Today is two babies and a book day. The book Whatever Happened To . . . ? Catching Up With Canadian Icons, has already been brought to your attention. I’ll repeat here that it is splendid light reading that makes you proud to be a Canadian.
On the question of pride, there is nothing that can make us more proud than producing and parenting a baby — not to leave father’s out, but it’s got to be an especially proud moment for the mother. After all she’s done the hard work so it’s fitting that she should glory in a job well done.
I vividly recall the first time for me. I was in what I consider the father’s proper place — in the waiting room safely beyond sight and earshot of the action. Only when it was over was I escorted in to see my first born, Geoffrey. My wife, Benita, glowing with satisfaction.
The second time I was brought nearer to the production process, standing by Benita’s bed almost frozen in panic, feeling completely helpless. A nurse said, “Tell her to take deep breaths.” Or was it short breaths? Whatever I told Benita drew a sharp, accusing look from the nurse, so, still not knowing, I concluded I’d be on safe ground by saying the opposite. This won a look of approval from the professional. But I don’t think Benita was listening anyway. She was in her own world, and completely in charge.
“Tell them I’m ready,” Benita said.
I waved down a passing man in a uniform that suggested that he was a doctor. In my state of borderline hysteria he could have been a garbage collector and I would have taken him seriously.
“What?” he said.
“She’s ready. She says she’s ready.”
Benita couldn’t see his face because she was tense, looking straight up at the ceiling. But she could hear his patronizing voice. (I saw the quick shake of his head). “No she’s not ready yet.”
Benita’s voice was quite but fierce. “Don’t tell me I’m not ready! I know when I’m ready.”
My paternal instincts fed on her maternal strength. “She’s ready,” I said quietly with stern narrowed eyes. “You better get moving.” Two against one was more than he could handle. The rush of activity that produced my beautiful son, Thomas, began. What a joy he was to see when I was ushered in to baby and Mommy.
For the past twenty years or so it’s been common for men to observe the whole process. I’d do it, if the mother of my child sincerely wanted me to. But I’d rather not. It’s not the blood and guts. It’s not the yelling. I’ve easily experienced more than enough in street fights and body contact sports. I think its simply being around all that action and yet not able to do anything about it. Suppressing a man’s genetic need to act is a tough job.
And of course, even if not doing anything hands-on about it, I’d probably lose control over my compulsion to give advice. That’s the last thing anyone would need from me in a birthing room.
Anyway the issue is not on the agenda until some 18-year-old bursts in on my life insisting that she wants to marry me and have 12 of my babies.
But enough about me and the male
dilemma, now see and read about happy babies and mothers, fathers, and siblings
of True North subscribers in
And remember, take it easy, but take it.
Father, Editor and Publisher.