“I’m daunted about giving birth – but would I change it?”
Isat fully reclined on the couch the other night, my tummy wrapped in my pregnancy stability brace and a heat pack on my back, moaning g about the tribulation of human man gestation. This wasn’t the first rst time I’d complained either and, perhaps bereft of other r things to say, my boyfriend Chris threw out a corker.
“If you could change it so that men were the ones to give birth, would you?”
He wasn’t offering as such, and I could tell he wasn’t sure whether I was just about to undo my brace and whack him with it.
What did he mean? No morning sickness, no haemorrhoids or stretch marks, no giving birth, no prolapsed uterus, no cracked nipples and no stitched lady parts? No pressure to breastfeed, no mastitis, no guilt about going back to work and, of course, no dick-brain partners who have no idea what they are talking about! t!
As someone unlucky enough ugh to have had a terrifying postpartum rtum haemorrhage after baby number one, I would happily trade in the anxiety I feel around the baby-making process. Or would I? For all the challenges preg pregnancy, motherhood and chi childbirth bring, there is so something about the strength re required to endure these experiences that turns us women into warriors. You only have to be at the business end of a birth to marvel at the extraordinary thing the female body, and mind, can do. My curious partner recently strapped himself to a birth simulator as part of a radio show stunt to learn what it feels like to hatch a baby. The simulated contractions reached somewhere n near one-tenth of the strength o of actual labour before he declared it impossible to continue, tore the electrodes off, and declared he didn’t know how we did it. Yes, it’s bloody painful. But there is a also something really beautiful abo about their little feet kicking you from the inside. Something ama amazing about the agony followed by t the ecstasy of when you first me meet bub. I am truly daunted about bab baby number three setting forth on its trip down the birth canal, but I don’t think I’d change it even if I could.
In a world where real gender equality is just beyond the horizon, pregnancy and childbirth is a sacred space that we own. (Although if men could be pregnant, I am sure we’d have a cure for morning sickness by now.)
There is no question that your partner’s (male or female) love and attachment to their child is as genuine as Mum’s. Similarly, you don’t need to physically birth a child to love them as your own and feel the joy, the pain and the wonder of being a parent. I grew up in a step-family and know parental love does not exist only within bloodlines.
But if Chris’s late-night thought experiment taught me anything, it’s that while I often curse mother nature for her insistence that women must be the ones to give birth, in the end, I’m glad she made that choice. Carrie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm weeknights on Network Ten, and Carrie & Tommy, 3pm weekdays on the Hit Network.
“Pregnancy and childbirth is a sacred space that women own”