May 14, 2008

Some Old French OB: Seeing Your Kid Born Will Make You Crazy, Divorced, And Sexless

Michel Odent is a crazy old conservative hippie of an obstetrician who may be influential for bringing water birthing and low-intervention home birth to France in the Seventies. He's also an insufferable crackpot who makes sweeping, off-the-wall scientific pronouncements based on random, unsubstantiated anecdotes instead of actual data. One thing's as predictable as Pavlov's dog, though; if you're "dar[ing] to smash the limits of political correctness and ask whether men should really be present at birth," the UK's Daily Mail don't need no stinkin' data. They'll give you all the space you need to repeat your ten-year-old noodlings.

Odent says fathers participating in childbirth cause "long and difficult labours" because they ask questions and project their tension, which prevents women from getting in touch with their primal, "nonthinking" selves. Then they touch the baby before the mother does, which delays the delivery of the placenta. Then men go crazy and don't tell anyone. Or they have a schizophrenic breakdown. Or they go golfing and then get divorced. And then seeing his wife give birth will ruin "the sexual attraction he feels towards his wife over the long term." Because he likes a little mystery. After all, he's French.

The problem is that this practice, instigated around 1970 by "a handful of women," has unthinkingly become the norm for everyone.

Obviously, you should talk about what'll happen when the kid comes with whoever's carrying it. If your pregnant person is set on pursuing Odent's flavor of midwifery, and on successfully activating her fetal ejection reflex in "complete privacy"--with or without the assistance of champagne--or if you have diagnosed mental health issues or are considering leaving her anyway, you will want to consider Odent's recommendations very seriously. Otherwise, you should give it the same weight as the advice of the guy next to you on the plane, or as the random posting on some blog.

A top obstetrician on why men should NEVER be at the birth of their child [dailymail via working dad]
Odent, circa 1999: Is the Participation of the Father at Birth Dangerous? [midwiferytoday.com]

More of Dr. Odent's writings are at BirthPsychology.com
, the favorite unaccredited, pseudo-scientific credibility provider of the BabyPlus Prenatal Learning system! [birthpsychology.com]

1 Comment

Interestingly, I wrote about this exact article earlier in the week

Although I wasn't as nice as you were.

[It's a very bloggable topic; Paul also referenceda post by Andre at Lost Parent Diary about it. -ed.]

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