April 9, 2009

Why Are People So Afraid Of Childbirth?

A recent viral video reminded me of something that I’ve been saying for awhile now: what is it about birth that freaks people out so much?

Welcome to the world, kid

Welcome to the world, kid

I must be missing something. What’s the big deal? It’s just a baby. Sure, they look kinda slimy and blue when they first come out. But that stuff washes off. (I’m actually very glad that I was told about the blue part. Otherwise I might have thought that my wife had cheated on me with E.T.)

I’m not going to wax rhapsodic about “the miracle of childbirth” and all that other garbage. Yes, it’s true. It’s pretty amazing to watch, whether the mother is undergoing a c-section or squatting in a field somewhere. There was a baby inside of her, and then… there it is. A human life, in all of its blue, slimy glory. It’s amazing, and also a little gross.

It just seems to me like everyone is acting like a bunch of little kids. Except that metaphor doesn’t really work. (Or is it a simile? I was out sick the day we learned the difference.) Why not? Because kids usually aren’t as freaked out by this sort of stuff as we are. Ask a child about dissecting something on science class. Sure, some kids want to vomit at the merest mention of a scalpel. But most kids think its extremely cool to be cutting open an owl pellet and checking out what’s inside. An actual person coming out of mommy? Eh. Call me when you’ve got something really gross to show me.

That’s not to say that I think children should be in the hospital room during the birth. It can get a little crazy in there. Maybe there are complications and the birth mother has to be rushed to surgery. Maybe there is yelling and/or cursing. (Lots and lots of cursing.) Maybe the smell is overwhelming. I don’t know. But any grown person who can handle getting someone pregnant should be able to handle viewing the birth of that child.

As for the childless who say that this video makes them want to adopt (which is a good line), more power to you. Lots of kids out there who need loving homes. But for the neo-frat boy “bromance” contingent that makes up the Judd Apatow-iverse, don’t tell me that seeing a baby come out of a woman is more disgusting than drinking shots of Jagermeister. If you can swallow that crap, you can handle doing some time in the room where a kid pokes his or her slimy blue head out for the first time. Let’s all calm down, OK?

image: SXC

Initial Source: Buzzfeed

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This post was written by Brett Singer

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