Pregnancy is tough for couples. Actually, pregnancy is tough for the mother-to-be. Dad may be a loving husband and fantastic caretaker but at the end of the day he isn’t growing a mammal inside his body––one that tosses and turns, kicking major organs like a cat attacking a paper mache mobile. So when it comes time to actually deliver his seed, it may be best for him to know the do’s and don’ts of the delivery room. Here’s Dawn Meehan, author of You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (And Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth), to enlighten us.
Do not touch your wife unless she asks you to: Do not rub your wife’s head. Do not touch her arm. Do not massage her hands. Do not assume she wants a back rub. In fact, don’t touch her in any way, shape, or form unless she asks you to rub her back or hold her hand or brush her hair back. Do not get all offended if you follow this advice and your wife gets mad that you didn’t automatically know to rub her back without her asking you. We’re in serious pain. We can’t be expected to be logical when in labor.
Do not touch the remote control. I don’t care if the stinkin’ Super Bowl is on. You should be watching your precious wife, not the TV. Period. Watching sports, stupid shows, or just flipping through channels is grounds for divorce. If your wife wants to watch TV, you need to watch whatever she wants to watch. If she doesn’t, you need to make sure you don’t touch the remote control. And don’t complain about it either.
Do not eat anything in front of your wife. Do not bring food into the delivery room. Do not talk about what you’re going to eat for lunch or dinner or whatever. She hasn’t had anything but stupid ice chips to eat, and she’s having the workout of her life. If she can make it without food while giving birth, you can surely go a few hours without food while just sitting there.
If it’s okay with your wife, leave the room to eat and make sure you don’t eat anything with onions or garlic, or she will probably kick you in the shins when you return to the room and breathe near her face.
Do not sleep. I don’t care if you’ve been awake for twenty hours. Guess what? So has your wife! And she’s in too much pain to sleep. Stay awake and keep her company! If you fall asleep and start snoring, your wife has every right to stab you with a hypodermic needle.
Do not comment on your wife’s pain. Do not say, “It’s okay. You’re okay.” Do not ask, “Is it really that bad? Does it really hurt that much? It doesn’t seem that bad.” Don’t make comments about the level of pain you think your wife is or isn’t experiencing. Don’t compare her pain to your surgery, stitches, or broken bones. You have no idea what it’s like. You’ve never given birth. You don’t know. Period.
Don’t ask your wife questions and look at her expectantly for an answer while she’s having a contraction. In fact, don’t talk to your wife at all unless you’re answering her question. I’m sorry, but it’s just a fact. Listening to a husband’s stupid questions and inane babbling can be very irritating to a woman in labor. You might be the sweetest guy on earth and you may only be interested in your wife’s well-being, but in all honesty, we just don’t want to hear you talk while we’re in labor. It takes all our concentration to get through a contraction, and conversation is just annoying while we’re dealing with the pain.
Do not talk on the phone to your buddies or your mother or anyone, unless your wife has specifically asked you to make or take a phone call for her. Saying something like, “I can’t wait ’til this is over” or “I’m so tired/hungry/bored” is also grounds for divorce. You have the easy job here. There is no complaining allowed from you.
Do not downplay her pain. As I stated before, do not look at the fetal monitor and tell your wife when she is having a contraction. She KNOWS when she’s having a contraction! Do not look at the monitor and say, “Oh that’s not a bad one.” Based on the monitor, you have no idea if it was a “bad one”! Also, do not argue with your wife if she says she’s having a contraction no matter what the fetal monitor looks like. Don’t argue with her if she says she has to push or she’s in pain. Pretty much, don’t argue with her at all.
Do not announce that more than just the baby came out. We do not need to know that we just pooped while giving birth. Poop happens. We can’t even feel that with all the pain we’re in, and we’d prefer to remain blissfully ignorant, so don’t bring it up!
Do not make any sexual innuendos. Do not ask, while smirking, “So, you ready to have another one?” Wink wink. Believe me, if you do, it will be a looooong time before that’s even a possibility! Wink wink. Do not ask the doctor to “put in an extra stitch down there, if you know what I mean.” If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll be sleeping in the garage for the next year.
Do not say anything negative about the baby. Do not look at your precious newborn baby that you’ve waited nine months to see and say, “Ewww, he/she looks so slimy/ bloody/yucky!” This is your baby you’re talking about here! The only way to describe him or her is “beautiful”!
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