Thursday, December 11, 2008

The crappiest miracle ever: a guest post

So the other day Luke and I were discussing random stuff, as we do, and somehow ended up talking about childbirth. So I begged and whined until he agreed to write a guest post on childbirth: the male perspective. While I am female, and should probably have very different perspectives, I must admit to agreeing to a lot of his points.

Anyway here it is:

The Crappiest Miracle Ever

I am forever grateful for the fact that I have testes. Apart from the obvious bonuses of being able to stand and pee, and never having to consider the pluses of buying sanitary pads with or without wings, there is the glaringly obvious forte of never having to give birth to a child.

I have given the idea a great deal of thought over the years and have come to the conclusion that I doubt that I will ever have children of my own. I love kids, they’re great! However, I can’t get over that little voice of social conscience in my head that reminds me just how many children there are in this world already and how many, particularly in South Africa given our current AIDS pandemic and the related orphan crisis, desperately need homes and families. So, in light of my internal Jiminy Cricket, I think it is safe to say that, should I someday decide to have kids, I will adopt.

But adoption is not the point of this post. This post is about carrying a baby for 9 months. It’s the male’s perspective on how grateful we are that we won’t ever have to do it. It’s about how much I admire women for baring the brunt of the continuation of our species.

While I am most definitely not against the procedures leading up to pregnancy, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the whole idea scares me! The thought of having a small creature growing inside of you is a little too close to something out of ‘Alien’. Interestingly enough, the developing embryo does behave like a parasite in many ways; sapping the mothers bodily resources for example. So while the ‘little miracle’ drains the mother’s life blood (almost literally…) she has the joy of lower back pain, a bladder that functionally mirrors that of a small rodent and the hormonal imbalances and associated mood swings of a psychotic.

Naturally, never having experienced this all, I’m giving a very one-sided view. But, on the plus side, women’s boobs get huge, which, I think we can all agree, is appreciated by all parties…

Then comes the exciting and delightful right of passage: the birth itself.

I never cease to be perplexed by the range of types of birth that one can select from. I remember seeing a documentary about several births that occurred simultaneously in several countries around the world. It was fascinating to watch but, aside from the stark social contrasts between the individuals shown in the different countries the range of ways it could be pulled off was fascinating! From the classic scenario of the gynaecologist taking a look and shrieking something like, ‘Oh sh*t! We’re gonna need help…like, NOW!’ to the water birth, the possibilities seem endless. The latter is a great cause for concern in my mind. The idea of spending a few hours in a large vat of warmed water, swirling with your own blood and faeces, doesn’t exactly leave me feeling like I need to bring a life into this world…

There are several aspects to the birthing process which I cannot fathom. Firstly, the need to dilate a hole, normally the size of a golf-ball to approximate a watermelon. That in itself must be agony, but, as if God hadn’t put females through enough, this often doesn’t happen and there are one of two possibilities; tearing of the tissues to make the hole big enough (voluntarily or otherwise) or a caesarean section.

You are not likely to find many individuals as squeamish as myself, and so naturally, the idea of tearing tissues freaks me out completely! Not only that but tearing tissues in your nether regions of all places! I take my hat off to any mother who has endured a natural birth!

I have heard from many people that the C-section is by far the best and easiest means of extracting the child from your innards. I was recently told by a friend that the stress of the birth process, an aspect that is lacking from the procedure of the C-section, is vital for the normal psychological development of the child as it grows later in life. This aside, I’ve always wondered about how good it is for a child to spend the first moments in it’s new world with all manner of pain medication coursing through the veins that it shares with it’s mother.

Bearing all this in mind, there are still people on this planet. That means that either we are so genetically hard-wired to procreate that we cannot stop ourselves, or that perhaps there is something to the bond formed between mother and child in jointly enduring the horrors of birth. I know, from discussions with my own family, that apparently, once you see your child, belting forth and covered in afterbirth, you cannot help but instantly fall in love with it. I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit that there is always a part of me that goes all ‘Awww…’ whenever I see a baby too so I can’t point any fingers.


SuvvyGirl said...

Well having gone through this myself I will say I would do it all over again. Being in labor and actually giving birth scared the crap out of me during our birthing classes. But once it came time to actually do it, it really wasn't that bad. But I also had the aid of an epidural. I lived with the contractions and all that good stuff until I was dialated to 4 then they made me get an epidural to help relax me and move the process along a little longer. But I will say it would still scare the crap out of me to give complete natural birth. Little woozy just thinkin about it. :P

Luke said...

I commend you on your being sensible and accepting the drugs! Smart girl! ;)

Plus, your daughter is SUPER-cute, so it makes all that effort worthwhile...