This is another article by Chimezie Agwu. Please, read on: The cry and lamentation that usually emanate from pregnant women in the Labour Room can be unsettling. Labour period is an agonizing moment usually, for pregnant women. The pain is so much that some of them speak in ‘tongues.’ Some, even curse their husbands for impregnating them.
“Baba Yinka, ko ni da fun e’ (Baba Yinka, goodness will not be your lot) or Papa Chioma, e no go better for you o. After this one, I no go do am again,” and so on they curse. There is no end to their wailing and moaning until the baby arrives.
Some women feel that their husbands should share the pains they undergo in the Labour Room with them so as to increase their love for them. That is why they like their husbands to be present during their labour.
Sometime ago, I went round to sample the opinion of some spouses on the matter. They expressed divergent views. A young mother told me that the presence of her spouse in the Labour Room, when she was giving birth to their second baby, mitigated her pain. She said that his whispers of sweet words of love as well as his encouraging endearments during her travail, increased her love for him. On his part, her spouse said that watching one’s wife giving birth was a hypertensive sight, stressing that though it made him to have a soft spot for women usually, he vowed that he would never try it again because of the trauma he went through.
A female medical doctor, who pleaded anonymity, claimed that labour pain could be reduced considerably if the woman’s husband is present in the labour room. She added that it would improve their love. “It’s psychotherapy,” she said. A nursing sister, said: “Some pregnant women tend to be unmanageable when their husbands are in the labour room. They want to be over pampered and in the process, they give the wrong impression that their husbands had committed a serious offence by impregnating them”.
A midwife expressed a similar view to that of the nursing sister. She asserted that the presence of a husband in the labour room could weaken his wife as she would expect to be coaxed and indulged by her spouse to the extent that the baby could die out of exhaustion. She added that a husband being in the labour room is foreign and un-African.
A pharmacist, who is a father of four, Mr. Emeka Muonaka, speaking on the subject said: “If you want me to know the pains of child-bearing by watching my wife in travail, you are telling me invariably not to impregnate her again.”
My classmate in the Secondary school and a father of four children, Prof. J.S.O. Oludotun, said: “Apart from the fact that our society does not allow such practice, I can’t stand the sight of blood. I don’t have the heart. I prefer to stay away and pray for my wife’s safe delivery. Some women in labour pain, resort to raining abuses on their husbands. If that is the case, I won’t wait and absorb such insults over a natural act”.
Some ladies like the idea. Mrs. Anyika, a primary school teacher, and a mother of six said, “I will like my husband to be present in the labour room. His presence will afford him the opportunity of appreciating the more, the agonies a woman goes through during labour. It can increase also, his love for me and commitment to our children’s upbringing”.
A senior nursing sister and a mother of four, who works in a private hospital, maintained that a husband’s presence during his wife’s labour, will promote lasting love between the couple. She added: “I like it personally, although I have not been privileged to be watched by my husband. It is so because in this country, our men are not allowed usually into the labour room to witness the delivery of their babies. Any husband that sees his wife bringing new life into being will be proud of her certainly. It is a fulfilment of marital wishes and aspirations. The presence of my husband in the labour room will encourage me in pushing out the baby”.
Chief Leonard Ikeagwu, a father of five children, objected to a husband’s presence during labour. “I won’t like to witness my wife delivering our baby. If there is a complication that requires surgery, I may fall into coma or may even die while she survives, to face the arduous task of raising a family alone. My absence from the labour room cannot detract my love for her. The relationship between my mum and me shows how I love women generally,” he said.
Mrs. Tomi Falode, a mother of two, declared: “I will not like my husband to be present when I am delivering our baby, because most men don’t have the courage to absorb shock. Men are weaker emotionally than us. Judging by the way they panic when we, their wives, are in labour pain, it is obvious that if the role is reversed, scarcely will any of them dare to be pregnant, let along give birth to a baby. A husband, seeing his wife in labour pain, may interfere in the business of the nurses or doctors attending to her. It can complicate matters. Some men have assaulted doctors and nurses for not giving their wives the treatment they, the husbands, had considered necessary. If a wife dies in her husband’s presence, it will have more traumatic effect on him than if the tragedy was in his absence. Labour pain can only elicit sympathy and not love from her husband. Sympathy and love are not the same. Love is deep rooted and it comes naturally”.
Mr. A.A. Arusi, a young father, recalled the curse on man and woman after their disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden as recorded in Gen. 3:16-19. To the woman, God said, “I will greatly multiply your pains in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children…” To Adam, He said, “In the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread till you return to the ground…” In view of God’s curse, Mr. Arusi said, “The labour pain a woman undergoes is her own input into their family building. Whether I am at the scene of delivery or not, it cannot reduce the pains. I have my suffering to face as the bread winner. I cannot transfer it to my wife. My presence or not is not a measure in determining my love for her”.
We must be grateful to the Lord Jesus, Who has paid vicariously for the curse, making the pain to be ordinary human pain.
In conclusion, let me say that there should be no controversy about whether or not a husband should be present in the labour room. What is important is that the couple should pray for the survival of the child and mum.
By Chimezie Agwu, retired Bank Manager: 07082882568
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0909 041 9057; [email protected]