I have never before responded to another blogger, but I have recently come across a post that has made me angry. It was a list of the ways men are obnoxious during child birth and it can be found here. It frustrates me because, actually, her partner may have been useless but that doesn’t mean they all are, and I feel that she is belittling men in her post. Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t given birth twelve times, but if he truly was that awful as a birthing partner, surely you would choose someone else to support you.
My partner was incredible during the birth of Little R: he didn’t leave my side; he helped me to use the toilet when I was bursting for a wee and having horrendous contractions; he fed me ice cubes when I wanted to use them as pain relief and he was the first one to hold Little R. He was just so amazing, that it was his support that helped me to have such an ‘easy’ (hahaha) birth. When Epstein criticises her partner for ‘telling her to breathe’, that is one of the few ways that we – men and women – are taught to control the pain during ante-natal classes. My husband joined me in carrying out the breathing techniques, which actually did help. Those breathing techniques means that I remained in control of the pain. I will admit, when husband was breathing in front of me, I did want to punch him in the face but looking back it was fantastic that he was willing to help me like that, and actually his support was invaluable.
I do understand that men don’t experience any of the physical pain that comes with childbirth, but they definitely experience as much emotional turmoil as women. It is their baby that is about to be born, and it is their partner in unbearable pain, whilst they standby helplessly. Epstein sarcastically states ‘boy does Hubby ever need a drink after that. (Because he did what exactly?? *scratches head*)’ which is the most unfair comment that she makes. Whilst it is the women who has to physically go through childbirth, men are perfectly entitled to feel overwhelmed, excited, terrified, exhilarated and exhausted, just as women are. My husband actually cried once Little R had been born, and then had to step out of the room to calm down. He had been awake all night with me (and, actually, I managed to have a couple of naps whilst he watched over me) and he was just as exhausted as I was. When Little R’s heart rate dropped and the midwives were considering calling in a doctor, it was my husband who was aware of the entire situation, it was my husband who was terrified for both mine and Little R’s sake, and it was my husband who held Little R and dressed her for the first time because I was completely out of it.
It frustrates me that Epstein has written this article. Whilst men and women do not play the same part in childbirth, they both have parts to play in such a miraculous time. There is no wonder that, even today, men and women are not viewed as equal when it comes to parenting. I, for one, am so glad my husband was there and I cannot be the only one who feels so grateful. My labour created an amazing bond, and was actually an incredible experience between both my husband and I, and I would never dream of criticising him.