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Husbands in labour room: Why not?

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What do we call this Law? Do we call it barbaric or archaic?
I am referring to the laid down rule that is against men/husbands being in the labour room with their wives during child delivery. I believe we all know what child birth is all about, but only a few numbers of people are aware of the challenges, pain and agony women face during this process. Why should the health personnel be the ones to decide who stays or leaves the room or what gender to be ruled out completely from the whole delivery process? Men are a part of their wives’ life as they are emotionally, physically and mentally attached to each other which makes them one hundred percent qualified to be in the labour room with their wives. Besides, a lot of them would wish to be there to witness the birth of their babies.

Some weeks back, I did a research on this particular issue to get people’s reactions and opinions. To my greatest surprise, eighty five percent (85%) with male respondents surpassing the female, frowned against the rule as they viewed it as insensitive. Ten percent (10%) of the respondents were indecisive on the whole issue as they didn’t bother which party was allowed in or not. While, five percent (5%) supported the whole idea because they felt it’s a woman’s duty and burden to bear alone. Here are some of the responses from the male respondents who were against the notion, “it’s crazy how I can’t be allowed into her room to be with her when obviously I am responsible for putting her in that condition”. Another said, “its not possible, we just have to be there together” but one said, “ the rule doesn’t make sense at all, but it favours me because I am a very emotional person so It won’t be advisable to be there as I might begin to cry when I see her in so much pain”. Well obviously, a lot of women were against but surprisingly we had some who were okay with the rule as their response was, “why should a man be with his wife during labour, isn’t it our duty”.

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Well I believe it’s a collective responsibility of both husband and wife to be there together at that period of hardship, pain and joy which sums up the entire definition of child labour/birth. This law isn’t something to be approved let alone allow to stand for this long period of time regardless of their own reason which I am yet to understand. The country had been faced with, and is still facing several challenges which needs tough rules and more standing policies in tackling these problems but nothing has been done in this aspect, rather, our policy and law makers overlook these problems and interfere in issues they are not supposed to be the ones making decisions or they end up making useless decisions and implementing baseless rules.

Assuming our health care system was great, it would have been a different ball game entirely. Now making this kind of rule when we have a tacky health care system full of flaws, makes the rule look like a charade to me. First, as a lot of hospitals lack basic health care equipment people won’t feel safe leaving their wives alone with the health personnel because anything could happen in that ward without the knowledge of the woman’s family members. Mistakes could happen either from the nurses or doctors during surgery or birthing process which could take the life of the mother, child or even both.

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As a husband, it is a necessity to be there with your wife so as to give her moral and emotional support to encourage her not to give up. Also, you never could tell how destiny works. If anything goes wrong, you should be with her at least during her last minutes or the baby’s so you don’t suspect any foul play.

Furthermore, from the research I got to know that some nurses normally hit women or abuse them out of wickedness in the process for reasons best known to them. I can’t imagine how a nurse whose duty it is to assist, now raise hand to hit and insult these pregnant women, taking undue advantage of their helpless conditions.

For me, this is enough reason as a man to fight in other to be given the privilege to be with my wife during labour. We are in the twenty first (21st) century, if our women were not valued in the past, now is the time to change everything. Let the women also be given the opportunity to choose whoever they want to be with them in the ward when giving birth, without being oppressed. There should not be any limitations or restrictions to only women or mother because it’s not everyone that has a family member; some women might have lost their mothers, so in this case who would stay with her. Some don’t even have a sister. So why suffer these women because of gender preference during child birth. It’s about time we take a step towards eradicating this unjustified and depriving rule placed against both gender as a result of the entire child delivery process.
Hassan wrote from Zaria, Kaduna State.

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