A friend of mine is due to give birth for the first time in the next couple of weeks and I was trying to say the right things, trying -“your body was designed to do this, you will be fine, women have been doing this for years, decades even!” She shot me a withering look, I’m quite used to getting shot with withering looks but this one was particularly withering, threatening even. “You make it sound so straight forward. How do you think you would go if you had to give birth?”
We would be completely unprepared for child birth because throughout the antenatal classes we were doodling our names on the desks, sniggering at some of the anatomical diagrams and generally reverting to schoolboy type.
If men gave birth you would never hear the end of it. We want acknowledgement if we do the washing up, we want acknowledgement if we change a light bulb unassisted, could you imagine how much acknowledgement would be required if we actually gave birth?
Your average male birthing partner assumes the role of sports coach, “come on, you can do it, give it 100%, leave it all in the room!” I am not a betting man but I would bet my left kidney (considered saying testicle but will play safe with a kidney) that your average male would not taking kindly to being on the receiving end of these little motivational pep talks.
You know how flu needed an entirely new name just for us men due to the extent of our suffering, could you even imagine how unbearable we would be when faced with some of the gruesome realities of child birth? We are reduced to little cry babies at the faintest hint of a bit of a blocked nose and sore throat; we surely aren’t ready for blood.
Men aren’t renowned for sharing their intimacies with total strangers, we struggle to share intimacies with our partners, I’m not sure how we’d go with the probing, discussions and general focus on what’s going on down there.
You can always spot a man who is in training for an endurance event, he’s all dolled up in sweat bands, tights that leave nothing to the imagination, I-pod with adrenaline pumping music and sipping on protein shakes. Like my good wife tells me “all the gear and no idea”. I suspect the male overnight bag would be full of all the gear.
The simple act of taking food out of the equation for a few hours will see most men screaming for an epidural.
You know how men often come out with the line “just one more?” to prolong a visit to the local drinking establishment. I’m not sure we could be trusted around an entire canister of laughing gas, we would suck that baby dry.
Would you be able to cope with an entire life spent with someone who will entertain dinner guests regaling tales of their own heroic efforts and superhuman displays of strength?