Totally Worth the Effort

Most women don’t have their first child at age 12, but I must have because she is 36 today and I’m only 48.  Okay, my math may be a little fuzzy, but my recollection of the day is crystal clear.  I won’t bore anyone with the details of my 72 hours of labor and delivery.  Women who also had difficult deliveries aren’t really interested in anyone’s ordeal but their own, and women who had easy deliveries don’t believe you.  As a first time mom, I had heard childbirth was painful so I just thought what I was going through was the way it was for everyone.  Suffice it to say that I don’t think the experience would have been any worse if I’d delivered her myself in a remote African village, but she arrived healthy and beautiful, so I shouldn’t second guess the doctor too much.

John was just as clueless about the whole process as I was, and he tried his best to be supportive.  Given the ancillary role men play in childbirth (Lamaze coaches notwithstanding), it is understandable that he spent a lot of time wandering the halls and sitting by my bed with a look of complete bewilderment on his face.  I think it was his confusion and inability to offer any real comfort to me that caused him to utter what has to be one of his top ten things that would have been better left unsaid.  During one particularly painful contraction, he leaned over my bed and said tenderly, “I don’t think those contractions would hurt as much if you didn’t scream so loudly.”  For an instant I thought he must be speaking a foreign language that sounded like English but meant something completely different.  Sadly, that was what he actually said to me.  Through gritted teeth I said, “If that’s the best you can do to help, you need to stay in the lobby.”  Of course he apologized and stayed by my side, and together we delivered an 8lb. 11oz. baby girl.

Thirty-six years later she is a successful doctor with two beautiful daughters of her own, and her dad is still as communicatively challenged as he was on the day she was born.  Do I wish the process had been easier–absolutely.  Was it worth the effort–totally!

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