I have been baffled by the recent backlash against dads in the delivery, which is one of those things that seems to make such perfect sense to me that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the counter-argument.
First, the New York Times ran a piece suggesting that men are sufficiently grossed out by the miracle of birth that it actually kills passion. Then, some doc in France said that having dad around is bad because it stresses mom out. Now comes the idea that the pre-natal period — in which dad, no matter how many Lamaze classes he attends, is kind of on the outside looking in — conditions would-be dads to see themselves as useless when the kid actually emerges.
I love Strollerderby’s take on why this is dumb:
So, instead of keeping dad away, maybe the answer is as simple as acknowledging that the period of pregnancy and birth can be weird and awkward and alienating for him. We can talk more about the differences between men and women’s experiences. We can give mom permission to go though a distinctly female experience without feeling like she’s a sell-out to women’s rights. We should look harder at why dad is feeling so passive in the delivery room. And give him better tools to help his pregnant/birthing/lactating partner in a way that bolsters confidence.
And — once again, for the record — I am adamant that dads be present for childbirth for one simple reason: there are few times in life when we can make it crystal clear to dads how powerful and important the job of raising, teaching and protecting a child is. One of those time happens in the delivery room, and I shudder to think there are people interested in eliminating that moment.
(Hat Tip to Jason Sperber for pointing this out.)