Back in late August, my husband and I started a 10-week birth class for expecting couples. I teased him that at the end of the classes, he could add “birth coach” to his resume and BC to his business card.
On the first day of class, we went around the room and introduced ourselves. Then the instructor asked the dads-to-be why they were attending the class. Each husband gave a respectable answer: He wanted to support his wife during the delivery; he wanted to be more involved in the labour and birth process.
Mine was the only husband who pointed at his spouse and said, “She made me.” He then felt compelled to add, “I thought my place was in the waiting room.”
Ha ha. Totally inappropriate. Laughs all around.
In a later class, we were asked to do a relaxation exercise – to practise relaxing during labour. The expecting moms lay down on their sides and pretended to be in labour, while the husbands massaged arms and gently coaxed us to “relax, release and let go.”
All around me I heard devoted, supportive husbands offering encouraging words to their partners. Then I heard my husband hissing in a menacing, Darth Vader-like voice, “Releeease. Releeeeeeease.”
Between “Can you try to be serious?” even I had to laugh.
At first, I felt like my husband just wasn’t into the whole thing. But as the classes progressed, I started to appreciate what he was doing. He attended every class and started enjoying them. He even missed a few late night hockey ice times, which happened to fall on the same night as the birth class.
While there’s still no talking to the tummy, the man has put together the crib, the dresser, the stroller, the glider, the bassinet and the baby monitor. He cooks practically all the meals and makes sure I eat enough (left to my own devices, I tend to wait too long between meals). He’s attended all of my midwife appointments and accompanies me on the many trips to Babies R Us to add items to our registry. (The sleek, dark grey diaper bag that could double as a laptop bag – his pick.)
Then a few weeks ago, on a two-day vacation in Banff, my appreciation culminated. Engrossed in the second novel of the Stieg Larsson trilogy one evening, I glanced over to see my husband reading his novel of choice – The Baby Whisperer. The Baby Whisperer is a popular parenting book, and one I had just finished reading. He read the book to the end, refers to it from time to time, and now encourages me to reread it.
I guess sometimes people surprise you.
Maybe it’s not such a long walk from the waiting room to the delivery room.