Alright, in reality its more like, 6:30 and a DVR’d episode of some city of Real Housewives . ‘Glass of Wine’ sounds more poetic, more accurately evokes the soothing sensation of coming down over the stairs, the baby tucked in upstairs behind you, plopping down on the couch, slipping the computer out from under the blanket where you hid it all day so that the baby, who goes bananas whenever he sees the computer, couldn’t see it while you surreptitiously checked your emails and aaaaaaaaaah peace. No, “6:30 and a DVR’d episode of the Real Housewives “, just didn’t have a ring to it.
You’ve figured by now that I’m a mother, a new one, a stay at home one. I’m tired, I’m cranky, I think murderous thoughts. I’ve picked boogers from my baby’s nose and wiped them on my pants. Didn’t think twice about it. I’m married to someone, I know I am, but I never see the guy, he’s always working so I can stay home with my baby. I salivate thinking about the little guy, he’s so precious, and I’ll tell you all about it if you care to know, but first let’s start at the beginning-
My husband is from Russia. You might have gathered that from the 14 syllables in the last name he gave me. And mostly, I love that he’s Russian. He’s a man. A traditional man. He’s loving and kind and generous to a fault but he believes that men are men and women are women and throw your stones, but I love it. And no, he doesn’t drink a bottle of vodka a day. Not on Sundays. So, for the most part we were of one mind about family and marriage. We agreed to a traditional family plan; working father, stay at home mother.
There was just one kink.
Apparently, in Russia, men don’t attend the birth of their children. What the….? Huh? Its changing, a little, but even in the most modern, cosmopolitan areas of the country, men aren’t even allowed into the labor and delivery floor. Not even allowed! So, my hubby was perhaps understandably perturbed by my insistence that he should be there, chanting and breathing and counting right along with me. And I was sweet about it, I tried to be culturally sensitive.
Hubby: ” Sweetie, I don’t think I’ll come into the delivery room with you, men in my country don’t do that.”
Me: ” Say what? You’ll be there you #^#%% !! What do you think this is, the @#&$$& Middle Ages?!!”
It was the hormones. Remember, the hormones.
I was freaked. Who had a husband that didn’t come to the hospital with their wife for the birth of their child? No one that I had ever known, not since the time of my grandmothers, that is. Some of his Russian friends tried to help me understand. You see, they explained, women look really ugly giving birth.
And the Va-jay-jay shouldn’t be seen like that by any man, they told me.
Aaaah, I see( actually, I really did see that point).
We went around and around the issue as my pregnancy matured. I talked to my friends about it, my family, strangers, children, but it didn’t help. Especially the children, they never have any good advice. I heard tales of husbands who held their wives hands and wiped their foreheads and sang songs or whatever. They pitied me. They tried to hide it, but I knew what they were thinking. Their husbands had set up easels and sketched their babies as they were born, mine wanted to stay home and watch The Sopranos. Why did I have the world’s worst husband? Why was I…..wait? Did I really regret all this?
I was beginning to see it all a little differently.
The final straw came at some earth-mothery type meeting that I attended, while we were discussing our birth plans. Birth plan? Um, give birth. Have a living baby. A healthy baby. Oh, and no pain, thank you. One mother described how her plan involved music and candles and the doctor couldn’t look her in the eyes or something, but it also stipulated that the baby, as soon as it was born, must be immediately given to her husband, who would be waiting, shirtless, to smush the baby against his chest.
Now, I began to picture my husband, bare-chested, clutching our defenseless baby in a nest of chest hair. That was it. What was going on? What happened to going to the hospital to give birth to a baby and wanting nothing more than that baby? When did it become an ‘experience’? The music, the rules for the medical staff, the naked husbands- I didn’t want any of that! So what did I want?
I went back over the conversations I had with our Russian friends, the female ones. I thought about history, about biology. Women, I realized, have been giving birth for absolute centuries without the help of their husbands! Who needs ’em? Birthing is women’s work. It’s the ultimate feminine endeavor. My husband is not a sexist. His resistance to being at the birth wasn’t about dismissing the importance of it. He just didn’t feel that it was his realm; his place. We compromised. I would deliver the baby without him, but he would have to stay with me through all the boring hours of early labor. Fine.
We had a deal. And then he forgot to turn on his phone ringer and slept through it. I’ll let that sink in a moment. Okay, again…… he forgot to turn on the ringer on his phone and SLEPT through my part of the deal! But, That is a blog for next week……