Wow, Mothra. I think that your feelings on this article were similar to mine when I first read it years ago.
However, having men at birth is a relatively new phenomenon - even in other cultures. I am not saying that a man cannot be at birth. What I'm saying is that men think differently from a laboring woman, and in order for birth to move the hormones correctly, she needs to be "lost" basically in her body. Men do think differently in that most are analytical, nervous around things they cannot control, etc.
Originally Posted by Mothra
We're not talking about nature, we're talking about culture. I think that is an important distinction to be made. We have language, we have culture, we use tools to construct the buildings we give birth in (whether it be a hospital, an apartment building, or a hut in the African bush).
Ah, but see, the biodynamics of birth are not about culture. Every woman experiences the same hormonal rushes, the same shifts in awareness in labor, etc. So, in essence, the nature of labor and birth is not about culture. Culture has bastardized the natural flow of labor, sure. But, I'm talking about the biodynamic, natural, physiological aspect of birth, not about home vs hospital or attended vs not. I'm talking about the fine orchestra of hormones and the role of the primal brain vs the logical, new brain in birth. It's organic, not about societal expectations.
Ideally, if we really want a world in which there is little violence and true empowerment, we'd recognize the perfect system of the body instead of trying to co-opt "indepedence" and "control" through a biomedical way of thought.
Aside from the sexual point of view (which I don't share), I have to agree with what he's talking about. Biologically meaning that I don't think that many men are clamoring to sign up for childbirth classes or really want to read books about birth. I think that is a woman's invention - and requirement of our partners.
I see what you're saying in some ways, but anthropologically and biologically it makes sense.
I also think that perhaps by having the father EXPECTED to DO during birth, we're totally dismissing his own sacred transition to fatherhood. I think that many men miss out on so much because of this idea that they need to be the defender, coach, and person to help create a good birth experience.
Interesting responses, that's for sure. I'm enjoying this dialogue.