House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

by Woody Guthrie

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House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:13 pm

Every minute that he worked he shed a gallon of sweat, in spite of such a blowing blizzard one inch through the wall. He held his broom and pulled backward to give Ella's hands and arms something solid to grip onto. His shoes against the floor dragged with a heavy noise, and his trail, if it could be untangled and laid straight, would reach from there to Amarillo. (pg. 193)

First of all, Guthrie creates a great image with this passage. I don't know about you, but I definitely heard Tike's shoes scraping and slipping, and saw the long, long curl of his footsteps circling round and round as though he had walked from their tiny shack all the way through the night to Amarillo. Great image!

I think Guthrie is absolutely convinced that men struggle with finding a place to fit in the birthing process. Do you agree that men in general seem out of their depth during labor and delivery? Or, have you witnessed something different? Contributions from those of you hailing from different cultures would be much appreciated.
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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:20 am

You know I really think it depends on the man. I've watched quite alot of programmes on tv about women giving birth and I think some men just seem to come into their own on occasion and are really supportive. I think they feel that they can't help its something beyond their control. I think Guthrie would probably feel that way after all back then when he was writing men did not attend births it was an all female event. These days men are much more involved altogether.

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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:00 am

Yes, times have changed! I was drugged completely during births, husband was sat in a waiting room ... and then like as not, went out with his buddies afterwards while I slept it off.

Both of my sons, about 25 years later, were in the delivery room when their children were born and cut the umbilical cord themselves.

In Tike's day, the birthing process was pretty primitive (and natural!)

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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:27 am

nebraska wrote:Yes, times have changed! I was drugged completely during births, husband was sat in a waiting room ... and then like as not, went out with his buddies afterwards while I slept it off.

Both of my sons, about 25 years later, were in the delivery room when their children were born and cut the umbilical cord themselves.

In Tike's day, the birthing process was pretty primitive (and natural!)

Drugged? when was that?

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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:29 am

Gilbert's Girl wrote:
nebraska wrote:Yes, times have changed! I was drugged completely during births, husband was sat in a waiting room ... and then like as not, went out with his buddies afterwards while I slept it off.

Both of my sons, about 25 years later, were in the delivery room when their children were born and cut the umbilical cord themselves.

In Tike's day, the birthing process was pretty primitive (and natural!)

Drugged? when was that?

Late 60s early 70s. My last child was born in 1971. :gollum:

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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:04 pm

nebraska wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:
nebraska wrote:Yes, times have changed! I was drugged completely during births, husband was sat in a waiting room ... and then like as not, went out with his buddies afterwards while I slept it off.

Both of my sons, about 25 years later, were in the delivery room when their children were born and cut the umbilical cord themselves.

In Tike's day, the birthing process was pretty primitive (and natural!)

Drugged? when was that?

Late 60s early 70s. My last child was born in 1971. :gollum:

Never heard of that before don't think they did it in the UK. Did you have a choice?

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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:08 pm

Gilbert's Girl wrote:
nebraska wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:Drugged? when was that?

Late 60s early 70s. My last child was born in 1971. :gollum:

Never heard of that before don't think they did it in the UK. Did you have a choice?

At that point in this part of the world I think drugs/anesthesia were the norm. I don't think women even thought of doing something different for a few years after that in my part of the States.

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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:09 pm

nebraska wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:
nebraska wrote:Late 60s early 70s. My last child was born in 1971. :gollum:

Never heard of that before don't think they did it in the UK. Did you have a choice?

At that point in this part of the world I think drugs/anesthesia were the norm. I don't think women even thought of doing something different for a few years after that in my part of the States.

So if you were sedated how did you manage to do the pushing, or had it worn off by then?

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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:40 pm

When my children were born in the 80's having the dad in the room was just beginning to happen and not all doctors allowed it. You were not allowed to have any type of recording device and the father's role was pretty much just to stand there and not pass out. :lol: I think historically men were kept apart from the birthing process so having little knowledge of it was common and that would be cause for confusion and alarm. Being there and not understanding the process and seeing your loved one in such a state would be difficult at best. Today, the amount of education before the birth occurs is fantastic and the men are more prepared for what is to come. For the fathers to be able to participate now is a beautiful thing!
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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:52 pm

Gilbert's Girl wrote:
nebraska wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:Never heard of that before don't think they did it in the UK. Did you have a choice?

At that point in this part of the world I think drugs/anesthesia were the norm. I don't think women even thought of doing something different for a few years after that in my part of the States.

So if you were sedated how did you manage to do the pushing, or had it worn off by then?

Don't remember....... seriously, no memory at all. I assume mother nature took over ... or maybe there was enough consciousness to follow directions.... it was a long time ago! When people began talking about "natural childbirth" it seemed like a crazy hippie fringe idea to most folks here. :lol: All of which might help to explain why Tike was so overwhelmed by it all.

I have been looking around for a link that might explain more to you. There is a short section here that might help.

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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:24 pm

nebraska wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:
nebraska wrote:At that point in this part of the world I think drugs/anesthesia were the norm. I don't think women even thought of doing something different for a few years after that in my part of the States.

So if you were sedated how did you manage to do the pushing, or had it worn off by then?

Don't remember....... seriously, no memory at all. I assume mother nature took over ... or maybe there was enough consciousness to follow directions.... it was a long time ago! When people began talking about "natural childbirth" it seemed like a crazy hippie fringe idea to most folks here. :lol: All of which might help to explain why Tike was so overwhelmed by it all.

I have been looking around for a link that might explain more to you. There is a short section here that might help.

Thanks, I remember the twilgiht sleep in the tidbits. Very weird practice it seems to me. And I think I'm lucky to be able to remember all my expereinces ,to some degree ,of childbirth. Except any pain of course because nature is such that women forget that after the baby is born.

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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:26 pm

Mother Nature was kind to you GG! I do remember, vividly, how it felt. Not that I would trade it for anything!
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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Liz » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:33 pm

What an interesting discussion!

I didn’t ever give birth (can’t say I missed it). I adopted my kids.

But I was aware that a couple of decades before my children were born women were given anesthesia. I think I was born that way, actually. I can’t ask my mom now because she’s no longer with us.

I’m really surprised that the UK did not join the US in this practice.

I remember watching TV shows where the men would be in the waiting room, pacing back and forth, going nuts. And then they’d give cigars to their buddies afterward. Ricky Ricardo comes to mind. :lol:

By the time I came of age it was a different day.
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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:19 am

As I say I'd never heard of it used over here, I may be wrong but I can't find anything that says it was used here.
DITHOT you can remember the actual pain? I can't say I've ever come across anyone who can do that, everyone usually will say it was very painful but not exactly how it felt. They do say that if we did we would never have another :lol: I think women who have experienced very traumatic births often remember more, but thats not surprising. I did have epidurals for all of mine but it didn't get rid of all the pain, just made it much easier to cope with. I had intended to have a natural birth with my first but I'd been induced and pain got very intense so in the end I gave into the idea of having an epidural. With the other two I asked straight away for one :lol:

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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby ladylinn » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:09 pm

I think God knew what He was doing when He gave birthing to women.

When my children were born I was attended to with much care - my hubby on the other hand was pushed into a waiting room as if he had nothing to do with this!! I am so glad time has changed - my grandbabies have all been born with their fathers in attendance. Poor Tike - he didn't handle stress well. Maybe Woody didn't either!!


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