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Dads in the delivery room: a bad idea?

Apparently, there is no idea in parenting so common-sense that there isn't some expert, somewhere, who is willing to argue against it. This week's example comes from across the pond, where French obstetrician Michel Odent is waging a battle against men in the delivery room. In Odent's view, having the would-be dad around ratchets up everyone's anxiety, making the whole arrangement that much more stressful, messing with critical birth hormones and leading to the increasing number of Cesarean sections.

As he told the BBC:

"Having been involved for more than 50 years in childbirths in homes and hospitals in France, England and Africa, the best environment I know for an easy birth is when there is nobody around the woman in labour apart from a silent, low-profile and experienced midwife," he says.

This makes very little sense to me for a couple of reasons. The first, non-selfish reason is that I suspect a big percentage of moms want to have their husband around -- maybe not to play "birth coach" or to help with breathing, but to be a companion during a stretch of time that is physically painful and emotionally draining. Perhaps the fathers-to-be that I hang out with are particularly sensitive guys, but they're in the delivery room because they are committed to making the process easier, not out of some misbegotten sense of obligation.

The second, selfish, reason to have dads present for the birth is that it sends the message -- right from the very beginning -- that responsibility for the kids is something that should be shared as much as possible. I've talked to a lot of couples where care patterns -- who changes the diaper? who goes to the pediatrician? who gets up in the middle of the night? -- get set in the first couple of weeks and endure for years. Keeping the father at bay for even that brief first part of a child's life reinforces the idea that, when it comes to kids, there are some things that can only be handled by mom, and mom alone.

Now, maybe this all breaks down if dad is a stressball basket case at the hospital, but I suspect that's not usually the case. Moms: Have any of you chosen to make sure that dad stays the heck away from the delivery, or was there strength in numbers during the birth process?

By Brian Reid |  December 1, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies , Pregnancy
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Comments


Maybe it is an American thing, but most men I know are in the delivery room. My husband was at both my kids births. I think it is nice. I did not feel made the situation stressful at all.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 1, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

"Moms: Have any of you chosen to make sure that dad stays the heck away from the delivery, or was there strength in numbers during the birth process?"

DH and I both faint at the sight of blood and needles, so DH's job was done when he escorted me to the the hospital's admission desk. I also preferred for him not to see my vagina stretch waaay beyond recognition, nor to see me poop during the process.

As always, to each his/her own.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 1, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

DH would have felt left out and very hurt if he had not been allowed in the room for both kids. And it was relief in both cases to have him on my side when the doctors were spouting doom and gloom. But
I agree with jezebel, it's not for everyone.

Posted by: StrollerMomma | December 1, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

If my wife had tried to keep me away from my daughter's birth I think it would have been the beginning of the end for that relationship. That's my child and no one has a right to keep me away from her ever, period, end of story.

Posted by: Voodoo_Idol | December 1, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Whether you want your husband/baby daddy in the delivery room is up to you. What I don't understand is women that want friends and other relatives in the delivery room - like it is some kind of social event. I didn't even want to be there let alone my BFF (sarcasm) and neighbor.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | December 1, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Yet another doctor telling women how to give birth . . . . it's up to the woman and her family to decide who gets to be at the birth, not the doctor (leaving true medical emergencies aside).

Posted by: ishgebibble | December 1, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping there's a translation issue here, since according to his own theory, a male ob-gyn shouldn't be there either. Why do news orgs give people like this platform? Does he have any evidence? Stats of maternal deaths/complications that show more problems when dad's around? That would mean on a busy day in most hospitals, the mom would be alone for much of her labor. I'd be immediately suspicious of any doctor that said he didn't want my husband around during delivery. It reminds me of the ones who don't want you to video tape lest it become evidence in a lawsuit.

Posted by: sjneal | December 1, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I think it is a personal preference and doctors have no business deciding. That said, I personally want my husband there and he would hate to miss it. He is already making it clear at work that he can't travel in the weeks before my due date in case I am early. However, I have heard of women who say they don't want their husbands to see them like that.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 1, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Even if his observations are true, I'd bet that there's a strong sampling bias, with women who choose to go the midwife route being more of the Earth Mother type, at peace with the whole process. Meanwhile, the women who see the pregnancy and childbirth as essentially an inconvenience required to get a baby (no disparagement meant, that's how I see it) will likely want their husbands there *and* be stressed out.

That ignores the fact that the doctor is talking about "shy" hormones that don't come out in the presence of "technology." I'd like to see his studies on what level of technological development keeps those hormone levels appropriately high. Is anything invented before 1950 okay, or are the hormones scared of record players too?

I love it when common beliefs are challenged, but you have to bring some data to the table to be taken seriously.

Posted by: hbc1 | December 1, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Very clearly this is a male doctor and a male blogger even bringing up this subject. Any woman who has actually had a kid knows that - during hard labor, you don't give a rats butt who is in the room. You could be laying on the highway and all you'd care about is getting the whole thing over with. Really.

The only person I actually wanted to see was the anethesiologist and I didn't care whether he/she was male or female.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | December 1, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree with sjneal - why does the media give coverage to these people?

Posted by: dennis5 | December 1, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I've witness the miracle of birth. Absolutely the most emotionally intense, incredibly awesome event my wife and I have ever experienced in our life together. I wouldn't have missed any one of them for the world and if anybody tried to kick me out of the delivery room, they would have to have first pried my cold, dead fingers from the hand of my wife.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 1, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The only person I actually wanted to see was the anethesiologist and I didn't care whether he/she was male or female.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61


Sounds scary but probably logical!!

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 1, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

My husband attended the birth of both of our kids and his presence was a real comfort during the IV insertions and epidurals (I happen to have a fear of needles). I also wanted him there in case I needed somebody to chase down a doctor. Which happened both times as my children seemed to arrive at a shift change or when other babies were being born and we sadly had to demand attention.

BUT...I can kindof see Dr. Odent's point. It was awfully hectic-seeming at the hospital and my husband was naturally a bit nervous. I can imagine that a calmer environment with just a quiet, competant midwife might have been better than all that coaching and "hee-heeh-hoo" breathing, and hospital staff I didn't know coming in and out, and worrying whether my husband would be grossed out by the physical sights of the births (he didn't actually seem grossed out, but who is rational when giving birth?).

Plus, I don't really buy that my husband had some right to be there. It worked out for us, but really when it comes to giving birth, I think the well-being of the mother and child comes first.

Posted by: michelleg1 | December 1, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Did most of you have family visit you after the birth? My husband says it is up to me, but thinks it is odd that I would rather our families wait until we are back at home. I just think I will be really tired and adjusting to breast feeding etc without having my FIL and brother and BIL and SIL watching like we all stood around and did when two of my SIL's had their babys.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 1, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Brian, have you read any of Michel Odent's books? I think they are great; he was way ahead of the curve treating birth as a natural process instead of a disease that needs to be treated.

Anyway, he has made a long career out of making provocative statements about birth and he's been talking about getting dads out of the delivery room for 10 years. I'd expect the first man that Michel Odent would kick out of the birthing room would be the obstetrician, then the dad.

I'm a dad and was in the room for the births of my children (one in a non-U.S. hospital, one at our home) and we had very good experiences having midwives in the room instead of doctors.

Posted by: KS100H | December 1, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower, it's entirely up to you whether you want visitors or not and the hospital staff will work with you to keep people out if you think there might be a problem. I was not happy when my SIL (same one who shut us out of her life for a few months before DS was born, then wondered why she wasn't welcome in the delivery room) barged in, in spite of being told our DD was to be the first one to meet her DBB.
You might be elated and eager to see everyone and show off your child, but you might also want to be cleaned up, rested and back on familiar territory. It is up to YOU, not your DH or any of your respective family members. Fair warning though, this is probably the last thing that will be up to you :)

Posted by: StrollerMomma | December 1, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

DH was absolutely vital when I was in labor, to provide counterpressure and run interference with our very gloomy OB attending.

Sunflower, it's not a bad idea to plan on waiting until you're home to welcome visitors. Otoh, while you're in the hospital, you've got nothing but time, plus if people visit you there, it's very easy. I'd say see how you're felling at the time and act accordingly.

Posted by: newsahm | December 1, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I heart my husband, but he was a pain in the neck during labor. He was so anxious and fidgety and kept leaving to get snacks and take walks. He drove me bonkers. Couple that with almost passing out during the c-section (taking attention off of the surgery at hand) and I'm not sure I'll invite him back for the second. :-)

Posted by: mdem929 | December 1, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

newsahm,

I would prefer we wait but told my hubby we could see how I was feeling when the time comes but he is a planner and thinks we have to tell our families "clear expectations" in advance so no one's feelings are hurt. I love that he is a planner like me usually but how the heck do I know now what I will want then? I expect to be tired but for all I know I will be elated and will want to be surrounded my family!

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 1, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Re: sunflower
My wife's mom was in the room for the birth of the first baby but we didn't have anyone else there for the second. My wife tells me that a couple days before the births her attention turned inward and she could not make decisions on the spot about logistics so it was good that everyone knew what to expect well in advance.

With some families, the birth day can be a major battlefield for setting boundaries with extended family on everything from who is in the room to whether mom is breastfeeding correctly and that is the stress that Michel Odent wants to avoid.

Posted by: KS100H | December 1, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower,

Compromise! Tell your family that you don't know what you will want until after the baby is born. That you may want to wait for visits or you might want visits right away. Tell them that you and/or your husband will let them know what your visitation wishes are after the baby is born. This should satisfy your planner husband and your initial feelings on this matter and still leave the door open if you want to change your mind.

I agree with Stroller Mama about this being one of the last things that is totally up to you.

Posted by: PakeMommy | December 1, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I was very happy to have my husband with me during the induction and finally a c-section for our daughter. I'm normally an anxious person, so it was extremely helpful to have my husband there. Hardly anything can fluster the man, so he's my rock that I depend on.

I also would have preferred if family would have waited until we got home to visit, as I was groggy from the anesthesia and the whole nursing thing was just a nightmare. I'm a very modest person, so there was no way that I was nursing in front of extended family and friends.

And this French doctor can take his mid-wife idea and put it where the sun don't shine. When it came time for another human being to emerge from my body, there was certainly going to be a surgeon available in case something went wrong, which it did.

Posted by: gypsyrom1 | December 1, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I wish i was not in the delivery room. I would have preferred to wait in the waiting room. But since woman have been oprahfied into thinking that men want to be around a somewhat gory, unflattering and unappealing moment, we are stuck pretending that we are so happy to be there. Next time I get a colonoscopy, maybe my wife would like to peer inside the tube and be there for me too...

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I wish i was not in the delivery room. I would have preferred to wait in the waiting room. But since woman have been oprahfied into thinking that men want to be around a somewhat gory, unflattering and unappealing moment, we are stuck pretending that we are so happy to be there. Next time I get a colonoscopy, maybe my wife would like to peer inside the tube and be there for me too...

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse


Is sex the same? Do you go down on your wife as often as before the birth?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 1, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse


Is sex the same? Do you go down on your wife as often as before the birth?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 1, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse


Nope, i never think of her the same. I wouldn't tell her, but it is the truth. Not sexy at all anymore.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Is sex the same? Do you go down on your wife as often as before the birth?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 1, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse


Nope, i never think of her the same. I wouldn't tell her, but it is the truth. Not sexy at all anymore.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I've heard this from a LOT of men.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 1, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I've heard this from a LOT of men.


Because it is the truth. But we all hide it because women can't handle it.I doubt if a bunch of gore flowed from my penis right next to her face that she would think i was sexy either. Some things are better left unobserved.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I can understand not wanting to see family/other guests until you go home, but like a poster stated above - it is so easy to see vistors at the hospital. They can come in, stay 20 minutes, hold the baby, take a picture and then you can pretty much shoo them out... I felt like they lingered longer when they came to our home.

Regardless, we were thrilled to have visitors at the hospital... no one overstayed their welcome and we had a great time. Plus, they want to welcome your new little one into the world - not much harm in that! :)

Posted by: youngnovamama | December 1, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"but he was a pain in the neck during labor…"

Far from uncommon, not just for wives, but hospital staff also. Delivery rooms are prepared to make accommodations for the husband. as getting dizzy and passing out happens to the man more frequently than the laboring woman.

I will also admit to being rude to the staff. After seeing what the phlebotomist did to my wife's arms when they drew blood, and knowing she was a tough stick, when the IV team came to the labor room I told the girl doing the IV insertion flat out, "You only get 2 strikes to hit her vein, then we call the expert. This ain't baseball ya know. OK?"

Three of the 4 times, the IV nurse struck out, and the 4th was a newbie that didn't even take the chance.

Though my wife hates it when I'm rude, especially to nurses, she thanks me for doing this.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 1, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I think that pwaa and jezabel3 bring up an interesting topic since this post is about whether or not to have the husband in the delivery room (not other relatives, which is another topic). The other question is where the husband should be in the room (at the head, or at the feet). Like pwaa said, it's never the same after seeing all of the "gore" going on down there. Most women can't handle that reality but it's true and that's why some doctors and therapists discourage husbands from being in that position. If you ask most men, they will tell you that they would rather not have seen it from that prospective, although they would never tell their wives that.

Posted by: pipe1 | December 1, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The other point about "keeping my child from me" is ridiculous too. You will have that child for decades, a few minutes wait is hardly "keeping" them from you.....

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

pipe1,
Pretty typical for people to bring up other topics on here and I think relatives being there is a closely related topic.

pwaa,

May I ask how long ago your wife gave birth? I am curious if you feel this way because you just witnessed it or if this has stuck with you for a long time? I am glad you brought this up because this has been a secret fear of mine. Does seem like a gross thing to witness even if it's a beautiful thing.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 1, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

pwaa,

May I ask how long ago your wife gave birth? I am curious if you feel this way because you just witnessed it or if this has stuck with you for a long time? I am glad you brought this up because this has been a secret fear of mine. Does seem like a gross thing to witness even if it's a beautiful thing

9 years ago and i feel the same way. I would have preferred to see my glowing wife and new child, but my memory is of a gory site that i felt was distasteful. I feel the same way about an operation, i would not peer inside my wife's body if she had a kidney removed why should i be forced to view this? Because my wife and yours have been brainwashed into believing that we should.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

pwaa,

Is this actually affecting your marriage? One of my pregnancy books mentions this problem and advises that women might not want to have their husbands there. Do you think it would have been better if you stayed near her head?

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 1, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Re: Sunflower, Jez and pwaa
Here's an older article where Michel Odent talks about this issue.
http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/fatherpart.asp

I don't agree with the advice for myself but it certainly is a legitimate concern for some couples. Don't let Odent, Oprah, your OB or a lazy/pushy nurse tell you how you should/not experience birth. It's a big deal: get educated, know yourselves, know your family, make decisions (or others will make them for you) and stick to your guns (which may be a man's job since the mom's attention will be elsewhere).

Posted by: KS100H | December 1, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

pwaa, I don't think it's always true. I asked my husband before we had our first child if he wanted to be in the delivery room or if he thought it would bother him, and he insisted that he wanted to be there. Frankly, it was a transmormative experience for both of us. I made him stay at the head end, though he told me afterwards he did see a lot, because he wanted to see what was going on (this was the same guy who kept getting yelled at to sit down during my c/section 3 years later because he kept trying to look over the curtain). He certaibly could have been there the whole time without seeing anything... all that he would have had to do is not look in that direction. Afterwards, he saw me pretty much as a superhero. He thought the whole experience was awesome. I have other male friends who have talked about their wives' delivery experience with similair enthusiasm. Not all guys are squeamish about a little gore, or else no men would become doctors!

All that said, I think if a man really feels like he doesn't want to see this particular process, it's up to him to say something about it, and he can't really blame anyone else for not being honest. If my husband had told me he really didn't think he could handle it, I would have been a little disappointed but it would have been a heck of a lot better than having him there and then wishing he hadn't been afterwards.

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

previous post should say "transformative." Thought I'd post that before the typo police get up in arms ;).

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

All that said, I think if a man really feels like he doesn't want to see this particular process, it's up to him to say something about it, and he can't really blame anyone else for not being honest. If my husband had told me he really didn't think he could handle it, I would have been a little disappointed but it would have been a heck of a lot better than having him there and then wishing he hadn't been afterwards.

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Dunno if pwaa declined to be there or "chose" to be there to shut up a nagging wife. The point is that he regrets being there and his sex life with his wife has been in the crapper for 9 years and counting. pwaa didn't have a crystal ball...unintended consequences thingy.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 1, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

jezebel,

Maybe you're right... I interpreted his posts as indicating that he *knew* he didn't want to be there and didn't want to say anything to his wife because he was afraid she would be pissed. Not really sure what the alternative is... ban all men from the delivery room because some might not want to be there, but don't want to stand up to the wife? I don't think there's really anything to be done except to tell men that they need to speak up. Honestly, I don't know any women who would have insisted that their husbands be present if told in a reasonable way, I'm afraid this is going to gross me out and wreck our sex life. I suppose it's possible that there are some women who would really be shrews about this, but I find that bizarre, and I think it's a little unfair to assume they would act like that without giving them a chance.

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I also don't quite understand how you would see much if you didn't want to... I talked to my dad about this during my first pregnancy (and he REALLY didn't want to see anything). He sat at the head end with his back to the action, and claims to have seen nothing. Is this not possible? Having never been in a delivery room except to deliver a baby, I'm not 100% sure but it makes sense to me.

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

sorry--- should clarify that Dad was describing attending my MOTHER'S labor, not mine!!

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

All that said, I think if a man really feels like he doesn't want to see this particular process, it's up to him to say something about it, and he can't really blame anyone else for not being honest

BWAAAAAA!!!!except deal with the hurt feelings, emotional baggage, and other assorted nonsense. If you women only knew how much men put up with to avoid this. I have had at least 5 of my friends confide the same thing about the birth of their kids.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

as to my experience it was "ok dad grab a leg!" and then the pushing began, it was entirely too involved for my own taste. Of course I couldn't reasonably say, honey I am just not comfortable, blah blah at that point.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

pwaa,

Does changing diapers bother you? Seeing blood? Puke?

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 1, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

pwaa, see, I could not handle being in a marriage where my husband wouldn't tell me things liks that. I would find it insulting that he considered me such a hothouse flower that he couldn't tell me anything that would make me upset or angry. And it certainly doesn't sound like it would be any fun to be married to someone who was actually like that.

As an aside, it sounds like you don't think a lot of women. Is this an incorrect assumption?

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

pwaa,

Does changing diapers bother you? Seeing blood? Puke?

Nope, changed plenty of diapers, have been peed on , thrown up on, the usual fare for parenting. Just didn't want to see my spouses vagina stretched out with a head sticking out of it, her butthole,afterbirth etc. seems prett reasonable to me..

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I hated watching my wife wince and cry as the nurse fished around for a vein to stick the IV in.

By the time of our 4th child I learned the ropes of the epidural and graciously snuck out of the room before I was pressured into helping out as I had done with the previous labors.

I could have missed witnessing all the IV and epidural episodes and be more the happy for it.

I agree with pwaa, sometimes we are peer pressured into doing things we don't want to, and quite possibly effect our lives in a negative way. Looking at in perspective though, even before the baby comes, sex is gross too. Odors, exchange of narly body fluids, yuck! What's all this baby-making, diaper changing, snot-wiping, vomit cleaning parenting stuff all cracked up to be anyway? Oh yeah, love, that's it, - not exactly custom tailored for the feint of heart.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 1, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

pwaa, see, I could not handle being in a marriage where my husband wouldn't tell me things liks that. I would find it insulting that he considered me such a hothouse flower that he couldn't tell me anything that would make me upset or angry. And it certainly doesn't sound like it would be any fun to be married to someone who was actually like that.

As an aside, it sounds like you don't think a lot of women. Is this an incorrect assumption?

I have news for you, you're husband doesn't tell you alot of things that bother him, that is part of being a man. Second, i dislike what i call the oprah culture of american women. The I am fabulous and everyone should bow to my every whim and desire or they are insensitive clods. Also Brian here is so far removed from the average guy that it is almost a parody.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I could not handle being in a marriage where my husband wouldn't tell me things liks that. I would find it insulting that he considered me such a hothouse flower that he couldn't tell me anything that would make me upset or angry.


Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

How would you respond to your husband saying "Just don't want to see my spouse's vagina stretched out with a head sticking out of it, her butthole, afterbirth etc."?


Posted by: jezebel3 | December 1, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

pwaa,

Glad to see someone else being honest on here and not politically correct even if it means it's your turn to be attacked!

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 1, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Jez, ha, good point. I wouldn't particularly like the crass wording, but I would respect the sentiment behind it. Like I said, I *asked* my husband if he wanted to be there when our first kid was born, because I was worried about this very issue.

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Also Brian here is so far removed from the average guy that it is almost a parody.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Brian wants a brass band and a parade for taking a crap.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 1, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Jez, ha, good point. I wouldn't particularly like the crass wording, but I would respect the sentiment behind it. Like I said, I *asked* my husband if he wanted to be there when our first kid was born, because I was worried about this very issue.

Really? when your friends said, wow, he wasn't there for you? how could he be so insensitive?, why is he disrespecting you? etc etc. Then i doubt you would have been so "ok" with it.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

pwaa, you are making a lot of assumptions. If my friends had had decided to put their two cents in about a decision that personal, I would have told them to shut up. One of my closest friends recently had a homebirth, and everybody and their mother told her it was a bad idea, but you know what? She did it anyway. Women are capable of thinking for themselves, you know.

Honestly, my problem is not at all with men who don't want to be in the delivery room. It's with the idea that women are so fragile, so easily swayed by the media/their friends/etc, that they can't be talked to like they are actual adults.

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

It's with the idea that women are so fragile, so easily swayed by the media/their friends/etc, that they can't be talked to like they are actual adults.

Yawn, ok, we are on the internet, we can pretend that insecurities, culture, peer pressure don't exist and you would boldly defend your husband. wink wink

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

pwaa, you tell yourself whatever you need to in order to make yourself feel better. Myself, I prefer the company of a man with some chutzpah.

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

pwaa, you tell yourself whatever you need to in order to make yourself feel better.


Actually, this better directed at you. Keep the PC fantasy alive that your husband wanted to see you splayed out and finds you still as sexy. oprah would be proud.....

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Oprah: He was never the same.

Dr. Berman: He had watched the childbirth, and he could never look at her genitals the same. Yeah.

Oprah: Yeah. So that's why it's good for a lot of men who may feel that way to stay up top.

Dr. Berman: Stay by the shoulder and look over the shoulder.

Oprah: Stay by the shoulder and look over the shoulder.

Dr. Berman: Not down at the thigh.

Posted by: pipe1 | December 1, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

you are, however, missing the point. If there is a problem to be solved here (ie, some men don't want to be present for L&D), you have yet to offer a solution. And the obvious solution (man should tell wife how he feels) has been dismissed because the wife might be mad. So what is your solution?

Posted by: floof | December 1, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

But isn't viewing a woman's vagina solely for the effect of sexual gratification and not for the functionality of the birth canal the very definition of female objectification?

pwaa, I'm giving you 3 PC demerits. To make up for it, you should go out and buy your wife a bouquet of flowers.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 1, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Isn't there a Jewish law concerning this topic?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 1, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

And the obvious solution (man should tell wife how he feels) has been dismissed because the wife might be mad. So what is your solution?

the same as always, man up. The world is not perfect and she puts up with my crap too. But don't kid yourself that men are not affected by it or really want to see it...

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

pwaa,

But is a diminished sex life worth not making your wife mad? Don't you accidentally make her mad about stupid things on a regular basis that have less of an impact on your marriage than seeing her give birth and then not feeling sexual desire for her?

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 1, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

pwaa,

But is a diminished sex life worth not making your wife mad? Don't you accidentally make her mad about stupid things on a regular basis that have less of an impact on your marriage than seeing her give birth and then not feeling sexual desire for her

I didn't say i didn't feel desire for her just not as much as if i weren't there.But life is what it is, fortunately for humanity, time marches on and memories fade.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Jez -

As far as I know, Jewish law only relates to the amount of time a couple must wait after the completion of menses, or after the birth of a child, before resuming marital relations. I could certainly be wrong, but that's all I remember.

Sunflower - depending on how long and hard your labor and delivery, you may not be ready for comopany for a day or 2, or you may be ready within hours. And frankly, once you get some sleep, company may be very welcome. It's BORING sitting around in a hospital room, even if you're staring at your beautiful new baby, figuring our nursing, etc. I was thrilled to have the company. I actually had a friend who left the hospital after a c-section a day early, because she was going stir crazy. So if the family is local, tell them they'll get the call when they are welcome. If they have to travel, you probably will need to give them some idea of what you want in advance.

pwaa - Not sure how I'd feel if I were married, but I am a single mom with a 7 month old. And when it came time to push, and they offered to set up the mirror, I was grossed out. I can't imagine many men wanting to be at that end of the set up. But I think many are happy to be holding their wives hands, sitting by their shoulders, and hearing their child's first cry. Some of this really is discussing what role you will play in the delivery room, and making sure that, barring medical necessity, the doctors and nurses know that you are there to hold hands, not to help deliver the baby, if that's your decision. My hospital was really great about helping you have the birth you wanted, as much as was medically appropriate.

Posted by: JHBVA | December 1, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

My husband was present at the births of both my children. I would not have it any other way, and neither would he. His presence was comforting and after the birth, very helpful in practical terms.

I did not want any other people present at the birth, but I did want my mother nearby. I also don't mind hospital visitors as long as they keep the visits brief. In fact, I would almost prefer getting hospital visits than home visits. I don't want to play hostess at my home with a newborn.

Posted by: emily8 | December 1, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Whew! Just do whatever-it-is that works for both the laboring woman and her partner. That's NOT going to be the same thing for everybody.

I absolutely wanted DH and my sister with me - and no other relatives at all. I knew those two would be there for *me* when I needed them, and anyone else might/would have their own agenda and wouldn't put it aside for my needs.

DH mentioned that he'd rather not have to watch the gross stuff - or more accurately - that he didn't want to see me suffering. But he was absolutely there for me - even kicked out one of the docs when she expressed doubts (which I didn't hear, fortunately!) that I was going to have a successful VBAC. Told her to "leave the room and don't come back with that attitude."

Did it affect our sex life? Not that I can tell. If he finds me any less appealing and desirable than he did before the boys' births, he's doing a fabulous job of faking his continued interest.

YMMV, of course!

Posted by: SueMc | December 1, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

But I think many are happy to be holding their wives hands, sitting by their shoulders, and hearing their child's first cry

I would agree, i take exception to brian implying that men are gung ho to pull up a chair, a sandwich and make the catch......

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

DH was pretty unsure about viewing the actual birth while I was pregnant... but once the big day came, he was actually pretty intrigued by it all - I was impressed. He checked it out while I declined the mirror - never would've guessed.

...Couldn't have imagined not having him there.

Posted by: youngnovamama | December 1, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Nobody has told me yet about the mirror...have been told about pooping. Sounds like it's going to be great fun!

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 1, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe we still don't have a better way to reproduce. Anything that makes the person giving birth even a teeny tiny bit more uncomfortable needs to be avoided without question (except needed medical intervention, of course). If she wants you there, be there, facing away from the action if you wish. If not, step into the waiting room and don't pout or scream about your "rights" and hurt feelings. If you are in the way of the doctor, think about someone besides yourself and figure out a way not to be. It's not rocket science.

Posted by: rh36 | December 1, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"Also Brian here is so far removed from the average guy that it is almost a parody.

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Brian wants a brass band and a parade for taking a crap.

Posted by: jezebel3"

Best exchange of the day!

I don't doubt what pwaa is saying is true, so I think the advice to stand up by the shoulder is a good one. Watching a c-section is probably pretty iffy too, they were very careful with my husband during mine telling him to stand back. He's a nosey body though and watched the whole damn think like it was medical theater.

My SIL is a labor and delivery nurse and apparently lots of men can't even watch the epidural needle go in, fainters are quite common. And yes, women poop in labor - she told me about this before my first was born and I was a little freaked out.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | December 1, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I would say it not only depends on the couple, but also the birth, and it can be hard to predict. My 2 experiences were night and day different in so many ways, but I'm glad my husband was there to crush his hand when things really hurt -- I couldn't do that to someone I don't know.
Our second arrived about a week after the H1N1 visitation restrictions went into effect, so my husband was the only one allowed to attend the birth and visit while in the hospital. Decision made for me; yes, it might have been nice to see folks, but I was so wiped anyway that it was fine not having to be coherent on someone else's schedule.

Posted by: library2 | December 1, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I was there for all four of ours and would NOT have missed it for anything. The girls were all born in Maryland; same hospital, same OB, and I "saw it all", so to speak. DS was born in Colorado; was at DW's shoulder for that one because the OB wanted me the Hades out of the way.

pwaa - gotta say that my experience was different from yours. If anything, there was more desire after seeing DW give birth. Yeah, things are never the same; but it doesn't mean they can't be better! :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

This exchange reminds me of that old saying about it being a good thing that men aren't the ones who actually have to give birth. What a bunch of weenies.

pwaa - some day your wife will probably be wiping your butt and changing your Depends. And I'll bet she won't whine about it to all her friends.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | December 1, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

As others have written, it is up to the mother for who is there. But the fathers (or anyone else) have the option to refuse to be there. I opted for my hubby only. I asked him to stay above the waist line, so he wouldn't see the gore. If you haven't been there, its impossible to not see in most delivery rooms unless the hubby stays in one spot the entire time.
But, he was a life saver. For my second delivery, my husband was the only one with me most of the time. He was the one to run and get the doctor after asking for one for 90 minutes. Our sex life has not changed, except we have to schedule it around kids being asleep. Every birth is different, every relationship is different. I am so thankful my husband was there.
As far as midwives, I was seeing a midwife for my first son until I developed severe complications. She knew I was developing preeclampsia but did not take the condition seriously. Its a miracle our son made it. Maybe some midwives are great, but midwives aren't all that. I'd rather have a living son than be "earthy" about pregnancy and delivery.

Posted by: aimeeconnelly | December 1, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

pwaa - some day your wife will probably be wiping your butt and changing your Depends. And I'll bet she won't whine about it to all her friends.

Maybe, but i doubt she will be wanting to get it on anytime soon after that.....

Posted by: pwaa | December 1, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Congrats library2!

My advice for any man invited to the L&D rooms:Whatever you do to pass the time and comfort your wife, do not, I repeat, DO NOT crack any elephant jokes. They go over about as well as a lead balloon. Don't ask me how I know...

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 1, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

lol Wacky! A friend of mine is in labor right now and the husband is periodically updating everyone on Facebook - how times have changed! Not to mention all their friends are making suggestions on "push presents" for the mother. What the hell? Isn't the baby the present?

Posted by: cheekymonkey | December 1, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Interesting topic and discussion. I believe each couple needs to come up with what is best for them. Unless the husband is a medical person with a good background in childbirth, having someone (whether a doula or a family/friend with this knowledge)to be the advocate and help make decisions during the process is essential for good outcomes. In our case, my mother, an OB nurse, was my main support, allowing my husband to come and go during the 14 hour labor as he could handle the process or as I needed his hand holding.

Posted by: NutritionistMom | December 1, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

The absolutely WORST husband story: My cousin's husband was present when she gave birth to their first child. He took lots of photos ... of a very gory Caesarian. And, some years later, showed them to the child in question. (Can you spell "guilt"?)

Posted by: PLozar | December 1, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

TheRealTruth makes a triumphant return, and announces today's eagerly anticipated Poster of the Day award goes to pwaa for his comment:

"Also Brian here is so far removed from the average guy that it is almost a parody."

Posted by: TheRealTruth | December 1, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I needed my husband during labor. After two days of pitocin and only dilating to 4 cm, I wouldn't listen/couldn't hear anyone other than him. Things got much better after I finally accepted that I wasn't going to be able to deliver naturally and got the epidural. Neither one of us wanted to see the actual birth. Based on today's comments, I think my husband and I will have an interesting conversation this evening.

Posted by: PakeMommy | December 1, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I want to salute the gentlemen like Brian and my DH, who are "so far removed from the average guy".

As a woman who is also "far removed from the average", I'd be very lost and lonely without 'em.

Posted by: SueMc | December 1, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

This is VERY strange to hear from Michel Odent. He was one of the first to advocate natural childbirth, gentle birth, LeBoyer baths, etc, and has always been full of compassion & in favor of guarding women in labor from a cold, clinical environment. I wonder if his remarks were taken out of context, I read his books years ago and every midwife in America has read them too and learned from them.

Posted by: liziko | December 1, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

This was a really interesting topic. Thanks to pwaa and the others who make me appreciate how much my husband rocks.

Our intimate life seemed to actually improve after the birth of our first daughter, so despite pwaa's 5 best friends sharing his revulsion of the birth scene, I don't think every man has the same experience.

Posted by: michelleg1 | December 2, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Re:liziko
Not out of context at all; it's the same Odent we know. Read this old Midwifery magazine article to read his thoughts on the psychological complexities of birthing and sexual relationships (or read pwaa's post for a simplified version).
http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/fatherpart.asp

I'm glad I didn't follow Odent's advice on attending my wife's births but it seems there are some dads who would have liked to skip it.

As I posted earlier, I'm a big Odent fan and I suspect he would kick the average American obstetrician out of the birthing room before the dad.

Posted by: KS100H | December 2, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Told my husband about our topic yesterday and asked him to seriously think about whether or not it would affect him to see me give birth. He said the guys on here complaining sound like wimps. Said every guy he knows who is a father was in the room. I do have to wonder though if a lot of guys secretly feel grossed out and unattracted to their wives afterward and just dont tell anyone...

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 2, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower,
I think pwaa is an extreme case, and a sad one at that. I summarized this dicussion to my husband yesterday and he laughed at the idea that he could have less desire towards me... like Armybrat above, he was amazed by what I did that day and has more desire than ever.

That isn't to say that he wasn't squeamish at the sight of our daughter's head crowning... and he's still in awe of how much blood there was. Sorry for the TMI, but it is what it is! :)

Posted by: youngnovamama | December 2, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower,

When I brought this discussion up with my husband last night, he snorted and said "You know, I am capable of making decisions on my own. I was there for you and the baby. I just didn't look!" In retrospect, seems pretty simple and straightforward.

Posted by: PakeMommy | December 2, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

What about the detrimental effect on the couple's sex life of having the husband present during the delivery?

I never would have let dh be there had I known that.

Posted by: csherr | December 2, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"I do have to wonder though if a lot of guys secretly feel grossed out and unattracted to their wives afterward and just dont tell anyone..."

No.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 2, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I see that all of your husbands did their duty. "No honey, i wouldn't find you less sexy at all, no honey that dress does not make you look fat, no honey, i would love to go scrapbooking with you, yawn. When will women ever learn. LOL

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I guess I'm also "far removed from the average guy." We had a home birth, I was present, and that I could be there with my wife and daughter is the most significant experience of my life.

Whether or not he truly speaks for the majority, I find pwaa's point of view sad and disappointing.

We spend a lot of time trying to maintain the comfortable illusion that being alive isn't a sloppy, glandular process. Life is distasteful; birth is one of those instances where you can't hide from that messy reality. It's sad that protecting your fragile sensibilities takes precedence over being with your wife to experience the arrival of your child.

So yeah, birth is actually what your wife's hoo-ha was designed for. Difficult to handle, but true.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

you aren't married to LN from AWAY WE GO are you?

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

So yeah, birth is actually what your wife's hoo-ha was designed for. Difficult to handle, but true.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse


Hoo-ha? Do you mean vagina?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 2, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why it is so hard to understand where pwaa is coming from. First and foremost for many, a birth is a medical procedure. Some people can't get past seeing their wives in this circumstance, whether it be a vaginal or c-section delivery, for some period of time.

I have a friend that has 4 kids, 3 of them born via c-section. When discussing the possibility of a 5th the husband was honest and said it was very hard to see his wife split open and he feared for her health. I don't think there was a sexual component, but his experience was not a good one in the delivery room. She understood his concern and they didn't have another baby. No regrets on either end as far as I know.

Further, men and women have so many different reactions to pregnancy and birth. I can't understand people that love, love, love being pregnant and giving birth!!! lalalalala - oh happy days! To me it was a means to an end, period. I was miserable most of the time in both my pregnancies and found child birth somewhat frightening, and to some degree embarrassing. Fortunately I got over it and as pwaa says, time will diminish his memories.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | December 2, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

pwaa: Haven't seen it, thanks for the thoughtful response anyway.

jezebel3: Yes, or, by its other colloquial term, birth canal. I wanted to make sure pwaa knew what I was talking about. Or should I have just said hole?

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I guess I'm also "far removed from the average guy."


God, I hope so.


"We had a home birth, I was present, and that I could be there with my wife and daughter is the most significant experience of my life."

Get out of the house much?

"It's sad that protecting your fragile sensibilities takes precedence over being with your wife to experience the arrival of your child."

Why is it sad? Is there any evidence that being with the wife to experience the arrival of the child is of any benefit except your warm, fuzzy feeling crap?

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Oh, brother! Are you really a man? No wonder some women are attracted by "bad boys".

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 2, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

cheekymonkey: Yeah, for a lot of people, birth is viewed as both a medical intervention and a medical necessity. I think that's where viewpoints like pwaa's come from; birth is this gross thing that needs to be contained away within the sterile* walls of a hospital for specialists to deal with. I think that's kind of silly.

I agree with you that pregnancy and birth are scary, stressful things, but they're also natural things. Your body was designed to do all the things it does. Most people *don't* need the full-on medical intervention of a hospital birth, but we're kind of conditioned to think that we do. Granted, it's great to have all the medical technology if the baby's or mother's life is in danger, but that is not the norm, and it all gets away from the fact that hey, this is life. People have been doing this for a lot longer than there have been hospitals to hide it from view.

I also would be fearful and stressed to see my wife split open. Major abdominal surgery is, well, major.

* antibiotic-resistant staph notwithstanding

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I see that all of your husbands did their duty. "No honey, i wouldn't find you less sexy at all, no honey that dress does not make you look fat, no honey, i would love to go scrapbooking with you, yawn. When will women ever learn. LOL

Posted by: pwaa

Pwaa, I do find you refreshing on here. I don't really like Oprahized guys either. But I do think my husband is telling me the truth. We are pretty honest with each other. And it's not that he will find me sexy while I am giving birth-I think the whole point is that when you are married you aren't always sex objects to each other and some guys are mature enough to realize their wives bodies have multiple functions. I am already starting to pee myself now this early in my pregnancy and I know that isn't a turn on for him when I announce just peed myself again. Or when I get puke on myself. But somehow our sex life continues and I will admit it does surprise me sometimes that he still finds me attractive when I am not feeling very sexy these days!

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 2, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Jezebel3: Alas, my masculinity has been impugned! I die!

So, uh, is this the point where I attack your femininity for not wanting a supporting husband who hasn't spent the last 9 years silently bearing the weight of having seen your bloodied vagina?

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower571: Honesty is good, and your mileage with how you deal with birth will vary; like I said, life is gross.

I think it's commendable that you and your husband 1) have discussed it and 2) are honest with each other. What I take great issue with is the blanket statement that "all guys think it's gross and lie to their wives, lol." Generalizing adds nothing to the conversation.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Jezebel3: Alas, my masculinity has been impugned! I die!

So, uh, is this the point where I attack your femininity for not wanting a supporting husband who hasn't spent the last 9 years silently bearing the weight of having seen your bloodied vagina?

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse


Yes, die doughboy. For now I impugn your intelligence. Sexual attraction is rarely a choice!! Duh? And I already mentioned that I told my husband to stay out of the labor & delivery rooms. I didn't need his support to pop a baby. And I can't stand martyrs - code for I won't bang a martyr, gomer. Sheesh. Missing John Wayne soo much......

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 2, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

jezebel - John Wayne wouldn't have been whining about a little blood. He'd have delivered the baby himself while still fighting the Indians or tracking the bad guys.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | December 2, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower, you've been a good sport. Good luck with your pregnancy!

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I asked DH last night, "Did seeing the boys' births make you feel like I was less sexually attractive?" without explaining anything from this blog. We were watching our last-week's recording of "Glee" at the time, so the character of the pregnant cheerleader gave me a plausible context for the question.

He laughed. Then he topped-up my wine glass.

After our TV show was over and the boys had gone to bed, DH led me to our bedroom and performed oral sex on me (among other things - all quite fun).

I think his point was pretty clear. He still likes my "hoo ha" as much as ever. But I may keep asking the question from time to to time, just because his answer was such a good one. (grin)

Posted by: SueMc | December 2, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

jezebel - John Wayne wouldn't have been whining about a little blood. He'd have delivered the baby himself while still fighting the Indians or tracking the bad guys.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | December 2, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

True, but he wouldn't be looking for a medal. Real heroes rarely do.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 2, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

After our TV show was over and the boys had gone to bed, DH led me to our bedroom and performed oral sex on me (among other things - all quite fun).

Posted by: SueMc | December 2, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

pwaa rules!

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 2, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Jezebel3: The fact that you think I'm somehow fishing for a medal for being present at my child's birth leads me to believe you've missed the point entirely. This should not surprise me as much as it does.

GroovisMaximus61: I am internet-fist-bumping you.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Sue - we can always count on you for a good retort!

Context, people, context. Giving birth is ONE of the purposes of the female genitalia; not 'the real purpose' or the 'primary purpose' or... Sheesh - they taught us that in 8th grade sex ed at the Army dependent school in Germany. "ARMY TRAINING, SIR!" :-)

Other purposes include sexual intercourse, and facilitating urination.

(I use the term "female genitalia" to include the entire system. Many people seem to confuse the vagina, which is an internal part, with the vulva, which is the external part and is often the focus of sexual pleasure.)

Seeing my wife spread open during birth did not excite me. On the other hand, I don't get excited by her urinating, either, and that's another primary purpose of the organs.

But in the context of sexual arousal - one of the other primary purposes - well, them parts can still get me goin', that's fer sher, dadgumit!

I don't know why, but it seems like pwaa and some other have trouble segregating by context, while I certainly don't. Maybe it's just 'cos I'm a geek. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 2, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Totally off topic but what the heck? Are any of you grossed out by breast feeding? I really don't like watching people do this. My DH's family is pretty brazen about this. They pop out their boobs anywhere and let the baby go at it. As one of my SILs said, "I am not going to let anyone stop me from feeding my baby." I just don't get why she has to do it in the middle of the mall on a bench when there are women's lounge areas available these days or in my house at the dining room table instead of upstairs in a bedroom. As my one aunt says, "Yes, breast feeding is natural but so is crapping and I don't care to see anyone do that."

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 2, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

After our TV show was over and the boys had gone to bed, DH led me to our bedroom and performed oral sex on me (among other things - all quite fun).

Posted by: SueMc | December 2, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

ugg, keep your garanimals to your self....

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

After our TV show was over and the boys had gone to bed, DH led me to our bedroom and performed oral sex on me (among other things - all quite fun).

Posted by: SueMc | December 2, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse


What was the TV show that took priority over sex?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 2, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

pwaa,

Thank you!

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 2, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy, Sunflower, we were just winding down this thread and you have to mention breastfeeding. Not everyone agrees on this subject (!) but you know how you feel and you should be true to that.

Posted by: KS100H | December 2, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower, I am on the same page as your aunt. I didn't breastfeed my first but am considering bf'ing the second come next summer... still up in the air... but I absolutely don't see the need to whip it out in public for all to see.

Posted by: youngnovamama | December 2, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

...cut off before I could finish typing!

Anyways, while I understand that your breasts are functioning as a source of food for your child, I think people should also take into consideration that they ARE sexual organs as well (although I'm sure some may disagree)... and doesn't need to be out there. I have many friends who discreetly BF in public (and not even in the women's lounge... but out in public) but you'd never know.

Posted by: youngnovamama | December 2, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it is hard to get where pwaa is coming from. I do feel bad for his wife. Although, if she hasn't noticed his repulsion in 9 years...maybe she doesn't care. But I find the comments above from pwaa about his life partner sad.

I don't take issue with medical procedures being difficult in degrees for different people, as cheekymonkey described. Heck, I was queasy while delivering both of my children and before I did it, I was pretty much afraid I'd pass out from the gross-ness or pain and I can understand a man feeling a little squeamish. But that is different that saying "all men who attend deliveries will be secretely grossed out by their wive's bodies for years. And if they say different, they are lying." Come on!


Posted by: michelleg1 | December 2, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: SueMc | December 2, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse


What was the TV show that took priority over sex?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 2, 2009 1:05 PM

Please go back and read the first paragraph from the post you partially quoted. I named the show.

Not that any particular *recorded* show is a priority - but getting teens settled for the night is. Coping with interruptions from toddlers used to be much easier. Now we aim to prevent any possibility of children interrupting us during our "grown up times".

Posted by: SueMc | December 2, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I think all of you responding today are simply jealous - 'cause I got *some* last night, and it was *good*.

Posted by: SueMc | December 2, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

SueMc-

Just last night? Not every night? Is that what happens when the kids become teenagers?

Posted by: michelleg1 | December 2, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I am not repulsed by my wife, i just was not as attracted to her as i once was in general sense and that was much stronger in the first couple of years. I have gotten over it, i just wish i had not experienced it in the first place. My posts were really to bring up the fact that most men do not want to see process of birth right up close next to the wife's vagina and that it is not appealing.

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: michelleg1 | December 2, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

By the way, why don't you get a bird's eye view of your husbands hemorrhoid operation and then let us know how sexy he seems then.......

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

pwaa,

whenever you tell your honest opinion on here, when it's not the PC thing to say, prepare to have everyone jump on you and twist your words...

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 2, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention that while watching the birth made me less hot for my wife, watching her breastfeed got me all hot again.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

pwaa - serious question: before your first baby was born, did knowledge of your wife's urination impact on your sex drive? Because that's another, non-sexual purpose for that part of her body.

WRT Sue's activities of last night:-) - I know a number of people who claim that they'll never put their mouth NEAR that thing because of that other use for it "because of what comes out of it". And this applies to both men talking about women and women talking about men. While the act of urination certainly doesn't turn me on, the fact that "this thing is used for that purpose at other times" doesn't shut down my drive, at all, in the proper context.

And I regard watching the birth of my kids the same way. Knowing that "this thing was used for that purpose at some other time" doesn't impact my feelings toward it, right now.

Oh, I certainly didn't find the act of birth arousing - didn't have any thoughts at all of 'wow, we need to get it on, NOW'. But that memory doesn't seem to come up when we're involved in sexual activities either.

And I would hope that DW feels the same way; that is, wrt your comment about watching the hemorrhoid operation, I doubt seriously that DW would be excited at all while watching that. But I would hope that later on, when everything's healed, she'd still be turned on by my cute little boo-tay. :-) :-)

So I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 2, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

As one of my SILs said, "I am not going to let anyone stop me from feeding my baby." I just don't get why she has to do it in the middle of the mall on a bench when there are women's lounge areas available these days or in my house at the dining room table instead of upstairs in a bedroom. As my one aunt says, "Yes, breast feeding is natural but so is crapping and I don't care to see anyone do that


My view is that breastfeeding is nothing more than a baby taking food. So if you eat at the dining room table or seated with family, it is perfectly appropriate for the baby to do so as well. The comparison to crapping is just not on point. I doubt your SIL changes her baby's diaper on the dining room table, and if she did, I would completely agree with you that this is gross. But breastfeeding does is not synonymous with public defacation. It is nothing more, and nothing less, than a baby having a meal. And as far as I am concerned, babies should be allowed to eat in public.

Posted by: emily8 | December 2, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 2, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

You like golden showers don't you armybrat.....

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

pwaa - nope; thought I've made that clear several times.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 2, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

OK. This is gross.

Posted by: emily8 | December 2, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't take issue with the fact that pwaa said something that isn't PC. I take issue with comments like:

"I've heard this from a LOT of men. Because it is the truth. But we all hide it because women can't handle it."

"Keep the PC fantasy alive that your husband wanted to see you splayed out and finds you still as sexy. oprah would be proud....."

"I see that all of your husbands did their duty. "No honey, i wouldn't find you less sexy at all, no honey that dress does not make you look fat, no honey, i would love to go scrapbooking with you, yawn. When will women ever learn. LOL"

I have huge problems with people who claim to have the inside track on human behavior, specifically "guys' guys" who have annointed themselves Speakers For All Men. I take issue with pwaa's broadstroke generalizations which he ascribes to all men, everywhere. Speak for yourself, not for everyone else.

Aside from that, I think it's sad that pwaa, his 5 friends, and some yet-unspecified portion of the population would feel the way they do, but I don't contest that. I think it needed to be said, though, that this is not the Official Guy party stance, because to assume such a thing exists is fallacy.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The other thing about breastfeeding in public. I have never seen a nursing mother pull off her shirt and nurse bare breasted in public. The public nursing that I see is very discreet, and you can usually only see the baby's head and maybe a tiny bit of skin (not the nipple because it is in the baby's mouth). You see more breast on the cover of people magazine than on a nursing mother, so I don't get what the big deal is. My sense is that people are bothered not by the actual amount of breast that they see when a baby nurses, but by the idea of public breastfeeding, even when done discreetly. Not sure why. But people need to get over it.

Posted by: emily8 | December 2, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

emily8: I agree. Natural process, baby needs to eat, people need to get over it.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Just last night? Not every night? Is that what happens when the kids become teenagers?

Posted by: michelleg1 | December 2, 2009 2:45 PM

I had intended my little taunt to be my last word on this topic. But, you asked fair questions...

We had sex at LEAST daily for about the first six months or so of the relationship. But that was over 25 years ago. 22 years of marriage, both of us in our 50's, *extra* discression needed around the boys, DH's assorted health issues...

Many and various factors seem to have added up over the decades. I'd be very surprised to find any couple like us that still does the "horizontal rumba" on a daily basis.

Not a big deal, really, as long as the marriage has been based as much on compatibility during the 23 hours a day devoted to everything else, as the single hour devoted to physical intimacy.
(Note: I'm guessing at averages, and I expect that many individuals will have experienced significant differences from my guesses.)

Posted by: SueMc | December 2, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: dimsum242

Oh, dimsum, dimsum, You really should see AWAY WE GO, i think LN's husband was patterned after you....

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Who is LN?

Posted by: emily8 | December 2, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

By the way, why don't you get a bird's eye view of your husbands hemorrhoid operation and then let us know how sexy he seems then.......

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 3:02 PM

Okay, ya got me one more time.

Last spring I was present for DH's colonscopy. Didn't hurt my attraction to him at all - that is, once his anesthetic wore off.

Posted by: SueMc | December 2, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"Who is LN?"

See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1176740/

(haven't seen the movie; have no interest in doing so based on the marketing. But this one just took elementary Google skillz. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 2, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"whenever you tell your honest opinion on here, when it's not the PC thing to say, prepare to have everyone jump on you and twist your words..."

Oh, c'mon Sunflower. The problem isn't his point of view, it's his insistence that everyone other man in the world shares it and is lying to spare us weak females. That's crap and I thought you were smart enough to know it, but maybe not. It's fine if he didn't want to see it, and it's unfortunate for him that he wasn't willing to speak his mind. That doesn't mean it's that way for everyone else.

I firmly believe that you have the marriage you create. pwaa has apparently created a marriage in which he is afraid to be honest, while blaming that fear on allegedly weak females. The question for you is what kind of marriage you have - will your husband be honest with you? Do you guys normally work through difficult questions well and with honesty? Or do you tend to work around them and avoid conflict? If you think he will be honest, then let him decide for himself, because not every man feels the same way pwaa does. If you know that he may not, and if you know he's squeamish or uncomfortable with that kind of intimacy (things to consider might be does he mind seeing you pee? hearing you fart?), then let him off the hook yourself. But for crying out loud, don't let some random internet poster speak for all men everywhere.

We had a lovely birth with a midwife in a birth center attached to hospital. My husband was amazing, and when he talks about it, the look in his eyes is about as far from revulsion as you can get. It brought us even closer than we were and is clearly a source of joy for him too. I'm sure pwaa thinks he's just lying, but I know he's not that good of an actor.

As for breastfeeding, if you decide to do it for any length of time, you too may find that you don't feel the need to isolate yourself from human company every time your child needs to eat. Or you may find that you do prefer privacy. You may strike a balance with one of the cover things. Either way, you might want to lay off being judgmental of women who choose to go about their lives while they breastfeed rather than treating it like some secret shame.

Posted by: LizaBean | December 2, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I did the debate with Michel Odent last week in UK. It is amazing to see the debate go international like this - and there is a lot more discussion in US than here in UK where it started. You will be pleased to know that the great majority of the 400 student midwives who attended the debate voted against Michel Odent!

Here is the link to the speech that I made - the media only reported on Michel's position, sadly.

http://www.duncanfisher.com/index.php/2009/11/27/should-men-be-at-the-birth-of-babies-what-i-said-in-the-debate-with-michel-odent/

Posted by: duncan8 | December 2, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I firmly believe that you have the marriage you create. pwaa has apparently created a marriage in which he is afraid to be honest, while blaming that fear on allegedly weak females.


you said weak females not me. Lay off the oprah, men constantly do things they don't want to do because it is easier than dealing with the fallout. Take it or leave it......

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

whenever you tell your honest opinion on here, when it's not the PC thing to say, prepare to have everyone jump on you and twist your words...

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 2, 2009 3:15 PM

Twist his words? No one needed to. Dimsum did an admirable job of capturing the highlights of pATRICK's . .Oops! pwaa's . . . statements a few posts back. There's nothing either PC or NOT PC about claiming to speak for others.

Characterizing ignorance as honesty doesn't make it any more ignorant. The problem with pwaa's statements isn't that he holds those opinions for himself. It's that he claims to speak for 50% of the population and insults the other 50%. Honesty would be if he made those statements about himself and his wife and identified them properly as anecdotal. Claiming that all real men agrees with him doesn't convert an anecdote into data; it only reveals his insecurity, though, and that he can't speak for himself. Like a lame rap artist, pwaa has to claim he's got a posse around him to gain credibility. It didn't work.

Posted by: anonfornow | December 2, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

pwaa: Here, I'll repost this, you seemed to have missed it:

>> pwaa: Haven't seen it, thanks for the thoughtful response anyway.

The ad hominem stuff isn't a substitute for the actual discussion, but it's easier than formulating a thought.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

You guys have been talking about pwaa's comments for the last 2 days. Even after another topic was posted. I don't particularly agree with him but he obviously has touched a nerve in many of you. I've never seen one person's opinion have such an impact. I'm sure you've made him a very happy poster.

Posted by: pipe1 | December 2, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Twist his words? No one needed to. Dimsum did an admirable job of capturing the highlights of pATRICK's . .Oops! pwaa's . . . statements a few posts back. There's nothing either PC or NOT PC about claiming to speak for others.

I see the oprah clones are counterattacking...Yes men, want to go antiquing, yes men want to guard your purse at the mall,yes want to see gore spew forth from your vagina and look lovingly into your eyes while it happens,LOL. This is what Oprah says so it must be true..Your husbands tell you that to avoid a hassle.....Just becuase you desperately don't want to believe it is irrelevant. PC states that all men must cater to women's needs or they are insensitive, a dinosaur blah blah blah

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"men constantly do things they don't want to do because it is easier than dealing with the fallout"

Chickens. And I hate Oprah, but then, I like my men strong, not just pretending to be strong.

And if you didn't mean weak females, then what did you mean by saying "women can't handle it."?

Posted by: LizaBean | December 2, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

pipe1: After all that, you're probably right. I call troll.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

pipe1: After all that, you're probably right. I call troll.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 4:55 PM

I call wuss.....

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

pwaa: How lucky we are to have the insight of such an astute study of human behavior and relations. Please, continue.

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, adios got things to do. You can go back to discussing the best place for Brian and Dimsum to be fitted for their empathy belly.....

Posted by: pwaa | December 2, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"I call wuss.....

Posted by: pwaa"

Hee hee, that's kind of funny, considering who it's coming from.

Posted by: LizaBean | December 2, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

pipe1 gets it. Troll, troll, troll the blog, gently down the stream...

I was surprised that such a topic got so many comments, then realized it was a troll fest.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 2, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh, c'mon Sunflower. The problem isn't his point of view, it's his insistence that everyone other man in the world shares it and is lying to spare us weak females. That's crap and I thought you were smart enough to know it, but maybe not. It's fine if he didn't want to see it, and it's unfortunate for him that he wasn't willing to speak his mind. That doesn't mean it's that way for everyone else.
-LizBean

I did say above that I think a) not every man minds and b) that some men are honest. But I still agree with his basic point that not all guys are Oprah approved.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 2, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Disclosure: I took my wife's name when we married, so yeah, I am sure I'm in the minority when it comes to my views of gender and culture's expectations of it. People like pwaa are throughly invested in those norms for whatever reason; it's funny to me.

Suffice it to say I am used to attacks on my masculinity. :D

Posted by: dimsum242 | December 2, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Sunflower, perhaps I misunderstood - I thought you were suggesting that it was his desire to not be in the delivery room and his resulting reactions that caused the uproar among other posters, rather than his absurd generalities about women and men.

But heck yeah, not all men are Oprah approved - which is just fine by me! :)

Posted by: LizaBean | December 3, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower - You may not look back at this, but I'll take a crack. I think pwaa was deliberately trolling. Say something designed to generate outrage and egg everyone on. My wife had a C-section (twins), but I think virtually every guy out there has had a human health class or gone through a birth support class has seen pictures of what happens when a baby is born. If pwaa couldn't handle that, then he wouldn't have been looking. So, I think pwaa is just yanking everyone's chain.

Your own contributions are of a quite different character. I disagreed with you on the whole security issue, mainly because I consider relative income levels to be a transitory matter. It is something that every couple should take seriously. No need to rehash that. Point being, you're a serious contributor to the blog. In my opinion, pwaa isn't. To each his own.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 4, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

My husband was present for the births of both our daughters, and he wouldn't have missed either one of them for the world! For our first, it was a last-minute hospital delivery (our midwife was on vacation that week and the one who was on call wasn't licensed to practice in the state where the birth center was, so off to the hospital we went-the LAST place I wanted to be!). To make things even crazier, I had a fast enough labor that my veteran-firefighter husband spazzed out and called 911, so we basically bypassed the admitting area and went straight to the birthing floor. When they wanted my husband to come back down and take care of the admitting process, he told them they could do it by phone, because he wasn't going ANYWHERE!

For our second, his presence was even more valued because I had back labor the whole time (no epidural-between the idea of a needle entering my spinal column and a Foley entering my urethra, I only wanted to entertain the possibility of that procedure only if I had a medical reason...say, a C-section!), which meant he was rubbing my back during each contraction. 4 1/2 hours of that makes him a valued asset in my book, and if he'd tried to escape anywhere, I swear I'd have beaned his butt! For our second birth, we also had our older daughter in the room as well-we see birth as a family process, and she would've been ROYALLY P.U.'ed to miss it! Far from being traumatized by the process, she was thrilled to see her little sister be born (and we gave her the job of announcing the new baby's gender since we'd opted not to find out beforehand), and the two of them now are inseparable!

As for me and my husband's sex life after two kids, it's actually improved, so I guess that's one more vote for blowing the sex-gets-worse-after-childbirth theory out of the water!

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | December 4, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

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