Here is the thought: I believe if all single guys had to go through a birthing class the world would be a better place (particularly for women).
This begins my story of how I have a certificate for taking a birthing class (and I am a single, never married with no children guy).
Maribeth and Phil were really good married friends of mine (another story will be the 12 straight blind dates they set me up on). Maribeth was in the advertising business like me. Phil did something else (do we ever really know what our friends do?). Maribeth got pregnant (via Phil but I didn’t ask any details). Phil was doing his job (whatever it was) and had to leave Mondays and come back Fridays. Birthing classes were Wednesdays I believe.
So Phil and Maribeth asked if I could attend birthing class with Maribeth and then I could pass along the guy version of what happened to Phil over the weekend to prepare him for the ultimate ‘gig.’
I guess the sticky wicket was always going to be “the day” and what happened if Phil couldn’t make it. Thank god that crisis was averted.
So … every Wednesday night Maribeth and I went to the hospital to attend this several week birthing class.
Introductions were interesting the first day.
In general everyone was a little confused on who I was and the relationship to the Phil/Maribeth relationship (I am fairly sure a couple of guys thought there was some threesome thing going on which creeped both Maribeth and I out).
But everyone moved along pretty quickly as we got down to the nuts and bolts of what the baby does to a woman’s body.
What this baby thing does to a woman’s body.
Suffice it to say I would rather Mike Tyson hit me in the stomach than endure the effect a baby would have on my body. And that would be the number one thing I believe every single guy should start with understanding.
I have to tell you. Maribeth and I had a blast considering the seriousness of the discussion. Maybe it’s because we were both in the marketing business, but we probably analyzed what was said and why it was said that way more than was probably healthy. Phil would often have to bring us back “on point” in our debrief discussions.
During the class there were definitely some awkward moments with regard to the whole coaching and coaxing thing but I sometimes believe the fact she and I laughed so much reminded the rest of the class that having some fun was … well… more fun than worrying.
Some of the dads were so uptight I was a little unclear how conception happened in the first place. The class – which I assume is pretty much the same everywhere – kinda works to get the partners in sync with what is happening with the pregnancy and birth. I imagine it is a nice way to eliminate some of the surprises at “the event” as well as gives some nice fallback tricks when you don’t know what else to do. And the class culminates in a video of three actual births (here is the marketing guy in me). The video strategically begins with a “problem birth,” switches to a “difficult but healthy birth” and finally to an “easy healthy birth” (they always want to finish on a high note).
Let me be clear about the video. From a bachelor point of view they were all brutal to watch. And I appreciated the mix, but it kind of all made me think being a monk may not be all that bad. Once again. A very good lesson for any single “in your 20’s” guy (it also may be a great recruiting tool for the church).
It was an amazing experience.
Basically I netted out two things (although I learned much much more than this):
– Having a baby as a couple is an amazing thing. It wasn’t even my baby but I found myself pretty astounded by the capacity and sometimes overwhelming care which creeped into the moment. Every guy would be served well to understand that even if they don’t have a kid. It is an amazing thing to experience even peripherally.
– Having a baby fucks up a woman’s body. I saw things and pictures and videos that sobered me up pretty quickly on my relatively casual attitude with regard to sex.
So I still have my little paper certificate.
It probably cost 5 cents on their copier machine but it is kinda valuable to me. I have lost touch with Phil and Maribeth but that experience will always define my friendship with them. I believe the class matured me a little. And I believe most single guys in their 20’s would benefit from the experience.