I'm sure it is very unfortunate if some men are no longer attracted to their wives after seeing them give birth, but at the same time...get over it, dude.
And not every man gets over it. Several men have confessed to me that they never regained the same romantic view of their wives that they had before seeing them deliver children.
"They ended up having to cut her open to get the baby," one patient told me. "I saw it. I mean, how am I supposed to get that out of my head? Every time I look at the scar, it's like I'm seeing it again."
In the most striking cases, the symptoms that men experience come close to post-traumatic stress disorder, with its roots in the witnessing of an event that involves a threat to the physical integrity of self or others and responding with intense fear, helplessness or horror.
Boo-fucking-hoo. How do you think it feels to actually be the person getting cut open? How about having a miniature human being come out of your vagina, how are you liking that? 10 centimeters is full dilation. I know I'm not the only woman who contemplated the 10-centimeter top of a can of coffee and thought, "there is no way in hell." Maybe all these women should get vaginal plastic surgery to help ease the pain for their husbands. Hymen restoration, even!!
The fact that the subject is taboo also means that a man who is traumatized by the experience may be retraumatized again and again, with each child born to him....
I myself recall feeling as if the clinical focus on childbirth during prenatal classes, including the detailed descriptions of the placenta and the meconium, took away from the wonder of the process, rather than adding to it.
I don't know what is gained by showing the cross-sectional anatomy of a woman's torso to her lover.
Oh, I don't know...maybe an understanding of the physical processes involved in pregnancy? Most Annoying Guy Ever: "I think all that mysterious female stuff should just remain unknown, so I don't have to think about creepy womb-stuff." God, just don't go down to the bottom of the bed, no one's making you! You might have thought that of all things in life the experience of childbirth would be incontestably and solely about the woman giving birth. You'd be wrong.
Whether the father is present in the delivery room is a couple's personal decision, of course.
But it is a decision that involves potential gains and potential losses, and too few couples realize that fact or are willing to talk about it.
Women may want to consider the risks as they invite their partners to watch them bring new life into the world. For some of the passion that binds them together may leave their lives at the very same time.
Wow, so against my desire to have the guy who knocked me up actually help me out as I go through the most intense, painful experience of my life, I have to set his oddly-easily-quenched future sexual desires. Luckily for me, I didn't marry a total asshole, so I didn't have this problem.
UPDATE: welcome Slate readers! Please see my follow-up post above.