Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How I'm The Worst Kind Of Student In Birthing Class

I’m the worst kind of student in our birthing class. It’s not that I’m being horribly disruptive or it’s just that I can’t help but giggle my way through a good portion of the topics. The awkward part is that no one except for Diana seems to understand what I find so funny, or so uncomfortable.

There’s eleven couples in our birthing class and they are all very nice. It’s very comforting to be in a room full of people going through the same emotions and struggles that Diana and I are going through. It’s nice to know that while pregnancy is a new and amazing experience for us, it’s also a shared an common experience.

There’s a lot of things about pregnancy that no one tells you about before you have a wife that is pregnant. First off, almost everything you see in films or television (except for maybe 16 & Pregnant) about pregnancy isn’t even close to the reality of the situation. It makes you wonder why. It really wouldn’t hurt our culture to more accurately depict pregnancy, birth and labor.

Part of is has to do with our general squeamishness with the female body. There is an incredible amount of hypocrisy when it comes to women’s bodies in our society. The fact that women having agency over their bodies is an issue politically and culturally sadly leads to many problems in our society. Also, the fact that these issues are often discussed without woman present is also aggravating, unacceptable and simply primeval (i.e. Catholic Church).

The other reason that not a lot seems to be known in our culture about pregnancy and birth is because women don’t seem to whine about it. When a guy faces a monumental struggle in his life like climbing Mount Everest or fighting in a war, films are made and books are written.  That doesn’t seems to happen with woman and their birth stories. Maybe it’s because of traditional patriarchal views, which allow guys to ignore these stories.

More and more of these stories are being written and shared in books and blogs.  Jenny McCarthy’s book “Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth,” is one of those books that  goes into this whole process in excruciating detail.

I’m laughing and making jokes to get through class because a lot of this stuff is shocking and scary (I deal with discomfit often by making jokes). Also there are a lot of things about the birth process which seem very humorous out of context, like the different positions a woman may get into to help them through contractions (just google “positions for labor” and imagine 11 couples practicing these different positions at the same time).

There’s a lot a stuff that I’m learning for the first time in class that I feel like I should have known before. If it wasn’t so new, then I wouldn’t be me giggling so much and then making a mouth-open shocked face pointing at the screen in disbelief.  When we watch these films of births in class I feel like the one guys in the room who’s watching a suspense film for the first time while everyone else has watched it numerous times.

There’s two more classes.  I should try not to laugh so much, but I'm sure that the other future dads in the room are holding in their laughter at times. So you know what? I’ll laugh for all of us just so y’all know you’re not alone in your discomfort, fear, shock and awe.

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