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

by Woody Guthrie

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

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:06 pm

ladylinn wrote:

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

So true! :highfive:

GG, I had an epidural with the first one that only took on one side for a while and I do remember how that felt but not as intensely as my second time. I never intended to have natural childbirth but my second one came too fast and there was no time for the epidural so we had to go with it. Yes, I do remember how it felt. It's funny because I have heard other people say that women don't remember the pain and I always wonder how they can say that! And no, I didn't have a third!
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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:22 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:ladylinn wrote:

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

So true! :highfive:

GG, I had an epidural with the first one that only took on one side for a while and I do remember how that felt but not as intensely as my second time. I never intended to have natural childbirth but my second one came too fast and there was no time for the epidural so we had to go with it. Yes, I do remember how it felt. It's funny because I have heard other people say that women don't remember the pain and I always wonder how they can say that! And no, I didn't have a third!

Maybe becasue it was so intense an experience, sounds like it was quite traumatic in some ways. I have to say though I do find it amazing that women do give birth totally naturally, usually just with gas and air.

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

Unread postby Ophelia » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:29 pm

Most children in this country are born at home with only the help of a midwife, so also without any pain medication whatsoever.. Only in the last 5-10 years, there are epidurals available for childbirth, but only in hospitals and usually only during daytime working hours. Before that it was almost taboo..

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

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:14 pm

Ophelia wrote:Most children in this country are born at home with only the help of a midwife, so also without any pain medication whatsoever.. Only in the last 5-10 years, there are epidurals available for childbirth, but only in hospitals and usually only during daytime working hours. Before that it was almost taboo..

Now thats just weird, so if you go into labour at night and go to hospital and want an epidural you can't because its not daytime.
I know of the common occurence of babies being born at home there :ok:

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

Unread postby fireflydances » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:02 pm

Very interesting discussion. If I may, I'd like to sum up what I think various folks are saying about men and the birthing process. For most of the second half of the 20th century, when the hospital dominated, men were either isolated from the event or pushed into the role of observer. So their awkward take on labor was more a function of not being required to play, or allowed to play, a central role. Tike's flustered thoughts and actions fits the experience of men for the time Guthrie was writing.

If we look further back in time, labor and birth have always been events that excluded men (unless the man in question had a socially defined role--i.e. doctor -- but that is relatively recent.) Maybe that's because the act of giving birth is such a radically extraordinary event, almost magical. One human being emerging from another human being. Only women's bodies capable of performing the act. Creating something alive out of nothing is pretty shocking. And whatever is magical is also highly dangerous.

Even today giving birth maintains its aura. It is still isolated and there a lots of rules governing the event. Most of this occurs under the jurisdiction of the medical establishment. Although there seems to be much greater flexibility for the woman, or the couple, to be the decision makers. You can give birth at home, you can choose to involve only a midwife etc.

Today's men seem to be more completely involved. I do wonder if they are feeling, in general, more and more competent to handle birth?
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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Ophelia » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:35 pm

Gilbert's Girl wrote:Now thats just weird, so if you go into labour at night and go to hospital and want an epidural you can't because its not daytime.


Outside of working hours, most anaesthesiologists only perform emergency procedures and childbirth isn't an emergency.. So if you go into labour at night and have to go to the hospital for some reason, you're out of luck.. If it's a risky labour, you're usually induced.. during working hours :bigwink:

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

Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:30 pm

Gilbert's Girl wrote:They do say that if we did we would never have another :lol:

I've heard that from my friends too. Interesting.
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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:36 pm

Ophelia wrote:Most children in this country are born at home with only the help of a midwife, so also without any pain medication whatsoever.. Only in the last 5-10 years, there are epidurals available for childbirth, but only in hospitals and usually only during daytime working hours. Before that it was almost taboo..


Ophelia, :welcome: to ONBC. Nice to have you on board.

Yes, epidurals have been used for a while now in conjunction with natural childbirth. With epidurals there is not as much risk to the baby as with the types of anesthesia given in the 60s and 70s.
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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:11 am

Epidurals first came in to use during childbirth in the 70's in the UK, no idea how popular they were then and I'm not sure how popular they are now as they say it slows down the labour. Certainly in one of the childbirth programme I like to watch the midwives seem to discourage the use if they can prefering to give Morphine :yikes: for pain relief if things get too bad.

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

Unread postby Liz » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:35 pm

fireflydances wrote:If we look further back in time, labor and birth have always been events that excluded men (unless the man in question had a socially defined role--i.e. doctor -- but that is relatively recent.) Maybe that's because the act of giving birth is such a radically extraordinary event, almost magical. One human being emerging from another human being. Only women's bodies capable of performing the act. Creating something alive out of nothing is pretty shocking. And whatever is magical is also highly dangerous........

Today's men seem to be more completely involved. I do wonder if they are feeling, in general, more and more competent to handle birth?


Yes, I think traditionally that men were not involved. And based on Woody's writing of it, women preferred it that way.

When I was little I used to assume men did not get involved in birth because they were naturally squeamish. I think it was more that they thought of it as "women's work" to give birth, despite the fact that they were directly involved in the process of conception.

I think that back in the 30s, 40s, 50s, as well as all the years prior, the roles of men and women were very defined. For example, generally speaking, in the 50s, men had the jobs, women were housewives. Also, at parties (I'm thinking prior to 1930), men would hang out with the men and women with the women. They did not intermingle.

Luckily, beginning in the 60s, we began to see that the roles of men vs. women were not as clearly defined, and the waters have become muddier as the years have gone by. Furthermore, marriages (for the most part) have become more on the order of equal partnerships. And that entails men getting more involved with the birthing process as well as taking on some of the burden of contraception.
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Re: House of Earth Question #20: Men and the Birthing Process

Unread postby Pixie » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:40 pm

Liz wrote:
fireflydances wrote:Today's men seem to be more completely involved. I do wonder if they are feeling, in general, more and more competent to handle birth?

Yes, I think traditionally that men were not involved. And based on Woody's writing of it, women preferred it that way.


I was completely taken aback when a few years ago a friend of mine and her husband decided that it wasn't for them if he attended the birth of their first child. He explained that he could not bear seeing his wife in so much pain and that it would spoil the memory of the joyous occasion. She agreed with that and also didn't think her husband would be able to offer her the practical support she would need when giving birth. So instead they opted to have her sister as a birthing partner. They knew of other couples like them and it seems that those traditional values have come full circle with a minority of couples in this day and age.

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

Unread postby Pixie » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:59 pm

Ophelia wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:Now thats just weird, so if you go into labour at night and go to hospital and want an epidural you can't because its not daytime.


Outside of working hours, most anaesthesiologists only perform emergency procedures and childbirth isn't an emergency.. So if you go into labour at night and have to go to the hospital for some reason, you're out of luck.. If it's a risky labour, you're usually induced.. during working hours :bigwink:


One of my Dutch friends was in that situation about a decade ago. She was in labour at night and she was refused an epidural in hospital. She could not cope with the pain and was so desperate, that in the middle of labour her husband took her across the border to a Belgium hospital where she was freely given an epidural. Different country, different rules.

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

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:44 pm

Fascinating discussion!
Pixie wrote:
Ophelia wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:Now thats just weird, so if you go into labour at night and go to hospital and want an epidural you can't because its not daytime.


Outside of working hours, most anaesthesiologists only perform emergency procedures and childbirth isn't an emergency.. So if you go into labour at night and have to go to the hospital for some reason, you're out of luck.. If it's a risky labour, you're usually induced.. during working hours :bigwink:


One of my Dutch friends was in that situation about a decade ago. She was in labour at night and she was refused an epidural in hospital. She could not cope with the pain and was so desperate, that in the middle of labour her husband took her across the border to a Belgium hospital where she was freely given an epidural. Different country, different rules.

Wow. :-O I absolutely cannot imagine picking up and moving during the middle of labor, let alone crossing a border. But then again, when the going got tough, I opted for the drugs (epidural) so who knows what I would or would not have been willing to do at that point!

GG - Morphine? Over an epidural? :-O Another wow.

Pixie wrote:
Liz wrote:
fireflydances wrote:Today's men seem to be more completely involved. I do wonder if they are feeling, in general, more and more competent to handle birth?

Yes, I think traditionally that men were not involved. And based on Woody's writing of it, women preferred it that way.


I was completely taken aback when a few years ago a friend of mine and her husband decided that it wasn't for them if he attended the birth of their first child. He explained that he could not bear seeing his wife in so much pain and that it would spoil the memory of the joyous occasion. She agreed with that and also didn't think her husband would be able to offer her the practical support she would need when giving birth. So instead they opted to have her sister as a birthing partner. They knew of other couples like them and it seems that those traditional values have come full circle with a minority of couples in this day and age.


Pixie, I can certainly understand your friends' point of view! My husband, bless him, went through all the classes, but when the time came he had a really rough go of it, especially with our first one. The doctor asked him if he wanted to see the head crowning, see his son, cut the cord, and so on, but the poor guy just absolutely couldn't look and had to refuse all of it. His eyes were completely locked onto mine, his knees were buckling and the color draining from his face. He couldn't even turn his head. He certainly would've passed out. They finally made him lay down and a nurse brought him some cold rags. :lol: So much for my partner!

My mother had the anethesia with all three of us and doesn't remember a thing while my dad waited in the waiting room. In fact the story goes that he was annoyed at having to leave the tv during the middle of a Cubs game when it was time to bring my mom to the hospital. :lol: So I really wanted my husband to be part of the birth of our children. In retrospect, a sister or a good female friend seems like a really great idea! Yes, I've come full circle on this one!

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

Unread postby Liz » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:48 pm

I guess I was right about men being squeamish about such things.

Pixie, interesting story about crossing the border.....maybe that's what Ella May was looking for when she went across the yard in the wind - an epidural.
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You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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