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Men And The Uncomfortable Nature of Birth

The closer I came to having my baby a subject came up between my husband and I that I had taken for granted. It pertained to my husband being in the delivery room when it came time for birth. I assumed, being brought up in the American culture, he would be there during birth and never thought about it. I was surprised and even offended when he expressed serious reservations about it. Where I didn't think about it at all, he was thinking about it a lot. In my husband's culture, as well as many others, it's not customary that the husband be with his wife during delivery. The men will often stay with their wives during labor, but will wait somewhere else while she delivers. They view birth as "women's work".

Initially I took that to be the equivalent of laundry, cooking and cleaning to be "women's work". Actually, it's not the same idea. There's a couple of different scenarios that come into play for men when they're faced with the delivery of their child....

1. A lot of men feel it's women's work because it's viewed as an almost sacred experience they may clumsily profane by their presence like a bull in a China shop. They're so outside the whole experience and depth of emotional understanding of pregnancy and birth that women have that it's uncomfortable and intrusive for them. Men don't bond with an unborn child like women do. There is a level of a certain bonding they do have as being the father of that child and the anticipation of it, but they don't do their natural bonding with the baby until after it's born. They're not carrying the baby like we are so that concept is foreign to them.

The birthing process of being exclusively women is actually more common than men being involved and always has been. Even in the west, up until recent times, men waited in a waiting room while their wives gave birth. Only with the onslaught of feminism were men, often times bullied and forced, to witness it.

2. The second scenario is men are by nature visual creatures. Every experience for them begins with the eyes whereas women are emotional creatures and every experience with us begins with the emotions. The bonding men do with the baby, once it's born, is based on visuals. They can see and handle the baby thus deep bonding begins. Despite what nature dictates, men who choose to wait it out somewhere else are often labeled sissies, selfish, unloving, unsupportive, insensitive and cheuvinistic when the truth is, by nature, it's not something a lot of men want to be exposed to. They know going in it could have a severe negative impact on how they visualize their wives later, but feel forced. The impact it could have on them will negatively affect us females as well.

This may be offensive to some women because they can't understand it and figure he should be there for the birth. Society tells us men should be there. If anything, he should at least be there to offer support and encouragement. This idea ingrained is us comes from a feminist ideology in a quest to "sensitize" men and make them emotional creatures like females when this is entirely unnatural for them. The truth is men can be supportive and encouraging before the birth and immediately after. If men choose not to be a part of the birth process then their character is attacked by society.

I don't think us females understand, or maybe even care to understand, the "visual" aspect for men that affects everything else for them. They love their wives, are attracted to their wives, desire their wives based on visuals. For men to be put into a situation where they're exposed to a visual of their wife in a way they never dreamed of seeing can really play havoc on men. It affects how they picture their wife later and the sex drive they have for them. By nature, this is how men are, it's how they're wired and can't be changed.

Women are polar opposites. I had a friend and a family member (in-law side) in delivery as well and they, like most women, see birth completely differently. They were excited to be a part of it and even grateful. For us it's beautiful, miraculous and deeply emotional. For a lot of men it can be weird, scary, foreign, dare I say "gross" and at the extreme end on the spectrum of how they visualize their wives sexually.

In the end, I left the verdict to my husband and he ultimately decided to be there and even cut the umbilical cord, but he stayed by my head the entire time. He was afraid of getting in the way and it also protected his field of vision. He encouraged, supported and helped me in the process, but his eyes never left my face until he had to cut the cord, but even then he admits he was careful to keep his eyes on what he was doing.

I was glad he was there and so was he. It was his encouragement that helped me muster up every last bit of energy I had after 43 hours to give birth. The look on his face when he saw his son for the first time was absolutely priceless, but had he chosen not to take part in the delivery I had to be alright with that. Some men want to witness it and aren't bothered. Some men may go in excited and come out disturbed, while others choose to sit that one out.

In the end, maybe us females could give a little room and allow our men to decide if they want to be a part of the birth or not despite how we may feel. Whether they want to witness it or not says nothing good or bad about him. In reality, it has nothing to do with selfishness, being uncaring or a wonder-man because he chose to witness birth, but rather it has everything to do with nature. After all, the impact it has on them directly impacts us as well.


Sharbel said...


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Disclaimer: I do not condone the teaching of men by women nor am I trying to exercise authority over men by using this blog as a method of teaching men. All posts are for the edification of women. For more on what I believe concerning this issue please see: Women - No Dominion Over Men
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