the childbirth process -- for men. First Nick Kiddle at Alas is frustrated that a magazine advice columnist expressed no sympathy for a woman feeling upset at her partner's unwillingness to support her during childbirth, but instead focuses on explaining the roots of the guy's discomfort.
It makes no difference to this woman why her partner doesn't want to be present. She's the one going through labour, he won't support her, she feels let down. That's the problem she's asked for advice about, and the advice to see things from his point of view is suspiciously close to telling her that her feelings aren't as valid as his.
That seemed like enough of a head-banger, until Bitch, Ph.D., reported an entire NYTimes article from earlier this week, describing the emotional scarring that men experience in seeing their partners give birth.
Where many of us might be tempted to focus on the difficulty of, say, the expectant mother squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a dime, Dr. Ablow wants to remind us that there's another person suffering in that delivery room: the male partner forced to view his woman's cooter in a way he never wanted to see it.
Geez, we wouldn't want to expect the men to be grown-up and supportive, now, would we? They've been coddled for so long . . . grrr!


AboveAvgJane said...

I know many men who were supportive but stayed well away from the "danger area" by holding the wife's hand, encouraging, etc., but not venturing anywhere near "down there." I think this should be allowed.

Both little Janes were "C's," one following a difficult and unproductive labor. At one point, during the forceps attempt, Mr. Jane looked like he was going to faint. All the medical personnel abandoned me in a flash to get him a chair and some juice (he had not left my side so neither of us had eaten in many hours). At the time I found this particularly annoying. Now it has faded to a dull rankle.

The second C was scheduled, if not actually planned. Mr. Jane was not allowed to be present when the spinal was administered because so many dads couldn't handle the sight of the needle. I assured the doc that Mr. Jane would be fine but he was sent out into the hall until it was over regardless. But he did get to stay in for the surgery.

More than you wanted to know.

ACM said...

I just love "a dull rankle"...

AboveAvgJane said...

My absolute favorite part of the first C (this is after 20+ unproductive hours of labor, 2+ hours of pushing, the failed attempt at forceps and then an emergency C, done by a doc who had been walked around earlier in the evening to meet people since it was her first day there)was when I was in recovery, hoping to one day have feeling in my legs again and wondering how many time I would have to hit the morphine button before it would release the happy juice, and the doc walks in and says "just think, 100 years ago you and the baby would have both died." You have to admire her timing and bedside manner.

People tell you that you forget all this in the euphoria of postpartum bliss. They lie. I still remember it very well.