A Dad Attends Childbirth Class

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My initial reaction was "I can't believe this nonsense." But after a while I actually started to relax and groove with the patchouli-scented music. I thought, "I've been hypnotized!" and didn't even care.

But back to that first day of class: When my turn to speak came, I cleared my throat and mumbled, "Um, hi, my name is Ken and this is my wife Lisa, and, um, we live in Newton." Lisa turned to the class and added the most important part of the introduction, why we were really there: "I'm hoping to be able to give birth without any drugs." When she said this, I was flooded with a sense of admiration (Lisa wanted to go through an excruciatingly painful process without medication) and fear (Was she crazy? This was going to hurt!).

These mixed emotions continued, even after the class ended. I understood a bit more about pregnancy and learned a few techniques for dealing with pain, but I worried about Lisa's labor. Would she be ready for a drug-free birth? Only time, and one outward-bound baby, would tell.

Ken Gordon thinks new fathers don't get enough playing time in the parenthood game. So he's going to spend the next year reporting on his first season as a dad. He writes for Boston Magazine, Salon, and other publications.

Copyright © 2002. Reprinted with permission of the November 2002 issue of Child magazine.

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