Two years ago my wife and I went to an antenatal class, when she was 30 weeks pregnant.
The main thing I learnt was not about breast-feeding or contraction timing, but that men are idiots who ask very dumb questions at an antenatal class. And, yes, this includes me.
But don’t worry, not every man in the world is a complete moron. There is always that guy who has read every pregnancy book and he feels that it’s okay to answer every question on his wife’s behalf. He’s basically transformed himself into What to Expect When You’re Expecting to shame every man that has ever lived.
Mr Pregnancy was telling us about his wife’s fears and the fact that she wasn’t going to use any drugs during labour. I kept looking at his wife and I wanted to know what she thought while Mr Pregnancy narrated several chapters of Up The Duff. Maybe she just didn’t want to talk? Maybe she’d tried to tell him to shut up and he didn’t listen? Maybe he thought he was a Jedi that could read your mind?
Mr. Pregnancy was unstoppable. He was telling us about birthing statistics, effects of drugs on babies, who the nicest obstetricians were…What I really wanted to say was, “Dude, we can all read, so it’s okay for you to shut up. Also, how about you let some of the women say something because they’re the ones here who are actually pregnant”.
I can read a book on Roman History, but it doesn’t make me Julius Caesar.
So, it’s only fair that I confess the stupid things that I said. On the first day, the midwife educator that was teaching the class, Anastasia, asked us a typical ice-breaker question: “What are some of the words that come to mind when you think of childbirth?”
I thought I’d kick the vocabulary up a notch so everyone would walk away thinking I was really smart. I wasn’t going to just say “awesome”. I jumped in there with ‘visceral’ and I kept with the Sesame Street letter of the day with the word ‘viscousy’. I don’t think the second one is even a proper word. Everyone in the room was impressed with my lexicon, except my wife, Carla. She just exhaled and rolled her eyes. This wasn’t a breathing exercise. I’m sure she was thinking “Why did I marry this idiot?”
Incredibly, I was not the biggest idiot at the course. About half-way through the first day, Anastasia was telling the group about how to create ambiance by playing music in the birthing room. Okay, fair enough. I listen to music when I’m writing, so you can understand why people would listen to music while they’re going through the most painful thing imaginable. Pretty simple, right?
Not according to the vacuous guy who chimed in with:
“My wife and I like listening to dance music. So, do you recommend playing dance music while my wife is giving birth?”
What followed was a serious discussion about how the level of bass in a song can affect a woman as she was in the First Stage of Labour.
I was losing my mind.
Look, I don't care if you even have U2 performing live in front of you when your wife is giving birth. Just don’t tell random strangers about it because we’ve got our own stuff to deal with. Who cares if you listen to Ministry of Sound Volume 28 while your wife is trying to push a 4kg baby out of her body? I certainly don't because I WON'T BE AT YOUR BIRTHING EXPERIENCE.
Listen to more silly questions from men. Post continues after video...
Another guy piped up with an inane question, “Is it okay to light candles in a hospital?” Why don’t you ASK THE STAFF AT THE HOSPITAL?! Seriously, I was wondering if there was a sign directing the stupid men of Sydney to the hospital where the antenatal class was taking place.
But wait…there’s more pea-brained questions from some really daft men! One guy asked, “Should I wear my glasses when my child is born?” Anastasia thought carefully about this and she talked about the child seeing his “true face” and the glasses were “a mask” that could be a potential barrier for the “truest form of connection”.
Okay, this discussion on glasses was insane. Firstly, the baby won’t remember any of these initial moments. All you are is a blurry cloud to your child. If you love your child, you’ll connect with them, glasses or not. And anyway, it’s not about you. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a Batman mask when your kid is entering the world. What matters is if your wife and baby are healthy.
Look, I know it’s good that men are involved in the pregnancy journey these days. Thankfully we’re past the Mad Men era of parenting where a father would be drinking scotch at his desk and he’d get a call from the hospital to tell him that he has a baby boy.
However, I think that some of these guys at the antenatal course could have benefited from shutting up. Listen to the expectant mothers talk about their hopes and dreams instead. Be thankful that you’ve got a kid on the way and that you’re able to be along for the ride.
What is something stupid you have said during an antenatal class?