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Losing Respect for Labor Pains

September 2, 2010

Last week I had kidney stones. If you have had kidney stones you know that they are officially “the closest thing to giving birth that a man can experience.” You will know this because, as you are writhing in pain, every female you ever knew will find a way to come by and mention it to you – sometimes in an effort to show sympathy, sometimes gleefully.

The underlying message, “the agony you are going through right now is something women take as a matter of course,” was, however, undercut by my wife. She didn’t do it intentionally, she just gets a little overwhelmed at times. I’m sure she really wanted to hold the party line, but, well, the refrigerator needed cleaning.

Yes, in the midst of my suffering, I cleaned the refrigerator. And cooked, and did dishes. My wife asked me to because she was getting flustered by the increased workload that comes when one family member falls ill. I love my wife and strive to do what I can for her, but I did feel a little put out by her requests. At one point, I said “you do understand that this is causing me pain, right?” Her response was “I understand that the refrigerator needs cleaning.”

So I cleaned. But I remember. I remember everyone comparing my pain to labor. I remember what I was able to do through it all at the request of my spouse and I remember the “sympathy” she showed when I voiced the issue I had with the requests. And I came to realize, all these women complaining about their labor are making a mountain out of, if not a molehill, than at most a mid-sized berm.

So, from now on, I figure that if I can clean the refrigerator with kidney stones than as long as your contractions are more than three minutes apart, you still have time to do a load of dishes.

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