Skip to comments.My Pregnant Wife: An Unexpected Target in the Culture Wars
Posted on 04/02/2005 4:36:04 AM PST by gobucks
"Don't you dare guilt your wife into having a natural childbirth!", I am told by a nice woman I know at church. I have known this lady for some time, and we have never talked politics. Suddenly, my wife is hot political topic #1. And though the politics are 'under the radar', my wife is clearly a target in the ongoing cultural war.
Until my wife started to dramatically enlarge during this last trimester, comments like these had been few. Now, it is a torrent. "What hospital? What OB? You are getting an epidural, right? What brand of formula do you plan to use (as if we will collapse immediately into the arms of the Enfamil salesman)? You are not going to breast feed too long, are you? Are you on a waiting list yet for infant day care?"
My wife and I, married over 10 years with all kinds of issues associated with getting pregnant are about to be parents of a boy in a few weeks. We are of course, thrilled and overjoyed.
But the political overtones of how we bring him into the world are just unreal. The unending stream of opinion and advice about it, with over 95 percent of it being something like this: "don't be stupid. Get the epidural." We have yet to have a single woman report to us that having her baby in a fully undrugged state was a good idea.
Why is labor today so terrifying for women? Why is it that husbands are being taught that encouraging a woman to experience a full unmedicated delivery is akin to treating her like a barbarian? Heck, I've told my wife I am not the one having the baby, and thus, I'm not about to dictate to her how it should be done; I simply said I like the idea of natural childbirth and that is it. Why is this so politically incorrect? Why are hordes of women pouring out of the woodwork yelling at us to make sure she gets the drugs, the epidural?
What the heck is going on such that bringing a child into the world has to be so .... upsetting?
And these are women at my church! I can just imagine what a hapless secular woman in some lonely cul-de-sac must endure.
I'm a typical Chistian man with a very pregnant wife. I have an atypical enthusiasm for most things associated with FreeRepublic. I'm looking for reports from any of you husbands (or their wives) out there have experienced the kind of unreal cultural pressure my wife and I have undergone as this last trimester winds down.
I have googled around, looking for articles about this - and it is just about nada. Mostly stuff on teen pregnancy and abortion. Zilch regarding ordinary married folks who are being pressured to have a 'modern' birth experience.
I'm I the only one who is seeing how a pregnant woman is somehow a political lightning rod these days?
We're also reading up on the Bradley method of natural childbirth. And we're also pretty sure breast milk, my wife's, is going to be diet item #1 for a good while. And we're also pretty sure infant day care is going to be provided by us, not some pretty building with cartoon characters in the window...
(And we're pretty sure, too, that this boy will grow up to vote Republican like a man should.)
Breaking news vanity?
It's called PAIN!!
I did it twice and while during each delivery I thought I had completely lost my mind for doing so, I was glad afterward that I had and I still am.
Congratulations to you and your wife and frankly, just ignore everyone.
" It's called PAIN!!"
Well, of course. But why is it that nearly all women, and their husbands, are being taught that labor pain MUST be drugged away? Why is this dogma so profoundly steeped in our culture?
While it sounds like people are being heavy-handed and stupid, I have to agree with them.
Our son is now 18, and one of the OB-GYNs in the delivering practice was an old-school guy who had done pre-epidural deliveries, I think in the 1950s, early 60s for sure.
His blunt question of my wife, during a pre-natal visit: "Do you want an epidural, or is pain your 'thing'?"
Having seen what an epidural could do for people, he really didn't understand why people would want to go back. There's nothing superior about "natural", in this case.
"I was glad afterward that I had and I still am."
Thank you so much for this reply. Can you give a couple of details about why afterward you were glad you did so if you don't mind me asking?
The only news of the day is pope pope pope.
To come to one's friends on a Saturday morning with a real issue should be ok.
I'm anxious to see the replies.
Ann Landers and Miss Manners both advise that you answer such busybodies with a polite "That's none of your business, but thank you for your concern." Because it IS none of their business, although in this day and age people think nothing of coming up to us in a grocery store and lecturing us about what food we're buying or asking if our children are adopted or what we paid for our hats, they do not merit a reply other than as above. One of my boys, the Tactless Wonder, used to say "My mother says that's none of your business, thank you." (Which is why I could never take him out of the country.)
You are correct to leave the choice to your wife, and I'm sure she is an autonomous woman. Ignore the busybodies. And let us know how it goes!
Suck it up, ya wimps.
Want to talk about being a target in the culture war -
Back in September we had our 5th. Then came the "are you just going to keep having them!!"comments. Or the ever so lovely "are all those yours!?!?!?" But, my favorite is "don't you know how that happens?"
First, the people who think so highly of their idiotic opinions to believe it is worth throwing them at you need a swift kick in the behind. But, in lieu of that, my wife and I have been trying to come up with some great comebacks.
When asked if all the kids are hers (what is so stupid is that there are only 5) my wife responds "yeah, but I had to leave most of them at home." When some idiot asks me if I know "how that happens?" I usually respond "yeah, and I am a master!"
Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your child. Parenthood will finally reveal to you what your real mission on earth is.
simple, a woman in labor is a very hard thing for the nurses to handle. I chose to have my kids with no pain therapy. Both times I became a "Medusa" during labor.
So IMHO some L&D nurses don't want to have to deal with women like me.
But, I can FULLY understand any woman wanting an epidural.
Thanks! I have noticed that I've already been moved out of the sidebars ... so I'm guessing only 'Latest Posts' folks will be seeing this.
The ability to advise those busybodies to bugger off, is also very hard for many.
I did not have any medications or epidural. It just wasn't an option I considered. I think that if a woman and her husband educate themselves about the labor and delievery process then they know what to expect and it is not as frightening. Our society has become too over-medicated. No wonder people are pressuring you.
Looks like a plan. :) I have no idea what makes people say the things they do, they need to shut up. (Mother of 5)
Seriously, though, we have good friends at our church who just had their 5th son in a row; the oldest is only 7 years old. They have reported an unbelievable degree of harrassment when they go out 'in public'.
A cinder block.
Wait until the baby is born. Then "busybodies" will swarm around with thousands of suggestions.
Congrats to you & your wife.!
My wife & I did the Bradly method 8 years ago. Reason? Drugs are bad, M.D.s are part of the wacky establishment thinking ( we did the mid wife thing), my wife is a trooper (doesn't want the panzy route to anything), and we are free citizens in the USA!
My church members also gave us the unthinking party line about all of the above and then some. I also screwed up and got a vasectomy ...Bad mistake! Had it reversed 3 years ago.
We homeschool, don't eat chemical filled foods, live a slow paced life and enjoy God's creation.
Ah; how I wish to be "you" again--time really does fly. (I am the mother of two sons, ages 23 and 20!)
The only advice I would like to give you today is this; don't listen to anyone else's advice--take your own.
As I was nearing the birth of our first son, my husband and I began our natural child birth classes. We completed ONE class, and I gave birth two days later. We had no idea what we were doing (breathing and such), and the kind nurses talked us through it. I was fortunate enough to only be in hard labor for a few hours, thus, never had "medicine" to help me with the pain. A couple of years later at the birth of our second son, I was extremely fortunate to have the nurse on call actually be a practicing mid-wife. I won't go into detail, but she was just wonderful! (At one point my husband was trying to give me ice chips and I told him to leave me alone--I just wanted the mid-wife!! HA!!) No "medicine" administered with that birth, either.
That said, follow your hearts. (And your wife's discomfort) Just wait to see how your wife is doing and if need be, ask for something to ease the pain. Either way, it's a win win!!!! You will ALL be fine!!!
Whichever way it happens, it really does need to be your wife's decision. The moment that child is born all of the decisions about it should be made by both of you but this one should be hers alone.
You're just seeing where the pendulum is currently stuck. Arguments about what is the "best" way to give birth have been going on for decades. Decide for yourselves and ignore others' opinions as best you can.
There is alot of changing data out there, regarding pain. Women in particular will have strong opinions about this. Some women feel like failures if they ask for pain meds and (expose their babies to drugs.) Some women are already so frightened from horror stories from the pain, that they say; "Prep the epidural while we pull into the parking lot." Healthy babies are born either way all the time.
Your job is to help the mother of your child wade through the various theories and options, meet the doctors, trust your instincts and when the time comes- tell her she's going to be a great mom, she's a trooper, she's wonderful, etc. Take the abuse that you WILL receive during transition, and then never have a good night's sleep for the rest of your life.
By the way, Congratulations! and You're doing a great job!
I think part of it is because "natural childbirth" was popularized in the '80s with the explosion of Lamaze, etc. Enough women tried it without the epidural, that later realized they would have rather had one then go through so much pain, so the pendulum has swung the other way. Having worked in L&D, and having been though labor, I'd go with the epidural. Why be in so much pain if you don't have to? Also, it really sucks to decide at the last minute you're in so much pain you want one, only to find out since you didn't plan on it, it was too late to change your mind.
Try not to take it too much to heart. Pregnant women are a lightning rod, if not for politics, then for ADVICE!!!
People love to give advice to expectant mothers (and fathers) and new parents. So the advice won't stop after the kid is born. Cloth or disposable diapers? When to burp? How to burp? How to treat diaper rash? Feed on demand or on a schedule? When to wean? What position to sleep in? Pacifier or no pacifier? How to potty train? Spanking or no spanking? Home school, public school, private school, parochial school? It won't ever stop!
My advice: (grin!) as long as it doesn't compromise the health of mother or child, and emergency care is quick at hand should it become necessary, let your wife deliver the baby any way she wants.
Having given birth myself, and also planning to go without drugs during the birth process....I Changed my mind during the process. There are lots of things that can go wrong during the birth process, so do not be so smug, because if you get in a tight, in the delievery....and you need medical help...you just might change your attitude.
My wife's had to children at the hospital naturally. We had little interference prior to the birth. We did have issues with friends that were upset that we didn't invite them to the hospital to wait in the waiting room by themselves while my wife was birthing...
The pain (and other problems) vary greatly between people. My only advice is deal with the issues as they arrive, because many of them may not be as bad as imagined.
Congratulations on your son! I hope the delivery is uncomplicated and the baby perfect (like mine :-).
Why are you the subject of a public fluff-up? Because women are insecure. A major dogma of feminism and pop-culture is that every woman has to have her "choices affirmed." Assuming that premise, you might think a shrug and "Whatever ..." would be sufficient "affirmation" of stuff that's none of your business, but it's not.
Many women don't feel their "choices" are "affirmed" unless every woman makes the same choices. After all, if someone chooses differently from you - say, natural childbirth over anesthesia, or breastfeeding over formula - then that means (reasons the insecure mind) that Somebody Out There believes that what you choose was *wrong* (or at least suboptimal, or not universally applicable). This upsets some people very much.
Dange, I'm tired...
Make that "My wife has had two children..."
Yep. It's amazing how living without God can make someone feel pretty ill; I would guess in Europe it is even worse.
I do agree our society has become over medicated. But we do have to give the medical society the praise it deserves for a higher infant survival rate. Just wanted to tell Smug Go Bucks...try pulling your bottom lip over your head...and that is just an inkling of the pain your wife will feel in child birth.
Thank you for such kind words this morning....
I bet your sons are fine men.
Or the ever so lovely "are all those yours!?!?!?" But, my favorite is "don't you know how that happens?"
My wife was at the store with 4 or 5 of our 9 children and the clerk asked if they were all her children. She answered "no, the rest are at home."
My favorite is "you don't have a TV do you?"
Just like to see a man go thru Childbirth once...Natural childbirth. what fun that would be. Have given birth and passed a few kidney stones. As bad as Kidney stones hurt....they never made me feel like I was going to die of pain...as Childbirth did.
I'm going to assume that the ladies at your church were just trying to make conversation. Everyone has opinions on childbirth and even more so on childrearing. Don't take offense, they are merely offering their own experience, and hoping to help you and your wife. Take what you will and leave the rest.
As to natural childbirth ... we took the classes and I went into the hospital anticipating that we'd have natural. Didn't work out that way .. the fetal heart monitor said "Caesarian!" and not only that, but "Caesarian NOW," so that's what we did. The alternative would have been to lose the baby .. some times you just have to use good old common sense and pay attention to the docs.
As you anticipate your firstborn, a truly blessed event, don't become too centered on his manner of birth and form of infant feeding. It's a long haul deal. How you and your wife interact every single day for 18 years with your son, and any other siblings if you ae so blessed, will be more important to his growth as a person than what happened or didn't happen in the delivery room.
God Bless you all.
I did have some pain relief, during labor, until about two hours before my children were born.
I recommend no epidural-breast feeding as long as is good for the baby and Mom- and lots of snuggling with Mom, Dad and baby.
However I don't judge if a woman does want the epidural and /or does bottle feed -but no snuggling is terrible as far as I am concerned :].
Congrats! It is the best thing in the world to have a child!
BTW-Yes- Many people think a pregnant woman is community property and they will start pushing their agenda on you all. You wife will soon find out that many women would rather talk about labor pains for the next twenty years than anything else!! (that is more painful to me than the actual delivery of my children!)
Be supportive in the delivery room if she gets scared and make sure you tell her that you and the doctor have everything under control. She will feel better hearing that when she is in labor.
I have four children, all without drugs, not because of any strong feelings one way or the other, but because I have them so fast they don't have time to get any drugs in me. You will continue to be amazed at the intensity people bring to their particular views, not just of childbirth, but to how you ought to raise the little darling. Ignore them and use your common sense. Women have been doing this for some time now without this kind of nonsense and political correctness. Do what you two think is right for you and what you feel comfortable with and enjoy, as I know you will, this wonderful gift.
Amen to that. Not everything needs to be a confrontation; listen politely, thank them, and then do what you think is best. And you don't need to share every detail of what you plan/don't plan to do with everyone unless you want even more opinions/advice!
Well, in my experience, my wife was slated in advance for a Cesarean birth for our second child. She was going to be drugged regardless. Toward the "moment" she was having extreme pain and had not slept in hours. Her regular Doctor who had cared for her up to this moment was not available, and her stand-in was taking care of my wife at the hospital.
My wife was exhausted and from my experience with her, it was going to be difficult for her in the extreme due to the pain level to wait another 12 hours until the Doctor decided she should have the Cesarean.
She was going to let her sit in agony for that duration despite the fact that she would receive pain medication at the end of 12 hours. The Doctor was not interested in my request for some pain relief for my wife.
I confronted the Doctor and asked her what reason is there for her to endure the 12 hours of pain to the point of physical exhaustion? Would it not pose a far greater risk to the child and her if she is placed under extreme duress and physical stress before she is cut open? Wouldn't it make sense that she gets as much rest as possible before she is sliced apart to "give birth"? "I need a reason" I asked the Doctor.
She ordered that my wife received a pain killer.
My wife was exceptionally grateful to me.
Now I need to state that my wife has had difficulty with child birth before. She got rear ended by a Corvette while she was carrying our firstborn. Too many things to name, we were only sustained by the grace of God, IMHO.
For all the difficulties she endured, I was going to see that she receives minimal relief. She's faced the "tests" and passed them as far as I'm concerned. I was truly concerned that lack of rest prior to another surgery would be harmful, so I pursued to avenue to her great relief, although she couldn't tell me how happy she was about it until later.
It was worth it, I assure you.
Finally, I truly feel that there is no real benefit in attaining this level of civilization if we can't utilize it's advantages for protection and relief that our fore bearers had no other choice but to endure. Eternity is filled with the despairing cries of mothers who sacrificed their lives to give birth to their children. I was not in the least compelled to risk that my wife might become to physically exhausted that we'd risk her joining them. Yes, it is PAIN. Blood pressure climbing so high it's dangerous, convulsions driven by agony and the hopelessness of being unable to escape from it. I felt it was absolutely Neanderthal to abandon my wife to such if I could possibly do anything to help.
But that's just me. Some people have an easier time with child birth than others. Not my wife. So I didn't feel compelled to see her endure more than she needed to.
Well, after 24 hours in labor, with no pain meds, I opted for the epidural.
Birth ended up not being "natural" at all, as I had to have a c-section.
You just never know until you get into the situation what you're going to do or need.
It's not wrong to go in thinking you want the delivery to be natural, but it's not wrong to take an epidural either.
If you have a headache, you probably take a Tylenol, right?
Enduring pain wins you no prizes. It is not a goal that makes one "better" than another. Go with the flow, maybe she'll have an easy delivery and she won't need any pain meds. But if she does, she hasn't failed by asking for them.