So, you are seated at home, in the comfort of your lounge, catching your favourite match with the boys, or safely tucked into your bed in the middle of a cold rainy night, and the next thing you hear is constant unexpected screams from your wife (for the married ones) or you receive a phone call from your ‘baby mama-to-be’ that “her water just broke.”
For a moment, your heart just skips a bit because you are not sure what that word even means, or if it even makes any sense, and you are thinking, “how can water break?” And then it suddenly registers in your mind that OMG, the baby is coming!
Then you are thrown into a state of confusion, wondering what to do next; whether to dial the cab guy’s number in your phonebook or to jump into that car and drive her yourself to the hospital. Of course it’s not that you hadn’t played this moment in your mind several months before, but reality is that there are some things you just can’t be prepared for.
As expected, you put yourself together and drive her to the hospital, make a few calls here and there. Upon reaching the hospital, your wife is wheeled away straight to the Labour Ward (in ‘uncool’ hospitals, you would be asked to find ways to carry your wife into the delivery room yourself). At this point, the nurse or midwife may ask the unexpected: “Excuse me sir, do you want to accompany your wife to the delivery room?”
So many a times, the question has always been whether a man should enter the delivery room and support his wife as she makes that magical ‘push’ to bring the baby into this world.
For some men, it is just a ‘western practice’ or something that we only see in the movies and will remain thus. In some African cultures, a man is not even supposed to be an inch near to the delivery room, simply because it has been tagged as bad lack.
But let’s face it: is there anything wrong about a man being at his wife’s side as she brings life to the little thing whose ‘making’ they both participated in? Why should a woman go through all the pain alone – from the nine months of pregnancy, all through to the Laboor Ward, and even as far as sleepless nights when the baby cries in the middle of the night…where is the fairness in this?
According to Elizabeth Mbabazi, a marriage counselor, this practice acts as a bonding factor between a man and woman, for a husband to be present in the Labor Ward, especially during the birth of their first born
Ali Mugisha, a cashier, says, “Let’s look at it this way: If it took the two of you to make that baby, then it’s only logical that it takes both of you – mainly a gentleman’s support – to bring that baby out. I wonder why nature didn’t allocate some of the pain these women go through, the nine months are troubling enough. A man should have been designed to go through the labour pains. I surely will be besides my lady during such time.”
However, Moses, a father of two, totally disagrees: “At this time, you are in need of a doctor/midwife most, not a man. The place can be so unsightly...like an abattoir!”
“It depends on each woman. Personally I really didn’t like my baby’s daddy so I didn’t want him anywhere around me during pregnancy and time of delivery,” says Sandrine Umutesi, a supermarket attendant.
So gentlemen, the question still remains: would you accompany your wife or baby mama to the Labour Ward, especially if she requested you to, or will it forever remain a ‘Western practice’ or something we only see in the movies?