Sunday, 28 April 2013

When men give birth

We often hear about the seventeen hour labour and how much it affects the woman involved, but little is said about us blokes.  The fact that we are not the ones carrying the child for nine months, pushing, searching for gas and air, screaming "you did this to me" aimed at some poor bloke standing alongside the birthing pool or bed just because he has a penis (which clearly she did not shy away from nine months ago) does not mean that we have an easy time of it.

My experience of this day, nearly three years ago now, was rather exhausting.  Watching my poor wife struggling in a bath, on a yoga ball, in the hospital parking lot after being told by the midwife to "go for a walk", all took its toll.  I am not trying to make this all about us men, but it may be worth exploring the insecurities and difficulties we go though alongside our partners, often struggling in silence.  I remember feeling extremely guilty when my daughter was born.  All of my fears and concerns were directed towards my wife's well-being and not so much my little girl's.  The fact that she had lost a lot of blood scared me and I inadvertently  blamed this poor, innocent, little child.  When processing this later on, I realised that it was down to the fact that I knew my wife yet did not know my daughter at all (yet).  I found those eighteen hours of labour exhausting.  It may often be overlooked, but us men do play an integral part in the whole process; reassuring, back-rubbing,  running up and down stairs to fetch and ultimately supply whatever craving needs satisfying, getting our hands broken inch by inch with every nearing contraction, the list is neigh on endless.  Watching my wife go through all that pain was enough to finish me off.

About fifteen minutes before my daughter was born, I remember feeling that feeling;  the one similar to when you are at a theme park looking up at this great big roller-coaster,  and man, it looks appealing (not simply that!  Read on...).  You wait two-and-a-half hours in a queue for a 16 second thrill (much like sex) and then the moment comes.  You get into your seat.  The giant breastplate of a security bar holds you firmly down.  You sway your legs back and forth to see if they are still communicating with your brain (the high level of nerves may just have cut out any form of internal communication).  A few staccato movements happen and then the gradual incline begins.  Higher.  Higher still.  "Oh look, there's China" (this amazing view from somewhere in mid-England) and stops.  THAT'S the feeling.  It is at that moment when I say to myself "well, actually, in reality this wasn't a good idea.  Let's forget all about this.  Mr Roller-coaster, just take me back down so that I can reevaluate this whole situation... maybe I will come back tomorrow and try again.  Yip, let's do this tomorrow rather!"  THAT FEELING.  I took one look at my wife and thought hey, maybe this wasn't such a good idea.  Let's come back tomorrow and try again.  Mrs Vagina, close up shop and we'll attempt this again in the morning.  However, like the roller-coaster,  it was too late.  Fifteen minutes later my life changed forever; and what an awesome ride it is turning out to be!

My everything!

PS - I am dreading round two!

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