Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thoughts on childbirth from somebody who's seen three of them.

Being a guy can be great.

But there are times when it's really tough.

One of those times is when your wife is in labor. Cuz, that's really hard for a guy. You have to sit there while she's writhing in pain, and you have to be really strong. You have to keep your nerves calmed and your face soldier-like and your hand needs to be made of cement so it's not ripped off. And you also have to be able to tolerate a lot of noise and screaming, which a lot of men aren't really equipped to do because deep down we're like gentle little sleeping babies ourselves, and we need to be coddled. And like my friend Paul put it after he and his wife had their first child, "I honestly don't think people realize just how tired the husband gets during labor."

We're there to coddle our wives while they go through labor. But who's there to coddle us?

Just look:

Wife looks downright peaceful in this photo, about 30 seconds after pushing Viva out.


On that same night, I look like I might pass out. And like my eyebrows might peel off and fly away like a bird. (And yes, this is the Dahmer Bin Laden picture.)

So, I think it's pretty plain to see that we need to be a little bit more sensitive to men during the childbirth process. Women get so much--they have nurses and doctors and anesthesiologists and midwifes and doulas all there at their beck and call. They get free meals. They get a cool water bottle with a long straw to drink from whenever they get thirsty.  They get to just sit back and relax in a bed that moves up and down when you press a button, and they get to hold the remote to the TV because it's the same remote that moves the bed. They get lots of soft padding for their bum bums, and cool antiseptic creams, and a jetted tub and lots of attention.

But what do men get? 

Something to think about...

UPDATE from the comment queue: The only reason I had more children after the first one was to get the cool water bottle with long flexy straw. Anna Campbell

My point exactly.

UPDATE #2: To see my actual thoughts on the subject go here.


  1. Oh, see, I what's happening -- you're doing it wrong! You're supposed to be swiping her free meals while she's distracted by the screaming or a doctor or something, and you're supposed to just quietly close the door on her little ensuite bathroom and have a bath while all the nurses are distracting her. Jetted tub, man, how could you not know you were meant to be getting in on that while you could? Pfft. Got to look out for yourself, or nobody will.

  2. Sweetie, when men can get pregnant and deal with all that comes with it including labor, then they too will get treats at the hospital. Until then, stop your whinging and go buy her some flowers hehe

  3. Huh. Didn't look too stressful on him from my angle. My husband fell asleep for my first labor and was only awakened when they whisked me off for emergency surgery. The second one he was so amazed at how hard I worked, he promised me anything I wanted. Still waiting for that Mercedes.

  4. First, I was chuckling in anticipation after reading the title. Great post.

  5. I would say that while the role of support can be tiring, you really can't comprehend just how painful childbirth is. On top of that, WOMEN have all the fun that goes with the ability to bear know, periods, pms, bloating, cramping, irritability....and then once it's over, we get to deal with menopause, and that's a whole other monster on top of it. Just saying.

  6. ...also, I bet you looked that peaceful and happy when you were holding your brand new baby too!

  7. HA!
    based on your comments I would say your tongue in cheek has been successfully subtle.

  8. I know you're getting a bunch of smack for this Josh, even if it is partly in good fun, but I just wanted to say that I agree with you there! When I've gone back and looked over my delivery of Mazie I see how tense Shane was and he was hiding it as best he could. (I didn't notice it at the time.) And here I was, drugged up with 10 people in the room cheering me on and I had two days to adjust to live with a newborn in the hospital while he immediately had to go back to work. I see where you're coming from Josh, I really do.

  9. I was going to give you a hard time about this post, but then I remembered that the birth of our third child was WAY worse for James than it was for me. I got an epidural. James got blood/amniotic fluid in his face. So yeah, maybe you're right (but just a little bit).

  10. Never really thought about a guy's perspective on childbirth . . .

  11. I have no idea how to respond to these comments. Just know that each one has been hilarious and wonderful in its own special way, and that you guys are all awesome and I feel lucky to have the best commenters on the planet.

    Next up: Thoughts On Childbirth, Part II (Now with less chauvinism!)

    Stay tuned. Also, still trying to find the Venezuela pictures. You'll see me weighing nearly 300lbs soon. Bate that breath!

  12. P.S. Is that picture of Laurel really right after she gave birth to Viva? Laurel always looks so amazing right after giving birth. It's pretty much not fair.

  13. The only reason I had more children after the first one was to get the cool water bottle with long flexy straw.

  14. The next thing we need to address here is, how do we make it more comfortable for the husband after the hospital? For instance, how can I make sure my husband sleeps through 100% of the nighttime feedings, instead of just 92% of them? This is the real challenge for you men.

  15. First:
    Wife looks BEAUTIFUL!

    I have to admit- I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the Water Bottle with long flexy straw and was a little surprised that the nurse with my first baby was more excited for me to be able to take the Water Bottle HOME with me than for the Actual Baby that was going home with me.

    I do LOVE ordering every meal from a menu- as if I am at a restaurant. And not feeling GUILTY for anything I eat because the nurses always say how "you need to eat 500 extra calories to nurse a baby, you know".

    But most of all- I love the ice chips.
    With Macie I wasn't really so sad to be having a c-section as I was sad that they woudln't let me have any ice chips. :( And then by the time I was cleared to NOT have the c-section it was too late for the ice chips anyways.
    I suppose I will have to have ONE more just to get those delicious ice chips.

    Boy, I love writing my own Blogs on your Blog. :0)

  16. oh yeah, this was about YOU GUYS.
    They do have ALL the PUDDING YOU CAN EAT in the little fridge for you Hubbies.

  17. Yeah, shut up.:)

    No, seriously...

  18. They get lots of soft padding for their bum bums, and cool antiseptic creams, and a jetted tub and lots of attention. EL-OH-EL FUNNY!

  19. Gee, I've never gotten a cool water bottle with a long flexy straw. Or ice chips. That's what I get for doing a homebirth, but that's besides the point. This is a funny article, but in all seriousness, labor can be hard for men too, and they deserve credit for being superman for their wives. While the mother recovers, he is the one to make the meals, take care of the other children, clean the home, serve the wife breakfast in bed, etc, etc, etc. Not to mention his day job. Sure, childbirth is harder for the wife, but that doesn't make it easy for daddy. Thank you men for stepping up to bat for us.

  20. When I had my first child, I realized that giving birth means unlimited cranberry juice. I drank the hospital out of cranberry juice, I kid you not. The nurse would come in after I pressed the call button, and I'd be like, "Yeah, can I get some more cranberry juice? I've been out for like 5 minutes already. Oh, and that newborn over there might need something....she won't be quiet. I could get rid of this headache IF ONLY I HAD SOME MORE CRANBERRY JUICE, THANK YOU." And what's even *more* cool is that I didn't have to worry about getting up to "mick", if you will, since I had a catheter in. Catheters FTW!!
    -Kerry E.-

  21. Dahmer Bin Laden??? LMAO. That is the best picture ever!!!