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Men Find their Instinctual Place at Birth

June 14, 2011

Phillip White

For some time now, I have been aware of a conflict of instinctual interests.  Years ago when we were hanging around fires, roasting the meat we took on the hunt, talking about the one that got away, and the dino that almost took us away like Urgug are deary departed friend of yesterday, we men lived in close proximity, and shared our fortunes, just trying to stay alive a little longer.  Our clubs and spears always close at hand in case some predator stuck its nose in our family business.  The instincts we had kept us alive and kept us safe.  We had two vital choices, and only those who heeded them won the battle of the fittest:  flight or attack.

Our families were born among women, with us standing guard around the cave,  sniffing the air for danger, listening for breaking branches and looking for sudden movement in the brush.

We learned kill or be killed, or run and have a next time, depending on the size of the critter at the mouth of the cave.

The babies soon learned that life as a hunter gatherer was short-lived, so birth was one of the most important events for us cavemen.

The instincts are still in place today, but men no longer carry spears, they carry, cell phones, briefcases and laptops.

But lo and behold, women no longer gather together and birth our children, with the medicine woman or (midwives) encouraging them on through words of affirmation and applying some herbal compresses to ease the laboring women’s pains.   No the women today are not the same.  They no longer form the sisterhood rings and sit beside their relatives as she births; no the mates are called now to do this.

The conflict of interest is this is that men are not necessarily a good replacement for the women.  No, they would rather go shoot something still, then to spend 36 hours at the hospital or birth center, or at the bed at home, occasionally.  Men would rather turn on the tube and watch Magic play Dallas.  Their instincts are to protect and to serve, but what has happened is that men have forgotten their instinctual part.  Men need to find how they can do their part to serve and protect!  The welcoming of our little Bam Bams is no less vital today than it was yesteryear.

Nurturing is not something men are much good at.  Men do not say much to each other when the other is hurt.  They don’t apply compresses and say “dear, dear, it will be alright.”  No they say nothing when another man is down on the field.  They just keep battling.  They still have those caveman instincts which keep them running and surviving.

But times have changed, and women are now in this strange thing called a hospital, and birth has changed from the joyous moment where women were in change to an emergency with doctors in sterile gear, drugs and interventions.  No birth is not safe and sacred.  The over-medicalization of childbirth threw a bone into the standard roles folks played at birth.

So men, pick up your spears and get back to protecting your women from the modern savagery of the medicalized birth.  There  are often  enemies of natural birth,  that bring unnecessary interventions, forced inductions, drugs that steal a women’s ability to feel how to birth, and surgeries that in the 1960s only amounted to 4% of births,  while today the stand at 32-33% of all births.  Abdominal surgery is no pleasant little stab in the stomach either.

My advice to you is to really understand birth and what it takes, because only 2% of births are still done in that circle of nurturing by nurturing women still using the herbal compresses and fem medicines of old, where the most powerful tool of old may very well be the sacred human touch!  If you really want to provide the safest environment for your offspring, then you will need to take a look at the realities of birth in America where Cuba has better success at keeping women and babies alive.  Think again about who you chose to be at the birth — choose a midwife. Does anyone ever notice that America has the worst care of birth in the first world nations!  The nations that are safest are still the ones where the births are assisted by the midwives.

If you want to learn more about birth consider our book “Men at Birth.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 16, 2011 4:44 pm


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