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.
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.
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.