Jewish World Review April 5, 2001 / 11 Nissan, 5761
Number one-ranked European Golfer Lee Westwood is not playing in the Masters, which starts today in Augusta, Georgia. It is the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. Why? Because his wife is expecting their first baby, she's due any day, and he wants to be by her side for the big event.
News flash for Mr. Westwood: He was by her side during the important part nine months ago, and he can be by his new little one's side in what really are the all-important days, and months and years to come. For now he should play golf. It is his job after all, to which he has a responsibility, so he should let his wife and her doctor handle the delivery. At the risk of pointing out the obvious, there just isn't much he can do there anyway, so why put himself through the self-flagellation of missing the Masters?
Westwood can trust me on this, after all I'm expecting my own little one (baby #4) in June.
Now I don't know Mrs. Westwood, but I do know that today's liberated woman seems to think that giving birth is the one thing in her life for which she actually needs a man. Put another way, men, who quickly learn that in all other ways they've become totally dispensable to today's independent female, find they have one duty left: be present and accounted for when she grunts out the baby, or society will turn it's evil eye on you.
Westwood is hardly the first high profile husband to leave pressing responsibilities, including responsibilities to others, to wrap what's left of his manliness around his pregnant wife's little finger in order to "be there for her" while she gives birth.
But it's hardly as if this child can't come into the world without him, or will somehow miss his dad if pops isn't there waiting for his arrival. And what about Mrs. Westwood? Yet another news flash: women have been giving birth just fine, thank you, without their husbands present, for thousands of years.
But today that's all changed. Men are supposed to "feel the pain" of their wife giving birth, all the while biting their lips, shedding tears, and feeling terribly, terribly guilty that they can't carry and deliver the baby themselves.
Hey, if a husband really wants to be in the delivery room, o.k. With mixed feelings, at least as far as I was concerned, mine has been present for the births of our children, although I don't think he's ever missed a full day of work for one. And yes, he intends to be there again in June. (Though he has an important out-of-town business engagement, which neither one of us would think of having him change, around the time of my due date.)
But I might ask him to sit this one out after all. Because with each baby I've become more enamored of the idea of my honey thumbing through a magazine and smoking a cigar while he waits to hear the good news. I mean sure, in my own way I enjoy giving birth, but I'm downright crazy about my husband, which is precisely why I'm not sure I want to mix the two. In any event, I would never insist on it.
And that's really the problem. Not that fathers can be in the delivery room if they truly want to be, but that today society has deemed it MUST be so at all costs, and regardless of whether the poor fellow would rather endure the Spanish Inquisition than watch his wife give birth. Whatever his true feelings about attending the delivery, Mr. Westwood, who went so far as to admit in a statement that he was "extremely disappointed to miss the Masters," has clearly been indoctrinated with the message he had no choice in the matter.
Today, ask any feminized thinker of either gender if a male, because he's a man, brings any unique strengths to a marriage relationship or special attributes to parenting, and you will be scoffed at. At best, men are incompetent "co-moms" who have a lot to learn from the nurturing female, while she and her children have nothing to learn or gain from his masculinity.
But boy, he's indispensable in the birthing room even if it means giving up
his spot in the Master's golf tournament to be there. Mr. Westwood, enjoy
it. It's the only time fashionable society will tell you your family really
04/02/01: 'Reforming' free speech