Nadia Kabir Barb
In the last month, I have had the pleasure of meeting a new addition to the family of two of my friends. One was blessed with the arrival of a beautiful baby girl and the other with a baby boy. You would have thought that having had three children of my own, I had had my share of the whole baby scene, but there is something about seeing and holding a new born baby that just pulls at the heart strings. To me, the birth of every child is a little miracle. From the moment a new life is conceived to the moment it takes its first breath, it is a wonder. How amazing is it that for nine months a baby is totally self-contained in the mother's womb? It gets all the nourishment and the protection it requires from its mother. I don't believe there is any feeling that can surpass that of the first time you hold your baby in your arms. There is also nothing more endearing than when your baby grabs hold of your finger with its tiny little hand. You can't help but want to protect and love these adorable yet demanding bundles of joy from every pain and sorrow that you know will come their way.
When we went to the hospital to wish the proud parents, it was delightful to see the wide eyed excitement of my children. My eldest daughter was besotted from the moment she laid eyes on the tiny little figure swathed in its blanket, my youngest was full of questions such as, "Does he open his eyes? Does he cry a lot?" and even my son was intrigued by the fact that new born babies were so small and actually rather cute. I even had a few hopeful requests from all my children for a baby brother that had to be nipped firmly in the bud! As if it was as simple as walking into your local supermarket and picking up a bag of sugar! Seeing little babies may make me get broody and nostalgic about my children growing so quickly, but not that broody!
Having had all of my children in the UK, my husband has been with me for the birth of each of our children and to be honest I cannot imagine having gone through it all by myself. I have found that the birth of each child is an experience that you share with your partner. Unlike back home, starting from the attendance of the ante natal classes which give you a general idea of what to expect, and is optional for one or both of the parents to attend, to the ultrasounds and then to the actual birth of the baby the father is fully involved. As far as I am aware, in Bangladesh, the father is not really a part of the pregnancy or the birth. Although I hear that there are some fathers who do accompany their wives for their regular check ups with the doctor. It seems rather sad that you cannot share what is supposed to be one of the most important moments in your life with your partner. For the father to be present at the birth allows them to experience the miracle of life and gives them an insight into what a woman has to endure to bring that life into the world. I don't think that sitting outside and waiting till a doctor or nurse comes and announces the birth of your child can compare to the feeling of being present at his or her birth. When your husband is by your side especially if you are in such an alien environment with only doctors and nurses attending to you, it gives a woman an incredible amount of moral support.
I am sure in many cultures it is not seemly to have your husband inside the labour room in the same way that it may not be acceptable to have a male doctor attending to you but I really think the prerogative to decide whether or not the father of the baby should be present at the birth or not should lie with the person actually giving birth. It is a shame for both parents not to be able to share both the pain and subsequently the joy of something as miraculous as having a baby, together. However, if the father in question is slightly faint hearted and of the squeamish variety then he may turn out to be more of a liability than an asset in the labour room! I once heard about a father who in trying to help his wife with the breathing technique started hyperventilating and ended up passed out on the floor.
Babies represent new life, new hope and new beginnings and something that not only the mother but also the father should be a part of. But then that's just my opinion…
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