39 weeks and 5 days. Slow latent labour for three days. Lots of sleep and sandwiches.
Two things happened yesterday, which is quite a lot for me as maternity leave is the most mind numbingly boring experience I have ever sat through. I have read every book in the house and I’m becoming addicted to Bargain Hunt and posting Facebook statuses about it.
We went to the midwife for a routine antenatal appointment, kinda hoping that she would give me a ‘sweep’. Just the word invokes marigolds and James Herriot. We walked into the small room and yet again there were two midwives and three chairs. My partner had nowhere to sit. I attempted to draw attention to this by offering half my chair to my partner and we all laughed. Hahahaha. He leant against the wall. We raced through a few things, no sweep today (disappointed faces), urine clear (relived faces) and fetal heart beat heard (happy faces) and then we were gone, shown out the door by the visiting midwife with a cheery “see ya Friday”. Not once did anyone talk to dad, no hello, no goodbye, no smile at the heartbeat, no offer of a chair.
We sat in the carpark for a while, trying to think positively about the lack of progress in labour and planning our next move. Sex involving a pineapple seemed the only solution.
We were quiet. He sighed and said he couldn’t come to the next appointment. He had begged, borrowed and bargained to get the afternoon off work and there was no way he could get any more time off this week unless he used the annual leave he had stored away to extend paternity leave. He said that it had been a waste of his leave coming to this appointment, that he learnt nothing new, it was like he wasn’t needed there. I needed him to be there and he needed to be there but what he really needed was some acknowledgement that he WAS there. It was, he said, like the time I went to his works ‘do’ and was ignored by the team. I swore I would never go back again, why would I go somewhere I wasn’t wanted? Why would he?
I told my friend about this last night. Her words of wisdom (which I seldom listen to anyway) were shocking, even for her. She reckoned he should stop bleeting on about his hurt feelings, that he should man up, that I was the one carrying this thing (she is not one for babies) and I should be getting all the attention. Well, my hormones could take no more. Through snotty tears and I managed to sob “But I neeeeeed himmmmmmmmm”. She told me to pull myself together. So there it goes. Men, man up and stop bleeting. Women, man up and do it on your own. Until we are all so busy Manning Up we don’t talk to each other about anything. In fact, let’s live in separate towns.
In bed last night (no pineapples involved) we cuddled up and talked about manning up and how ridiculous it is. And just how ridiculous it is not to have a chair for a dad. We think you and your policies and systems and gender stereotypes and exclusions and leaflets and rudeness are ridiculous and we laugh at you. HAHAHAH!!! To all services we say “Man up you lot, and stop bleeting on”.