Tootsie's weekly advice column. She's no expert, although she's not really sure what constitutes "expert". If it involves school, she attended the school of Very Strong Opinions. Questions are welcomed. Answers may borderline ridiculous.
Q: Holly from Anglophilefootballfanatic kicks it up a notch this week with three THREE questions: 1. How many licks does it take to get to the center of the tootsie roll lollipop? 2. You hear about getting 3 staples in your wardrobe each season. What 3 do you suggest for this season? 3. And, what would you recommend taking on a trip to Disney that doesn't scream "I'm a Mom?"
A: Holly? Didn't that fricken owl answer your first question when you were like 5 years old? It's not Wuuhuuun. Nor Twoo-whooo. It's Thhhuuhreee! Three. And how pompous was that owl anyway? Looking down his beak at that kid. What a dick. On to question #2; when you say "season" I'm assuming spring? Because it was like 90 degrees at my house yesterday which just screams "SUMMER!!". My recommendations are 1) 3/4 sleeve cardigan, and don't tell your husband, but go with cashmere. Because? YUMMY! 2) These pants are in my closet and look amazing on, in a very Katie Holmes kind of way. She may have questionable taste in men but when it comes to fashion she's at the top of her game. Pair it with a simple white tank top and a bright chunky necklace! Which brings us to 3) Shoes. Think wedge. The answer to your third question is so obvious: Johnny Depp.
In a recent article, obstetrician Michel Odent (you'll note that I don't refer to him as "Dr. Michel Odent" because no where in the article is he referenced as such. It's a British paper and I have no idea about its legitimacy or if it's their version of The Enquirer) describes "why he believes that when a woman goes into labour, her partner should stay well away". And his opinion is this:
"That there is little good to come for either sex from having a man at the birth of a child. For her, his presence is a hindrance, and a significant factor in why labours are longer, more painful and more likely to result in intervention than ever. As for the effect on a man - well, was I surprised to hear a friend of mine state that watching his wife giving birth had started a chain of events that led to the couple's divorce? Or another lady describing how the day after her husband had watched her deliver their child, he had fled to his hometown of Rome, and never returned again? For many men, the emotional fallout of watching their partner have their baby can never be overcome."
Uh-huh. I see. The poor tender dears. Childbirth is messy and not nearly as sexy as conception. I understand. What's that? Oh you were going to tell us how you came to this scientific conclusion? Go ooonnnnn...
"When I was first involved in obstetrics in the Fifties, it was unheard of for a man to be present as their child was born."
Oh! I get it! You're old-school. Emphasis on the old. I'm sure you're also aware that in the fifties it was common practice to knock a woman out cold and hand her an infant when she came too. Oh, I'm sorry. You weren't finished:
"Childbirth was predominately a woman's business - usually carried out at home - and while a man may be in the vicinity at the time of labour, he would usually be found in the kitchen, boiling copious amounts of water, and therefore would miss the actual event."
You may have skipped a chapter or two in all of your fancy book learnin', but childbirth is STILL predominately a woman's business. And in the past he was more likely to be found smoking cigarettes and tossing back some bourbon. Keep going:
"However, by 1970, a handful of women started to ask for their husbands to be present at the birth, a shift that began to occur in many Western countries at about the same time."
GASP! Those crafty, globally organized bitches!
"There are a variety of reasons for this, including the fact that birth was being increasingly concentrated in hospitals rather than at home, and the rise of the smaller nuclear family meant women increasingly turned to their husbands for support in all areas of their life, rather than relying on their mothers or aunts."
My own mother does not have the capacity to withstand witnessing her own child in moderate to severe discomfort. However, I could rely on my mother in law to keep me updated on the strength of my contractions according to the monitor and that there weren't enough chairs in the delivery room to her liking. My husband was the calm in the brewing storm. So what is your professional opinion about the husband being present for the delivery and its effect on the laboring mother?
"First, a labouring woman needs to be protected against any stimulation of the thinking part of her brain - the neocortex - for labour to proceed with any degree of ease. This part of the brain needs to take a back seat and allow the primal "unthinking" part of the brain connected to basic vital functions to take over. A woman in labour needs to be in a private world where she doesn't have to think or talk. Yet, motivated by a desire to "share the experience", the man asks questions and offers words of reassurance and advice. In doing so, he denies his partner the quiet mind that she needs. The second reason is that the father's release of the stress hormone adrenaline as he watches his partner labour causes her anxiety, and prevents her from relaxing. No matter how much he tries to smile and appear relaxed, he cannot help but feel anxious. And the release of adrenaline is contagious.
It has been proven that it is physically impossible to be in a complete state of relaxation if there is an individual standing next to you who is tense and full of adrenaline. The effect of this is that, with a man present, a woman cannot be as relaxed as she needs to be during labour, and hence the process becomes longer and more difficult."
So your professional opinion is that in order for a laboring woman to "be in that part of her brain where she doesn't need to think or talk", is to stick her in a room full of women (i.e. mothers/aunts)? This is your solution? Have you actually met the chatty female species? This doesn't explain how it is any different with a man than it does with "mothers and aunts" in the room, now does it? Rhetorical, sir. Because distraction is distraction is distraction. And what say you about the stubborn placenta?
"Physically, in order to deliver the placenta with ease, her levels of oxytocin - the hormone of love - need to peak. This happens if she has a moment in which she can forget everything about the world, save for her baby, and if she has time in which she can look into the baby's eyes, make contact with its skin and take in its smell without any distractions. Often, as soon as a baby is born, men cannot help but say something or try to touch the baby. Their interference at this key moment is more often than not the main cause for a difficult delivery of the placenta, too."
Your professional opinion is, that with my husband in the room, I don't love my newborn child enough? Let me say this to you, Michel Odent: You may have been "involved in childbirth for 50 years", and "been in charge of 15,000 births", but you sir, have never actually given birth. You can never know the immediate unconditional love that is born right along with that child and might I add, without actually having YET seen the child. You will never feel that mother to child emotion. You will never completely understand it. Which is obvious by your opinions. Because that is all it is; your opinion. Not a scientific study but your own observations as an obstetrician about a couple of guys who fled at the sight of a human being emerging from a vagina and women whose labor took a little too long for your taste.
So here is my advice to you, Michel Odent: RETIRE!