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Misandrous Midwives

Posted by Lissa on September 12, 2012

Mike and I went to a six-hour childbirth class on Saturday. It was . . . interesting.

The pros:

- There was a lot of good information
- They went into detail about natural versus medicated childbirth and the levels of pain medication available
- They also detailed the run-up to labor (which, I hope, will allow me to avoid having my water break in a grocery store or – horrors!! – the office of Sunshine Financial)
- They showed a lot of clips of babies being born – and no one passed out!

The cons:

- They were noticeably biased towards non-medicated childbirth. (Mike pointed out that calling it “natural childbirth” is pretty funny considering that only about 10% of women do it.)
- There was a definite anti-men slant.

I really wished there had been one mother-daughter team or a lesbian couple in our class. The anti-men bias was stupid because it was so UNNECESSARY! The teacher would sternly point her finger and . . . . well, here’s how she said it, and here’s how I would have phrased it:

Misandrous Midwife: “Now, coaches, she may want you to talk to her, in which case, TALK! Or she may just look at you and” (slashes hand across throat) “in which case SHUT UP. She may tell the whole room that you HAVEN’T SET UP THE CRIB YET! Or HOW MANY TIMES SHE HAD TO TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT TO THE CURB! Men, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING! KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!”

Hypothetical Instructor Lissa: “Guys, your women are going to be in a lot of pain. Make sure you are very attentive to their needs. If they want distraction, have a story ready and be ready to chat. If she waves you off, keep it quiet for a while – she’s trying to concentrate. She may also say some things that she may later regret – if she remembers them – which she normally wouldn’t. Don’t take it personally and just keep rolling with the punches.”

Both versions get across the same information, but in MY version you don’t have to be a dick about it.

Also, they took the guys aside and made them practice changing diapers and putting a shirt on baby dolls. Twice.

Are women magically born knowing how to change diapers? Don’t you think it’s both sexist and stupid to make ONLY the guys practice that?

Oh well. Five weeks to go!!!

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8 Responses to “Misandrous Midwives”

  1. The phrase “natural childbirth” makes it sound like a freakish and unimaginable abomination if you accept pain drugs. I don’t even suffer through headaches without popping an Aleve, so why the hell would I plow through childbirth without pain medication? I agree that pulling only the men aside to practice changing diapers was very sexist. Everyone needs to learn, but there’s nothing on the X chromosome that hardwires women with pre-installed knowledge of baby care!

  2. I don’t have kids, but I help with some who are related to me. My mom, and those kids’ parents, had to show me what to do. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I came with all the software pre-installed.

  3. guffaw1952 said

    Anti-men slant. Quelle surprise.
    I coached my wife through the birth of our daughter. Only changed our daughter’s diapers, in spite of numerous offers to instruct me with other children. Not my duty, thanks.

  4. Brad Kruse said

    I think there is a notion that a woman intending to change diapers could pick up or borrow a diaper and doll to practice, or ask a friend for instructions and coaching. A guy could ask a friend to instruct, if he has a friend with infants. But a guy would have more (social stigma) trouble picking up a baby doll to practice on, without a child of his own.

    Many biases and prejudices are leftovers from ignorance or social values of previous generations, and thus accepted lore that isn’t questioned. Man-hating was the in thing at the heights of the Women’s Movement. Some of it was justified, some intended to generate division and distrust between men and women. But we don’t have a good road map to get to a well-balanced alternative.

    And Guffaw1952? If a job needs doing, only Organized Labor decides that some do and some don’t. Some men decide that bringing home the paycheck is all they need to do in the family. Rather fewer of them are still married, later in life. Luck.

  5. For God’s sake, who needs to practice a diaper? The wife and I only went to one pre-birth class, mostly for the hospital familiarization tour, and then decided that the rest of the courses/info were worthless. She had our first “natural” (only because she progressed so fast that by the time anyone took her seriously and checked she was too far for an epidural) and the next three with pain management.

    I coached her for all four births. She didn’t break my hand or turn all bitchy. She was in incredible pain and I did my best to support her. I didn’t need instructions in becoming a temporary door mat, and I wouldn’t have heeded any had they come. We’re a team. I pity folks who don’t know what that’s like.

  6. Jeff/zeeke42 said

    Brad, I think you misunderstood Guffaw1952. He stated that he *did* change his daughter’s diapers, but not anyone elses. I think a ‘if it doesn’t have my DNA in it, I’m not touching its poop’ policy is entirely reasonable for anyone.

  7. Brad Kruse said

    Jeff/zeeke42,

    Maybe.Picking and choosing what parenting acts and lore to share within your community, among friends, within family . .

  8. As others noted, the anti man slant isn’t a surprise. In my 30+ years experience in EMS the nastiest nurses I’ve run into work in Labor and Delivery. I don’t know what it is, but they think that only they know how to deliver a baby. The funny thing is that by and large they don’t, doctors do. And EMTs for that matter. I’ve delivered around 20 over the years, including a couple in hospital.

    About the “natural childbirth” thing. Back 30 or so years ago when Joan Rivers was actually funny she did a bit about that. She talked about how when she was in labor, someone tried to convince her to have natural childbirth. She suggested that they try a “natural root canal” and see how that worked out.

    Every time someone mentions natural child birth I think of that and laugh.

    Sometimes inappropriately.

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