Short End of the Stick

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It’s not often that I feel sympathy for men as a group–as in a group that’s oppressed–so listen closely because I probably won’t say something like this again:

When it comes to birth, men are seriously getting the short end of the stick.

And it makes me sad.

Yes, women carry babies for nine months. We’re the ones going through the incomparable experience of labor. But still… the ways in which men are typically marginalized throughout pregnancy and in the early post-partum period is pathetic. He helped make this baby and hopefully he’ll stick around to help raise it, so why can’t we help the pregnancy and birthing experiences be more inclusive?

While watching labor and birthing videos in our birthing class a couple weeks ago, I repeatedly noticed that the pregnant women and their female providers–all of whom seemed to consider themselves progressive–shared the tendency to push men (figuratively and often literally) to the side. The instructor, who was trying hard to be inclusive, even talked extensively about what women could expect during the post-partum period, but ignored completely how men often feel afterward.

I’m not sure what can be done other than be more conscious about my own birth experience and ensure that Francisco isn’t marginalized, but I just wanted to say out loud: Men, I see you. And you deserve to be just as much a part of this experience as your partner. Don’t settle for the short end of the stick.

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One response »

  1. Julie,

    To a certain extent, I agree. Your feelings might change after you go thru labor πŸ™‚ It takes two to make a baby but the woman does all of the work until birth and then most of it thereafter. My husband is amazing but could never take my place- the place of Maxwell’s mother. The love a mother has for her child is unlike any love you have ever experienced…. time will tell trust me πŸ™‚

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