A Labour of Love?

So i was surfing over at http://www.mamamia.com.au/ yesterday and i came across an article entitled " Do Men Belong In The Labour Ward ? " And, i have to say, its gotten up my nose a bit. The gist of the article is that a respected obstetrician has implied that men get in the way during labour and shouldnt be permitted into the ward during the birthing process. Its not so much the article itself that has incensed me ( i'm sure this guy made his big statement months ago, so its kind of old news to me... ) but rather the discussion in the comments section afterwards.
The majority of the comments are overwhelming in favour of having men in the delivery ward, and i am too, thats not my problem. My problem is in the way that a lot of women in the comments have judged men who havent been present for the birth of their children. How.Bloody.Dare.They? I'm sure these same women would jump and down and scream bloody murder if anyone dare judge them on any facet of their parenting, but they feel its ok to judge the fathers who, for whatever reason, havent made it into the delivery suite with their wives/partners/mothers of their children. One woman even described blokes who dont want to be in there as " cavemen ". Others have suggested ( subtley ) that men who arent present for the birth of their children mustnt be good fathers - if they dont want to be there for the very beginning, how are they going to be with the rest of the whole parenting thing?

I have to say - those kind of comments have mad me really mad. I've already written the in depth story of my sons birth here ( feel free to have a read if you havent already ) so i wont double up on the details but Mick was NOT present in the room for my labour. And, frankly, i'm glad about it. We spoke about what would happen when i went into labour, and from the get go Mick said he would prefer not to be there. When i asked why, he explained that he's very squeamish and aside from that, he wasnt sure how he would be able to cope with seeing me in pain. He was man enough to admit that, rather than be the tower of masculine strength that society insists our men should be, he would probably crumble in the face of a difficult birth and probably vomit, pass out or both. It wasnt that he didnt WANT to be there, because he loved his unborn baby and could not wait to meet him, but rather that his physical limits would prevent him being much help. And, though i was a little shocked at first, after thinking it through, i agreed - if he was going to get whoozy, or spewy, or go silent and just sit across the room and stare at me like i was some hideous, terrifying lady-beast, what use would he be to me? He'd be more of a hindrance and a distraction, for me and the midwives, than he would be a help, so i was quite content to say " Babe - you just make sure your there to hold your bubba for the first time and thats enough for me". And it was - i had my mother there for the labour and the birth, and Mick stepped into the room as Flynn was being laid on my chest for the first time. Bliss.

So why then would some women judge my fiance, a man whom i love and who is a wonderful, amazing, loving father, labelling him a "caveman "? In my eyes, he's a real man for having the balls to admit his weaknesses. I'm sure there are a lot of men who would prefer not to be in the labour ward, but are guilted into it by the mother. Some of those men may find a reserve of strength and be awesome birthing partners; some may be completely useless and the mother may regret having him there at all. I know there are also plenty of men who cannot wait for those first contractions, so excited are they to be there for all the grunting and moaning and " YOU DID THIS TO ME!!!! ". To me, its all good either way - if he wants to be there, good; if he doesnt, no sweat. Its for each and every couple to decide....as long as the decision is made together. As so many of these women at Mamamia said, child-rearing is an equal partnership, so the decisions surrounding birth should be made together, as a compromise.

Just dont judge men like mine who werent there when they could have been.I'm fine with him being in the waiting room, dealing with all his fears and trepidations about immediate impending parenthood....so why shouldnt you be? If it worked for us, and we were happy, aint none of yo business to be judgin'!