Dear Good Enough Guy,
I’m 7 months pregnant and really want my husband, Mark, to be in the delivery room with me when I give birth – but he’s totally opposed to the idea.
I’m really ticked off and not speaking to him at the moment. Should I be worried that this is a sign of things to come after the baby arrives or am I the one being unreasonable?
Karen, St Louis
You are absolutely NOT being unreasonable. I can think of a stack reasons why he should be in that room (you want him there, you NEED him there, he has an opportunity to witness a once in a lifetime moment, it is his privilege as a father, his duty as a husband…) and the only reasons I can think of for him not being there either contain the word “selfish” or “scared”.
My wife and I went though her pregnancy together, and I did as much as she’d let me do without getting on her nerves. I took the Lamaze classes. I read the baby books. I learned what the hell those dots were on the ultra-sound photos. And on the big day, I held her hand, wiped her face, fed her ice chips, breathed with her, re-assured her, and watched as my son came into the world. Now, I won’t lie; there were some sights and sounds (and a smell or two) that I wasn’t completely prepared for, but I did what a real husband and father is expected to do everyday. I put on my big-boy clothes and acted like a man. It was one of the best days of my life. My brother-in-law has a problem with the sight of blood, sometimes to the point of fainting, but he was right there at his wife’s side through three births, two of which were C-sections (way to go, Dana.)
Maybe Mark has a problem with blood. Maybe Mark is scared that he’ll feel helpless. Maybe Mark is worried that he may see things that he’d rather not see. Maybe Mark is old-school and thinks he should be in the waiting room, passing out cigars. Maybe Mark has some other weak excuse. Well, Karen, do me a favor. Give the rest of this letter to Mark for me.
“Hey, Mark. Two words. MAN UP!”
You wife isn’t asking you to go shoe shopping or sit through yet another viewing of “The Notebook”. She NEEDS you on this one. Yeah, childbirth can be a little scary and a lot painful, but we, as men, have the easy job on this one. You don’t have to knock the doctor out of the way and actually take the snap; just hold her hand, tell her how great she’s doing and how proud you are of her, and BE THERE. I can’t promise that things won’t get a little unusual, but you will make it through and she’ll love you for it. On the other hand, if you punk-out and miss this chance to be there for your wife and child, I can absolutely promise that you’ll never be able to do anything about it except regret it. I don’t know how long you’ve been married, but being there when your wife needs you is Husband 101. You won’t always like every part of it, but it’s your job. Don’t let her down.
Hopefully, by now you’ve seen the error in your ways and have decided to act like a man. On behalf of men everywhere, “HIGH FIVE!!!” Now, if Karen’s at seven months, you don’t have much time to prepare, so here’s a quick list to get you ready for the game day!
- “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “What to Expect the First Year”. Read them, and you’ll look and feel like less of a doofus.
2 Make sure Karen has her delivery room bag packed and ready, and then pack yours. Change of clothes (you’ll be there a while), chewing gum (keeps you awake), something for stress (not hers, yours), a good book to read (see number 1).
3 Decide now on the hospital and know the best route to get there. If her water breaks and you’re trying to log into Map-Quest, she’s gonna rip your head clean off.
4 If you’re squeamish, stay at the end of the bed where your wife’s head is… Otherwise you’ll see the baby’s head crowning just before you taste the tile floor.
5 Put the baby’s car seat in your back seat now. I left mine in my trunk and then, after 48 hours without sleep, when it was time to take my wife and new-born son home, I locked the keys in the trunk next to it. You’d think, by now, my wife would see the humor in that. Nope.
You can do this, Mark. Do it for the baby. Do it for yourself. And do it for Karen. Hey, she was good enough to let you be there during the conception; you owe her this one. Good luck!
William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few, spare moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing.