So my wife gave birth to our first child yesterday. To say I’m proud of her would be a massive understatement. In fact, I’m in awe. She overcame back problems requiring surgery and a number of other health and fertility issues to not only carry our baby for nine months but to deliver her with almost no pain relief. But I’ll get to that later.
Our daughter is a beautiful, healthy baby and we were both immediately smitten with her. Of course, that was after she’d been wiped off and stopped looking quite so much like an alien. As any parents would relate to, we’re both nervous and excited about our journey into parenthood.
But despite how much I’ve fallen instantly in love with our daughter, this article isn’t about her.
It’s about my wife. In fact, it’s about all mothers.
How the fuck do you do it?! After witnessing labour and birth I was both mildly traumatised by what I saw and completely bewildered as to how my wife coped with such an ordeal. Not just coped but bounced back remarkably quickly.
You can’t doubt the strength and pain threshold of women. Nobody does it tougher through labour and birth than mothers.
As a half-decent husband, it’s hard to see the woman you love in such excruciating pain and be helpless to do anything about it. Quite a bit of what goes on in the birthing suite can be quite confronting to see for the first time as well.
But that pales in comparison to what women endure. You can’t really appreciate just what a physical ordeal it all is until you see it for yourself. Even then, only she actually feels it.
Our little bundle of joy was in a hurry to say the least. Most of the advice we had been given indicated first children generally take longer to arrive.
This wasn’t the case for us. My wife woke in the early hours with what she thought was early labour. By 7am she was terribly uncomfortable and we were at the hospital. By 11am we were parents.
Given her history of back issues it is probably a blessing her labour and delivery was so short. But it hampered her ability to receive pain medication.
Her contractions were so close together the anaesthetist struggled to administer the epidural. By the time that was done baby arrived within ten minutes.
I know plenty of women opt to deliver without any pain relief and while I respect that decision I don’t understand it. Ain’t no heroes here, ladies. It’s a hell of an ordeal and nobody would think any less of you for trying to take the edge off.
So, ladies, hats off to you. No idea how you get through child birth (some many, many times) but you’re absolute troopers. It’s a mighty achievement under any circumstances.
Sitting alongside my wife in that birthing suite, I’d never been more grateful to be a man. Being a woman just seems too hard!