The Non Miracle

I have had the experience of watching two children born, and while the experience is interesting, to have it twice is probably twice as many times as a fellow should have it. I mean to say – and this has been said many times before – there really isn’t much for the man to do, and the event seems best left in the hands of the womenfolk.

What was certainly agreeable about the two births I’ve witnessed was that they took place in the labour-rooms on the maternity wards of hospitals. This is where the next generation should be born. Not being a cretin, I don’t consider conception, gestation – and certainly not the birth itself – as ‘miracles’ or any sort of spiritual occurrence. I confess to being irritated by those who do. As would be expected of someone with my crusty, old fashioned views (I am elderly 41 year old) I’ve no time for the sandal-wearing vegetarians who want ‘baby’ (where’s definite article?) to be born at home in a birthing-pool filled with natural yoghurt while dad – naked himself, obviously – offers bowls of lentil-soup to his mother and his wife’s lesbian ‘birthing-partner’. If common sense prevailed the father would at his club sinking a few snifters with the chaps, or at least down the pub with the boys.

The first of the births witnessed by me brought with it auditory hallucinations of crying babies which lasted for several days after my son’s entrance into the world. The first occurred in the labour room prior to his appearance. The midwife had suggested the female might want to stand up (a gravitational ‘helping hand’) for a few moments. She duly did, and as she did so I looked sharply over my right shoulder, into the opposite corner of the room, for the source of the crying. I had heard it as clearly as I heard the midwife’s voice. Before the little one made his entrance, I turned – it was almost an automatic reflex action – several times, looking for the crying baby in the empty corner of the room. The mind does play some odd tricks. Here’s another one: we had been told that the female was carrying a girl and we had told friends and family what we were expecting. After his entrance I looked at my son thinking ‘Aw, how cute, a girl with testicles…’ It took several moments to realise a girl with testicles was actually a boy.

The little one had been home for a few days when – with the female out of the house – I heard loud crying coming from the (there’s the definite article) baby’s room. I took the stairs two at a time, muttering to myself ‘okay, okay – give me a second’ while the crying got louder, and I opened the door to find the room in darkness and silence. The little chap hadn’t stirred at all. I had been convinced the crying was real; so certain, in fact, that the darkness and the silence rendered me speechless for a few moments. I have no idea if these odd hallucinations were due to some part of my mind being anxious about something, but by the time the second one was due I was laying in the labour-room sucking on the gas and air that was freely available from above the bed.


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