Because we haven’t dissected Harry Kane’s tweet enough, I’d like to touch on the subject of partner praise. While I obviously have no problem in partners giving their spouses a huge shout-out for either shoving a human out of their nethers, or having their abdomen spliced open for the same purpose, how come they usually only give greater details when it’s “drug-free”? Did we really need to know Kane’s wife didn’t have anything to ease the pain? Did drug-free make the baby anymore welcome? Did it make the missus more of a champ? I’m guessing not.
To clarify a few things, I don’t care how you deliver your baby. If you can, you should do what you want - hypno, water, on all fours, at home. Knock yourself out. (Probably not literally unless it’s a real emergency though.) If it doesn’t go entirely to plan, do what you need to. It’s a bit like your A Levels: after a few years, once you have a degree and/or work experience, no one asks what grades you got. It’s also worth remembering that there are no medals for labour and delivery. I have delivered every which way, none of them according to plan, and guess what? I have three relatively normal, healthy kids and no one cares about my birth story now.
I’m also not saying that those of us who resorted to any form of pain management never get praised by our partners - we do. And if we don’t, we nudge them ever-so-subtly in that direction with the odd episiotomy wince, or a vague reference to the two-hour push out. Interestingly though, well-deserved praise doesn’t usually get more detailed unless there’s an element of perceived heroism involved. Drug-free. When was the last time you read or heard “She delivered our baby with only three puffs of gas and air”? Or “Kudos to the wife for the elective C-section birth of our newborn”? It’s just not that common. If we didn’t do it “naturally”, it usually doesn’t get a mention. Unless of course, you nearly die in the process like Serena Williams, and then that’s another form of bravery.
In my personal experience, the only times I’ve ever received details about a birth from a father, was when it was drug-free. One bragged about it the week after he had a procedure under local anaesthetic, completely missing the irony there. Another even mentioned it in the Christmas round robin letter. I don’t think my husband has ever sent a Christmas card let alone discussed the epidurals and narcs I’ve had over the years. Seriously, who has ever heard a partner listing the cocktails some women receive to get them through childbirth? (My obstetrician once did remark that she was never going drinking with me, after perusing what I had consumed in a post-delivery complication.)
So while I’m pretty certain Kane was talking up hypno-birthing rather than denigrating women who use pain relief, perhaps we all need to admit the reality here. While you hear women humble-bragging about the massive babies they pop out or the horrendous time they had delivering them, unless they’re the fake terrible mum type (”Oh I’m such a bad mother”), you rarely hear them listing all the meds they needed.