This is an anonymous guest post.
Let me start by saying to you modern Mormon men out there that this is not meant as some "how to" post with the goal of explaining how to get out of something you should do. If you are reading this so that you can avoid childbirth classes, then all I can say is MAN UP! In fact, that may be the best point of this entire post, so I guess now I'd say READ ON.
Step One: Have Someone You Love Get Pregnant
Sure, this is a rather obvious step, and, trust me, it looks odd if you just breeze into childbirth classes without someone who might soon be giving birth.
Step Two: Lack the Emotional Awareness of How Terribly Frightened you are of Childbirth
This step can also be very, very easy. As guys, we are socialized to be super heroes, James Bonds, and Captain Moronis who always have a plan and are always in control. All of that goes completely out the window when someone you love gets pregnant. There is no plan; you control nothing. When someone you love is pregnant, you can do nothing to make the nausea stop or soothe the emotional or physical pain she is in. You cannot make sure that the baby grows properly or that it doesn't get turned around or that it doesn't have some serious defect/comes out pulling for the Florida Gators. Also, because of the Male Code of Silence, which, like the rules of Fight Club, must never be discussed, guys who have women they love who are pregnant cannot talk to other guys. Yah, we can complain about stuff as a lame cover for abject terror, but we don't say, "wow,
this is surprisingly painful and frightening." We cannot talk about fears of delivery mishaps or tragedies or anxieties about coming up short or disappointing the one (or, as will soon be the case, ones) we love. And, of course, the inability to talk about such fears only reinforces them.
Oh, and one more little note: part of the reason why we cannot discuss these anxieties is because often the women in our lives don't seem to have the means to hear them. All too often, if men sound afraid or worried it is seen in comparison "with what she is going through." Once the hint of "oh, you think you've got it bad" comes out, you will get blasted for comparing your plight to hers. Nothing makes you sound more like a [word redacted because this is a family-friendly blog] then sounding like you are comparing your challenges with hers. And with that, the possibilities of a discussion with the one you love, trust, and cherish the most are foreclosed completely.
Step Three: Have a Tendency to Use Humor as a Defense Mechanism
This does not have to be a strong tendency, mind you, and if you ever try to blunt the dagger-points of anxieties with puns or jokes or parodies or references to Holy Grail, then you can check this off.
Step Four: Make Even a Few, Well-Timed and Frankly Brilliant Jokes in Lamaze
You will be shocked, frankly shocked, how easy this is if you have completed the three previous steps. Oh, and in your mind, trust me, you will be brilliant! A moment will come when the instructor will mention serious complications and the possibility of an emergency C-section, and you will say to your partner: "you know what could really help you sort through these important issues … orange mocha frappuccino." Or someone else will mention intense contractions or passing out, to which you will naturally respond by whispering, "my lips hurt real bad" or "I'm not quite dead yet." Or you will raise your hand at just the right time and with just the right mixture of sincerity, feigned ignorance, and naïve optimism and you will ask the instructor, "so when will I get my epidural?" Okay, they don't sound all that funny here, but, trust me, you just have to be there, and, in your mind, they will be comedic gold!
Yep, that will do it. Sure, they may not literally frogmarch you out of the building, but it will be clear that you are not welcome. Perhaps the instructor will say something, something that starts out subtle and ends with insinuations about your maturity and fitness as a father. Perhaps you will get the evil eye from other women. Or perhaps your loving wife will just say that maybe you can use some "alone time" to catch up on your studies or some work while she goes to the classes. Or perhaps, because you're a modern Mormon man and you're smarter and more self-aware than some of us … we need not say who … you will find people around you who can help you process your fears to such a degree that you can provide the love and support that you want to provide. And then you can keep your brilliant comments to yourself, masked only slightly by a wry yet supportive smile.
Image credit: Nate Grigg (used with permission).