Daddy Night? (with updates)

Last night, as our birth class was wrapping up, the instructor announced, “Okay! That’s it for tonight. Next week will be all about Daddy! We’re going to have Daddy Night!”

There have been these “Daddy” handouts each week that J doesn’t get, and I have wondered what we’re missing. Now there’s going to be a whole night, and I have no clue what this means. Is J going to have to pretend to be “Daddy,” or is she going to have to pretend to not be our baby’s second parent? Actually, what is more likely is that she won’t attend because she is, quite understandably, quite bothered by this. We’re both more than a little disturbed that even though we’re one of just four couples in the class, we’re somehow not even considered in the class plans. 

Sometime today I’ll call the childbirth educator and find out how this class pertains to us and our birth, where there will be no daddies present. I’m not looking forward to this.

Update #1

I placed a call to the instructor and left a message letting her know I had some questions about next week’s class. I then fell asleep and missed her return call. Her message, however, did reveal that she knew (or thought she knew) why I was calling. She had planned to call us to fill us in on what happens on Daddy Night. Apparently, the men always feel so left out (gag) that she has a night for them where she shows videos on what it’s like to be a new dad. Then, they go into a separate room and they talk about their fears, concerns, worries about becoming new dads. The “moms” stay in the room with the instructor and practice breastfeeding positioning with dolls. She let us know that we were welcome to come to watch the daddy videos but that we could certainly show up late for the last hour of class when we’ll discuss more about labor.

It seems to me she hasn’t quite understood why I called. That, or she just doesn’t give a shit that there is going to be one person there who feels left out all around. My wife is not planning to nurse, so she’s not going to practice breastfeeding positions, and certainly the guys aren’t going to want her to have their male bonding session with her present, so where does she go?

So, I left the instructor another message, and informed her that while I appreciated her filling me in on the content of next week’s course, I still have some concerns. We’ll see what happens when she returns this call. I’ll be sure to post another update. For now, I’m still positively fuming.

Update #2

I finally spoke with the instructor, and I voiced my concerns about my wife being left out, and she felt terrible. I told her that I wished we had known that there was going to be this sort of focus at all during this class. She did defend her choice to help the dads learn about becoming nurturing fathers, but she also wanted me to know that she does consider us in her language choices and in how she presents the class materials. It seems that she just doesn’t know how to fit us in to this one class and still help the guys. As frustrating as this is, I had to acknowledge that she has done well with her language use, which, as we all know, is important. J and I agreed that if she’s working hard to combat old-fashioned ideas, language, and thinking habits about parenting, there is something to be said for that.

And so, her solution was this: she’s holding a private session for us next week to go over the information from Tuesday night’s class. This way, we don’t have to go and be uncomfortable, and we still get the information that is applicable to us. We both agreed that this will be fine, although it doesn’t resolve the issue of feeling singled out. Alas, this is where we suck it up and deal–and we chalk this up as a lesson in researching our choices more.

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18 Comments

Filed under birth class

18 responses to “Daddy Night? (with updates)

  1. Ugh. That is so frustrating. We were lucky to have our birth classes in a very queer-friendly town, and though we were the only gay couple there, our instructor was very tolerant and always said “partner,” etc…You should definitely make your discomfort known to the instructor, hospital, whomever runs that program, though, because .. wow..I just can’t believe she said that with you in the class! Arg!

  2. That sucks. I can’t believe the instructor said that with you two in class. How fucking insensitive. Good luck with your call. I hope you can talk some sense into this so-called ‘educator.’

  3. nutella

    That is horrid and inconsiderate. It sounds to me as though there is a portion of her teaching that is specifically excluding you. If I were in your position not only would I complain but I would ask for a partial refund on the instruction that you cannot benefit from.

  4. That is awful! I agree with Nutella-you’re not paying to be excluded. I confronted our instructors about something similar and they denied excluding us, which was strange. I hope that you have better luck.

  5. Urgh. That sucks. Does she even make eye contact with either of you while saying these things? Hope the phone call goes well.

    BTW–what’s going on with the cat??

    • reproducinggenius

      Oddly enough, she did look at us. Weird.

      The cat is doing a little better. She has only had one binge/purge session since we implemented the “no going outside while we’re gone” policy. Keeping her calm seems to be the key. As far as we know, there has been no more peeing. I’ll keep everyone posted, but for now, we’ve got a bit of harmony again.

  6. cindyhoo2

    Perhaps in such a large group, the educator did not notice that you do not have a daddy in the family? *dripping sarcasm*

    I am glad that you are calling the instructor. Like you I would want to know what “daddy’s night” means. Is it all about how the non-pregnant partner can support the laboring partner? If so, sounds like a good evening! My question is: why the term “daddy’s night?” Surely single women have gone through the class with a parent, sibling or best friend acting as their support? Surely you guys are not the first lesbian couple ever to go through the class. Seems like the educator is holding on to some sort of 50’s idealized picture of the family.

    Good luck. Can’t wait to hear how this turns out.

  7. K

    So frustrating!!!! We too experienced “okay daddies, go in the other room.” I didn’t go and was not comfortable. Such a shame and the instructor should have rephrased the title for you guys. So unfortunate!

  8. Jodi

    I don’t think “Daddy Night” is about how to support a laboring partner. We’ve already discussed those techniques, and she correctly uses the term “coach” when dealing with laboring issues.

    No, I get the sense that this is a parenting topic. The class is supposed to include education about early infant care, and while there has been some good talk about breastfeeding, we haven’t delved into other aspects of infant care, like diapering, soothing an unhappy baby, etc. I actually was looking forward to this part of the class the most as I have little experience with very new babies. If “Daddy Night” is about how to care for infants or co-parent, I’m going to be disappointed that it was presented this way. I need to know this stuff too!

    I’m kind of sad and uncomfortable about this development. I’m weary of being visibly different, feeling excluded, or having my “otherness” pointed out to me again and again. This has happened a lot since T got pregnant. I just want to have this baby and be a good parent. I don’t want to be someone’s test of tolerance or to teach anyone about difference vs. sameness. Sometimes I just want to blend in and be like everyone else.

    sigh.

  9. Wow. I wonder if it would be out of line for me to ask you to email me the instructor’s phone number. Though I guess I can wait to hear what the teacher says when you call.

    “Oh, daddy night is when I tell the fathers-to-be what to do with their penises while their wives are in labor.” Could that be it?

    Besides it being completely bizarre that the instructor would not include 1/4 of the class in an evening for which they paid, I am shocked that the instructor didn’t nod to you and give some further explanation.

    I am very curious, as a teacher and as a person who champions the non-gestational mom, what was going through this person’s head. There is very little in this situation that is not offensive to both you and the fathers. I’m wondering if any time was taken to consider the needs of the non-gestational mom in the room at all. Fascinating. Please follow up soon. I need to know what was said in that phone call.

    • i was going to ask for the same thing!

      • reproducinggenius

        Oh, ladies. I am definitely tempted to hand the number over and let loose the IVP. Honestly, I just wish the woman would have just included some information about her Daddy Night on her literature (she lists just about every other topic she covers) so that we could have avoided her class in the first place. Silly me–I thought a childbirth preparation class would be about, well, childbirth.

  10. I’d be looking forward to that conversation if I were you. Of course, I’ve been the non-bio mom now for 3 years (plus nine months!) and the conversation is no longer uncomfortable. I’m warning you – this is not the last time you will have to have this uncomfortable conversation. I had to have it with our pediatrician, hospital staff, daycare folks, friends, and even family. Eventually, people will start to get that you are just as much your baby’s mom as your partner, and it’s not the same as being a dad. Maybe both of you should show up since neither of you are more the daddy than the other

    • reproducinggenius

      Considering where we live and how rarely we are a big deal, and also considering how hard our extended family works to honor J as an expectant mom too, this IS hard. Considering how little money we have to shell out for birth classes let alone anything else right now, it’s an even bigger slap in the face. I’m sure we’ll encounter it again, and both of us will come up with snappy responses, and we’ll let it roll off of our backs, but right now, as we’re coming so close to the birth of our first child, this hurts.

      Honestly, I’m angry with myself for not researching this class a little better before we signed up. There are plenty of classes in the area that would have celebrated my wife too.

  11. I live in Houston, so I totally understand the slap in the face feeling (since it happens all the time here). Sorry if my comment sounded insensitive. When I re-read it, I thought it came across not quite like I meant it to. It makes my stomach turn flips when people say, oh, so SHE’S his mom. It’s so insulting to me. Or, when we CONSTANTLY have to cross out father and put mother #2, or when people direct all their comments about our son at my wife (or me) assuming only one of us is the mom. I just remember, even at the hospital, there were times when I was treated like a non-parent, which, like you said, at a moment like the birth of your child, is so hurtful. Anyhow, everything sounds like it’s going great with your pregnancy (so jealous! I’m having a hard time getting pregnant…) but so inspiring and touching. Best of luck to you two (three)!

    • reproducinggenius

      Thanks so much, Sarah. You weren’t at all insensitive–and I realize now that my comment seems a little reactionary. Honestly, I was just upset by the whole situaton, but not at all by what you had to say. It sucks that we all have to constantly educate people. We’re lucky to live in the Bay Area in California, where mostly people don’t even blink at two-mom or two-dad families. In some ways, though, going about life as though we’re just another family isn’t wise of us, and sometimes we have to be brought into the reality that so many other families like ours must face on a daily basis.

  12. Next in line

    OMG! That is crazy. We haven’t been to many classes, but they don’t make us or F feel uncomfortable. I haven’t even noticed their language so they must have figured out something that worked. I am so sorry that your class is like this. The only time they have treated us differently was when they scooped us and the they other two mom family aside for separate meeting to discuss if the the non-birthing mom wanted to breast feed as well.

    • reproducinggenius

      That sounds like a great class! We’re at least getting something out of this, but I wish we didn’t feel so “special.” Ugh.

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