After watching both of my daughters being born and becoming one of the seven billion humans on earth I felt a real pic ’n’ mix of emotions.
There was the joy of witnessing a new life come into the world and seeing a human life I co-created for the very first time.
And after watching the fascinating but at the same time distressing journey that is labour from the very beginning until the very end, I was filled with a huge amount of gratitude that I would never have to go through what my partner Serena just went through.
I openly admit I have an incredibly low pain threshold and a paper cut makes me feel like I am about to meet my maker.
So if labour feels as excruciating as it looks, I know that I could not handle the pain and I’m in awe of any woman who goes through the ordeal, especially with zero pain relief like Serena.
In short, thank goodness I’m a man. But according to a recent article by journalist Quentin Letts, labour is a real pain, for men.
He admits in the open and honest piece that he is treading on a minefield with his opinions, especially when he goes on to say that during labour, a man’s pain is no less intense than the woman’s on a psychological level.
He says this so called pain is brought on by feelings of helplessness, boredom and also a feeling of being neglected.
I have witnessed two births, both in the last four years, so do I agree with Quentin?
Well of course I’m not him and he’s not me and we do not think the same, but that doesn’t affect my opinion that he needs to man up.
Let’s look closer at those feelings that he experienced through the birth of his child.
Firstly helplessness – yep I felt like that too. In that situation not knowing what to do to help or what to say to comfort your partner or spouse can make you feel lost, but normally the midwife is there and the man’s job is to simply be there.
Normally boredom strikes when you having nothing to do, and yes during labour sometimes you feel like a spare part.
But going through my mind was what was about to happen and how I am about to be in charge of a human life – there really wasn’t time to feel bored.
Thirdly, feeling neglected. You’re not being neglected but the midwife is not there to look after you. She’s busy looking after the lady who is giving birth to a real life person.
Are men going through the same psychological pain?
Ask any woman who has been through it and you’ll get the same answer.