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Birth Talk

May 10, 2011

Women create the fabric of society

Women talk about childbirth, and can go on forever.  The link from birth to children to childcare to raising children, to the activities of children, to the relationships of those children to mom, this is the fiber of life that holds the world together.  The blanket of home is connected to the fibers.  Women knitting themselves together is the bedrock of community and is what makes up society.  The women were the gatherers, their primitive lives were a tapestry of connections between birth, life, food, family, and have always been the guiding seat of making life work in the world.  The talk is and has been part of that fabric.  Women without children, the old maids and the sick were outcasts centuries ago.  The power of childbirth, the bringing forth of sons and daughters was highly valued.

So where were men in this primitive society?  Did they know anything of childbirth and pregnancy?  Of course they did.  Babies were often born in the caves, stables, tents and communal dwellings.  Men were there, and they heard the talk.  This is how it remains in many places on earth.  The birth of children is as transparent as the sexual relationships that brought them forth.  Sex was not locked behind closed doors of the Victorians.

The birthing women of the past century were often pulled behind medical doors, with men locked out of the room.  The pacing man is always remembered from that time period.  The box of cigars to celebrate the birth of a child always signified the positive results of fathering a child.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s women started to pull away from the “doctor knows best” mentality and began asking their mates to join them in the delivery room.  But this has not resulted in birth talk for men.  Men are 30 years later still on the outside of the talk and ignorant of animalistic rigors and stresses of birth.  Nor are the men seemingly changing this among themselves.

Men still do not talk with other men about their birth experiences, with few exceptions.  The topic of birth may bounce around in the houses of families whose work includes labor and delivery, natural childbirth or other related professionals.  But are men taking birth talk within male society.  No.

I hear woman talking about men is many different ways when it concerns birth.  Some seem adamant that men should be the main support person for a birthing mother like a professional doula.  Others pull in the opposite direction saying men should be locked away from the birth.  But men are not taking a position, because they aren’t talking. Actually I doubt they very much even think much on this topic altogether. They are ignorant and have little interest for the most part to the details of childbirth.  About all they concern themselves with is the cost and the time involved.  They just trust their women are taken care of.  In the past they gave that trust to women.  But today it is in a patriarchal establishment dominated by male surgeons.

Is this what women need?  Do they need ignorant men?  The hospitals are happy to have “Dad” ignorant, so they can do things according to their script.  With a c-section rate up past 32%, men need to rethink this level of trust.  Women, you really need to educate these “ignorance is bliss” men, and hopefully then you can liberate them from trusting the medical establishment. But for right now, men are not buying childbirth education books and attending much more than a few hours of hospital indoctrination called Childbirth Education classes.

I hope one day that men will actually be more aware of childbirth and what supporting it can mean to their relationship with the mother.  I pray they will tell their friends and their sons that childbirth is monumental in the lives of women.  I hope that they too will know the joys of watching their own children being born and that they will have enough knowledge to help protect women from unnecessary complications that have arisen from the establishment of medically controlled birth.  Yet, alas, I’m afraid this is the norm in America.  Even women seem to not understand that the wool has been pulled over the eyes of birthing couples.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 21, 2012 3:09 am

    Name with held:

    I agree. It’s really not right that men are allowed to miss the details and detach themselves from the realities of pregnancy and giving birth. My fiance really isn’t a horrible guy. He could be a million times worse, but it would be very easy (in my eyes) for him to be much much better as well! He simply acts as if it’s too much trouble to bother himself with the details…from afar…when I will be dealing with them personally and literally up front!

    I feel like I don’t even have a man really when it comes to this- I feel like he is a little boy when he says “I don’t want to talk about it” in a sallow tone- reminds me of when “cooties” were the epidemic! I don’t feel respected either when he makes me feel like I should just keep it to myself/other women!

    Other women didn’t impregnate me and agree to this- but he did! I’m not asking him to carry this baby or to give birth or even deal with the years of physical and emotional consequences that women deal with from it- I just would like a little bit of support from time to time! Why can’t men man-up, father-up, and just be truly supportive of their own accord? I would think he would be proud and grateful for what women go through, but instead I feel like I’m supposed to be a quiet little toy on his shelf!

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