A Brief Education (book excerpt)

Some parents (women) like to go to childbirth classes so that couples (women) can better understand the process and that they (men) don’t do anything unwise (that makes their wives kill them).  I have two theories about childbirth classes.

The first theory is that first time mothers are incredibly worried about giving birth to a child.  They are growing a human being inside their bodies, that’s incredible.  The closest thing I ever grew was when I was ten and swallowed all my watermelon seeds.  Their apprehension about what might happen because of what you’ve done to them is understandable.  It’s probably around this time that they’re going to start blaming you for what you’ve done to them. You’ve destroyed their body and ability to sleep. You made funny things happen to their skin and brain and your attempts at lightening the mood through humor have vanished like her interest is letting you sleep comfortably.  If she can’t sleep on her stomach, then neither should you.  Your penance is your attendance at these classes.

In these classes you talk about many things, like having a birthing plan and what medicines might be offered.  You’ll be in a room with a lot of other women who have a lot of questions and a lot of guys who look like they could use a nap, on their stomachs.

You’ll sit there thinking,  “people have been giving births for thousands of years, how hard could it be?”  Your wife will be thinking, “I can’t believe people were doing this for thousands of years!”  After each class you’ll talk to your wife and tell her that she’s the most wonderful women in the world and you would love to rub her feet because she did so good in class.  The class reminds you of all the things she’s doing to grow your brood and you get a tinge of thankfulness and guilt.

My second theory is that women already know all this. They know how to give birth and are not worried in the least.  What women want to do is make you go to class. They want you to be bored and grossed out by what other people are saying, because you did this to them.  Then they want you to feel that thankfulness and guilt so that you’ll rub her feet and run out for ice cream.

I never conveyed either theory to my wife when she was pregnant, I knew much better than that.  Instead I did what any guy should do; I went to each class, I sat next to her, I rubbed her feet, and I went and got ice cream.  It isn’t until now that I realized who needed to learn a thing or two, me.

This is an essay from a book I’m writing and may not be fully polished.  If you’d like to read more about the process for writing this book, here’s my diary or see more excerpts.

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