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Men labour but women give birth

PUBLISHED: 10:33 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:51 06 July 2010

MEN are neither use nor ornament when it comes to childbirth.

Lurking like great lummoxes, they loiter by the bed like awkward teenagers not knowing what to say, where to look or what to do amid all the panting, pushing and pain.

MEN are neither use nor ornament when it comes to childbirth.

Lurking like great lummoxes, they loiter by the bed like awkward teenagers not knowing what to say, where to look or what to do amid all the panting, pushing and pain.

More a hindrance than help, they put women off their focus with daft questions, wisecrack jokes and nervous laughing.

In a snap survey of friends, most admit - secretly of course. We don't want to offend - that, in retrospect, they would probably have preferred to go it alone.

Without their partner to worry about, they could scream their lungs out and lose all inhibitions with a single focus to push out their baby.

The business end complete, husband could be ushered in to marvel at nature's gift when all's clean and dry with no harm done. Just like the old days. We wanted change but change isn't necessarily good.

Society expects the father to be in attendance. We want him there, if only to witness the pain and endurance us sterling women go through to present them with their child.

In a haze of loveliness we imagine travelling the birth “journey” together, steadfastly joined every breath of the way until we meet our baby.

But when the pain kicks in the pink mist lifts, and they just get on our nerves, inhibit our natural reactions in the delivery room - we don't want to alarm/embarrass/upset him by being too vocal, too demanding or too demonstrative - and are so jumpy and twitchy they bring unnecessary tension.

Men too confide they find childbirth terrifying, baffling and an insight into their wife's anatomy they would rather go without. The trauma can affect their relationship for years and even leads to divorce.

It's the women are from Venus men are from Mars situation again. We don't and can't understand each other because we can't communicate.

Men come in on the action because they think they should and we want them there. We don't want to offend them by sending them to pace the corridor until it's all over.

Birth expert Michael Odent is now doing the communication for us. After five decades of delivering babies all over the world, he claims a husband or partner in the delivery room increases the likelihood of a Caesarean section, subsequent marriage break up and mental illness.

It makes labour longer and more painful because the woman is distracted by the father's anxiety.

Yes, yes, yes to all the above. They mean well but they haven't got a clue.

His prescription for an easy birth is for a woman to be alone in labour with only a quiet, low profile experienced midwife.

It can't be a coincidence that since men attending the birth of their children became more entrenched in our culture the divorce rate has rocketed. Sometimes knowledge is just too much information and a bit of mystery works wonders .

Often it takes an outsider to say out loud what everyone is thinking.

Men are (almost) compulsory for conception but disposable for delivery.

As a sociological experiment it would be fascinating to see the effect on marriages - and divorces - a “men outside the delivery room door” policy might have.

AT least one man has died because he was gay this month and it wasn't Stephen Gately.

Civil servant Ian Baynham was punched and kicked while celebrating his new job at the Home Office because he dared to stand up to a teenage girl screaming homophobic abuse in Trafalgar Square.

His head injuries were so severe his family agreed to switch off his life support machine last week.

Far from being consigned to the dustbin of history, intolerance and persecution of a person because of their sexuality is literally alive and kicking everywhere. In London alone, homophobic crimes have risen by almost 14pc since April, with 39 more crimes.

Mr Baynham was persecuted to death for who he was. In 2009 in central London. It's shocking.

What people do behind closed doors is their own business but some still believe it's open season to comment freely, derogatively, about the gay community.

Just like the straight community, gay relationships come in many different guises with different boundaries but the difference is that society accepts straight relationships without aspersion.

More than 21,000 angry people complained to the Daily Mail about a deeply insensitive, to say the least, and unnecessary piece castling a slur on Stephen Gately's lifestyle, civil partnerships and the way the 33-year-old died.

Only 21,000?

Gately suffered a sudden death from natural causes. It had nothing to do with him being gay but because he was gay bigots and homophobes would not allow him to rest in peace nor his family the dignity of mourning their son without innuendo.

So where exactly is the sickness in our society? It's looks very straight to me.

IT always a bit fishy if an MP's wife wants to work for her husband.

She either wants to act as his electronic tag tracking his every move along the lusty corridors of Westminster to save her a lonely end on the pile of MPs' divorced wives, likes being bossed about by him or because it's easy money.

How any wife can enjoy working for her husband is a mystery to me.

But each to their own even if working and living together would be my idea of married hell.

There are likely to be some mighty insecure women if draft proposals come into Parliament next year forcing MPs to sack their wives and any family members in the name of financial transparency. There are an incredible 166 at the moment.

More work for private detectives though.

DRESSED in a cartoon-size military hat and toy soldier get-up, Cheryl Cole looked more like a lost little girl who had raided the dressing up box than a foxy diva in her first solo performance on the X-Factor.

Group singers rarely make it alone and Cole epitomised why it can be a huge mistake to break away from the formula which brought the fame in the first place.

On stage, tiny Cole was anything but a confident sassy vamp - more like Little Bo Peep who had lost her sheep.

WE'RE a nation in the grip of Competitive Illness Syndrome.

So many people claiming they've had Swine Flu when they so clearly haven't. Most of them, anyway. They've had a bug. A common or garden cold virus.

But everyone wants to be in the Swine Flu club, muscling in on the Tamiflu action, with a story to tell.

Everyone insists their flu was worse than the next person and their “flu friend' had to drive furthest to pick up their Tamiflu.

Health chiefs didn't just fear a pandemic, they talked one up and, competitive nation we are, wannabes obliged.

Last year's usual autumn coughs and sniffles are this year's Swine Flu. Bog-standard flu, as debilitating as it is, is so last season.

IN France, a meal isn't a meal without a glass of wine.

French women, glass in one hand and a powerful Gauloise cigarette in the other, unwind at the end of the day.

But unlike her British sister enjoying her glass of Merlot, she isn't berated by health officials for starting the slide down the slippery slope of self-destruction.

Wine is a part of French family evenings like picking up the morning baguette. French women thrive on having a little bit of whatever they fancy without fear of reprimand by the wagging finger of the meddling state.

Here, women running themselves ragged working, bringing up a family, trying to look like a goddess and cooking like one too are being warned they are priming a health “time bomb” for themselves if they regularly pour themselves a wine in the evenings.

It's a reward at the end of a tough day. Something to enjoy, not a crutch.

But women make such ready targets because we do guilt so well. Every woman I know read the headline “The Relaxing Glass that is turning working others into alcoholics” on Monday and felt a pang: “Is that me?”

A friend even texted me to see if I'd read it. Yes, we often enjoy a quick glass over a post-6pm kitchen table chat. So what? A glass a day doesn't make us alcoholics.

No wonder so many families up sticks to France to live the good life in peace.

A PERSON'S dying wish to be cremated with I Did It My Way blaring out across the crematorium or have their coffin carried into the church to You Raise Me Up isn't much to ask.

Funerals should be personal and about the person in the coffin. There's little sadder than a funeral that goes nowhere near capturing the essence of the dear departed.

But a vicar has caused a rumpus by saying personalised made him feel left out. Diddums.

Father Ed Tomlinson said funerals with family input, pop songs and poems made him feel “like a lemon.”

Well, Father Tomlinson, you've managed to make yourself look like a right lemon all by yourself.

His objection that tastes have shifted from a requiem mass to bespoke funerals sums up what is so wrong with the church.

Everyone should be entitled to the send off they or their family want and a clergyman's job is to facilitate, officiate and offer comfort not to prescribe what is best for him.

Will the church never learn to move with the times? Only then will it become inclusive and relevant to every day life for the majority of people they claim to want to serve.

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