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January 19, 2014 / Gregory Williams

I Was Not in the Delivery Room

the first time I held the baby

The first time I held the baby.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for over a year now.

It was a day in November, 2012. The time, two-thirty in the afternoon. In just eleven minutes my second daughter would be born.

I didn’t know that though because I wasn’t in the delivery room.

The previous night my partner and I had checked into the birthing clinic. The baby was late and the plan was to induce. Drugs were administered and the girl and I settled in for a night of waiting.

The next morning with labor under way the birth coaches arrived, two women of exceptional quality hand picked by the girl to be with her during labor. In short, the plan was that when the doctors gave the word, me and the mother in law would head out to the waiting area. When that time came I kissed the girl, told her I loved her, and left the room.

Roughly three hours later one of the birth coaches came to us in the waiting area and gave us the news of a successful delivery!

Immediately we rushed to the delivery room where we waited outside listening to the crying baby and the commotion inside. The baby had been born but there was more to do before we would be allowed inside. That was the hardest part of the waiting.

Now at this point most Americans, and I imagine most people from the “developed world” might be saying to themselves, “What a prick! How could you not be there for your child’s mother!?” I say that because that is exactly the kind of reaction we received from some friends, relatives, and especially from other parents whenever we were asked those normal questions people tend to ask when two people are having a baby, like “How are the classes going?”

We found the level of assumption people made about what our choices would be to be a bit arrogant at best, but most often just down right self-righteous.

Inevitably they would always ask something like “Don’t you want to be there to share the beauty of child birth?”

I was in the room for the teenager’s birth. All of twenty-one years old, unmarried in an interracial relationship, with the tab being picked up by the state for a birth in a Catholic hospital. Add those circumstances, and personal ones, to the candid nature of natural child birth and it all equalled an experience I vowed to never experience again.

All the reasons for our decision are beyond the scope of one blog post, but luckily the girl agreed that there are just some things a man shouldn’t see and I appreciated that. She heard my views, and I listened to hers and we made the choice together. Children we agreed are beautiful, childbirth not so much.

And that is the issue. Childbirth in the United States, and in a wider context child rearing, have become dictated social norms that must be adhered to lest society crumble! Forget personal choice. Forget that every family is different and entitled to self realization on their own terms, and never mind the fact that modern medicine’s way of doing things has only been around for about fifty years compared with thousands of years of human existence, tens of thousands if one believes in science.

It’s been over a year now. For us our choice was the right one. Our little family is happy and healthy, despite the fact that we still do things that buck the expectations of society when it comes to raising children. We do what is best for our child and ourselves, and that’s what parents should do even but especially in the face of a self-righteous society.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. andrewvokes / Jan 21 2014 11:19 pm

    It’s not right for everyone, but it’s your choice and as long as you both agreed on it, that’s the important thing!

    • Gregory Williams / Jan 22 2014 1:23 am

      Thanks Andrew. Nothing ever is is it?

      I do hope I didn’t come across as the pot calling the kettle black as it were.

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