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  • Showing only topics in ~life with the tag "society". Back to normal view / Search all groups
    1. The only man in the maternity ward

      For context, this was neither in the US nor Europe. This is not my first language and some terms are direct translations since I am not aware of actual usage. I'm coming from an intense...

      For context, this was neither in the US nor Europe. This is not my first language and some terms are direct translations since I am not aware of actual usage.

      I'm coming from an intense experience: my first son is born. In the days before that, I cared for my pregnant wife during the passing of her mother, who spent 3 months in the hospital fighting multiple conditions, chiefly neurological.

      Two days after the burial, we went to the hospital for several exams. My wife was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure.

      We spent almost a week in the hospital. My wife did not want a c-section, so our doctor employed multiple methods to induce labor over the course of several days.

      There are no men in the maternity ward. Men do not sweep floors, do not take calls, or take any position of care.

      I did not see any men in the hallway, although I assumed there were some hidden in the bedrooms.

      When the nurses entered the room, they did not look at me. I was not a father, but rather a "companion" whatever you would use in English for someone who is just kind of there. When they had instructions pertaining to the care of my wife and son, they never addressed me. They only addressed me in matters lacking importance, like "Get me a towel", or "Is there any cotton left?".

      The tone and body language were of contempt and distrust.

      When my wife was soon to go into labor, I decided to go to the bathroom, since I expected to be locked in a room for many hours. When I left the bathroom (which was in the same room where she was), my wife was not there. She was gone. I looked for information and realized she was in the delivery room.

      When I was in the bathroom, someone asked me to get something for the doula (a woman), but didn't tell me why. I did. You see, they had time to request me to get something for the doula, but couldn't use the same time to warn me that my wife was being taken to another floor.

      That was incredibly traumatizing.

      At every step, the message was very clear: "You are not welcome here". "You are not qualified to care for your wife and son". "You are man, and, therefore, a menace to this environment".

      Well, fuck them. I was there for my wife since day one. In every contraction, every second she needed me, I was there.

      I was the first person to touch my son when he left the womb.

      We had to revolt to leave that place as soon as we could. Our personal pediatrician had to intervene because apparently, the maternity ward didn't really trust my wife either -- they just pretended. The kid was slightly underweight. I was convinced that the long stay at the hospital was the main factor impacting breastfeeding. My wife needed to mourn the loss of her mother and required some sense of normality and routine (we are so incredibly happy in our day-to-day, I was confident she would improve!). Turns out that I (and our doctor) were right. We're home now, and the kid's gaining weight again.

      At every step of this process, I was invited not to care. "Get out, father, you are not needed here." "That is not a job for men, let the women do it for you".

      Earlier today, a neighbor came asking "Are the girls helping you out?". I gotta be honest, I snapped. "No", I said. "This kid has a father". "Oh, but the feminine touch is special!". "It is not", I answered.

      Well, fuck them, because I do care for my son, and I will continue to do so. I fully acknowledge and respect the special connection a mother has with their kids. I cannot bear a child, and I lack the ability to produce milk. Other than that, there are no tasks my wife can do that I cannot do as well.

      I am not an angry person. Thinking about this makes me very angry and I hate that feeling. I feel a long-lasting trauma is forming. I'm pretty shook-up.

      I love my son, I guess that ultimately that is all that matters.

      I'm just glad I'm now home, and that I am no longer the only man in a place that considered me a foreign body, trying to eject me at every chance.

      59 votes