I remember my dad talking with me about the Birds and the Bees. I knew before the conversation even started that my dad was uncomfortable with what he was about to talk to me about. We sat down on the couch with a book and he basically read it verbatim. I was a rather sheltered child so this was the first time I’d heard the details of how reproduction worked. I know that the fear I now have of the actual process of birth I gleaned from my father that afternoon. The only specific thing I remember from that conversation was my dad’s response to a question I asked after he told me how the baby came out.
“Is that really how it happens? A baby will fit through there?”
I didn’t fully grasp what was about to happen, but I was about to have a small seed of fear planted in my mind in that next moment. My dad answered me with the facial expressions someone might give you when explaining what they saw after a horrific accident.
“Yes son, it is. It hurts the mommy as the baby comes out, but eventually the baby does.” He said.
After what I remember to be a very long pause he thoughtfully added, “You know, it makes you think twice about doing it to her again.”
I was horrified. I remember thinking this birth thing must be awful. If daddy loved mommy so much that he didn’t want to make her have another baby because it hurt her so much it must be… really bad.
Fast forward about 21 years. I’m expecting a baby and my wife is showing me all kinds of births captured on video thanks to YouTube. Of course the moments seared into my memory are when the mother giving birth is yelling or crying and bleeding. Oh the gore. Birth IS NOT like that on TV. Up until recently I’d only seen births on TV or the movies and heard comments from women who have done it before while watching with me saying something like “That’s not how it happens.” or “It’s not that easy.”
Abigail and I are about to start a Bradley Method birthing class on Sunday. I honestly don’t know what to expect. Perhaps some “hee hee whoos” and a focus object, but I don’t really know.
I picture myself being all worked-up like Ross in this clip from friends, but secretly wish I could do what Joey is planning on doing when he has a kid:
I hope this class helps me be less like Ross and become much more informed and comfortable with the whole process. Part of my uneasiness about it is the unknown. Although I do admit off hand comments like the one my brother-in-law made at our gender reveal make me think twice. “Just stay up my the head, stay up by your wife’s head and you’ll do fine.”
Let’s hope so.