Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Words fail me…


So I'll share with you here the words of Elise at After School Snack by way of the always wonderful Bitch Ph.D.:

    Vaginas are scary!
    Giving birth: it's a traumatic process, long and drawn out, often resulting in scars and emotional trauma that can make it difficult to be interested in sexual intimacy for some time after the child is born.

    Not for the woman, mind you. For the man.

    Or at least that's the situation according to Dr. Keith Ablow, in an article he wrote for the NY Times titled "A Perilous Journey from Delivery Room to Bedroom." Where many of us might be tempted to focus on the difficulty of, say, the expectant mother squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a dime, Dr. Ablow wants to remind us that there's another person suffering in that delivery room: the male partner forced to view his woman's cooter in a way he never wanted to see it.

Read the whole thing here.

Andrea J. Buchanan is a writer living in Philadelphia. In addition to her latest book, The Double-Daring Book For Girls (HarperCollins), she is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Daring Book For Girls, The Pocket Daring Book For Girls: Things To Do, and The Pocket Daring Book For Girls: Wisdom and Wonder along with Miriam Peskowitz. She is also the author of Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It (Seal Press) and the editor of three anthologies: It’s a Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons; Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined; and It’s a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters (all from Seal Press). Before becoming a writer, Andi was a classical pianist; she studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music, where she earned her bachelor of music degree, and continued her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, earning a master’s degree in piano performance. Her last recital was at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. She is the mother of a daughter and a son, both of whom are equally daring.

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Bravo! I've been searching blogs, looking for postings about this NYT article, which I found shocking and angering, but then wondered if I was just being naive. Relieved to find out I'm not the only one who doesn't feel too much sympathy for these new dads and the "trauma" they endured. hampope
I read the article, and I have a different reaction. I am not surprised that some men's sexual response is affected by watching a delivery, nor do I blame them for it. People feel what they feel, and clearly, these guys wish they were feeling something else. I suspect that most of them admire their wives' fortitude and are deeply sympathetic to the pain of labor--but that's orthogonal to the point being made in the article, which is that their sense of sexual attraction was compromised. To my mind, it doesn't seem worthwhile to trivialize or denigrate this reaction, or to conclude that it implies a lack of sympathy (and joy!) regarding the mother's birth experience. It's just not helpful to ignore these guys' feelings and expect them to pretend they don't exist. I do disagree, however, with the conclusion of the article, which seems to suggest that the only answer (for couples who are worried about this outcome) is for the father not to be present in the delivery room at all. A solution that seems more reasonable to me is that the dad is present to support his partner during the delivery without actually looking at the gory stuff.
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