The Death of the Labor Coach

Friday, June 06, 2008

Somebody write the obituary. The labor coach is dead.

As of today there have been 17 comments on my original "labor coach" post. The comments have been very revealing and underscore my contention that labeling us as "coaches" is a complete misnomer. The majority of your comments show that both husbands and wives are shying away from the whole "coach" title as witnessed by the 14 alternatives that have been suggested thus far:
  1. Assistant NBA Coach
  2. Bat Boy
  3. Ball Boy
  4. Water Boy
  5. Sweat Mopper
  6. NFLNBAMLB Coach
  7. Yes Man
  8. Boxing Trainer
  9. Boxing Corner Man
  10. Secret Service
  11. Anxious Fan
  12. Jack Nicholson
  13. Something to Touch
  14. Coach's Best Friend
Nearly all of the alternative suggestions describe the role of the husband as one of being hands-off and behind the scenes while blindly carrying out orders that are uttered by a drug-induced woman. Let's just bury the whole "coach" thing. My three favorite titles that better suit the ideal husband's role during labor and delivery as submitted through the comments are:

3) Something to Touch (Submitted by Jami): I think the NMW and I had some sort of physical contact during every contraction, so my wife probably agrees when Jami said, "I must be able to touch him at all times" during labor. The NMW seemed to prefer something as simple as a hand to hold while her contractions came and went. A hand to squeeze seemed to help her more than any of the "Good jobs", "'Atta boys", or "Breathe! Breathe! Breathe's!" that I could have offered during labor. I wonder if a heated, stiff corn bag would have the same effect if we ever have baby #4.........

2) Boxing Corner Man (Submitted by Jeremy): How many of you immediately thought of Rocky's Trainer, Mick, when Jeremy mentioned that he feels more like a boxing corner man? In his own words, "I give suggestions from ringside, 'Slip the jab. Circle! Get you hands up.' In between rounds I towel her off, offer more suggestions and keep her loose." Perhaps the most famous scene from Rocky is when he goes to the corner with a huge swelling around his eye and says, "Cut me, Mick". Mick dutifully whips a razor blade out of his bag and cuts Rocky's eye open. I'm not saying that a husband should perform the C-section or anything, but it appears that our wives want us to be just as subservient as Mick was in that moment.

1) Sweat-Mopper-Upper (Submitted by Lindsey): As a kid I used to envy the teen-agers who would frantically mop the sweat off the the floor at Jazz games after Mark Eaton or other large, sweaty men would fall down in the lane. Big Mark and his 7'4" body use to leave so much perspiration on the floor that a man once caught a 9-lb. bass in one of Eaton's sweat puddles. The role of the sweat-mopper-upper is a good model for husbands during labor for three reasons: 1) He keeps his job simple. 2) He plays an important role in ensuring peoples' safety. 3) He stays behind-the-scenes and only emerges when absolutely needed. This seems to be exactly what women want - a husband who keeps it low key, is pretty hands-off, and gets the job done just the way she wants it done.

The Sweat-Mopper-Upper role illustrates the disconnect between men and women in the poll results. Did anybody else notice the obvious "Men are from Mars and Women are From Venus" subplot involving the MLB manager method of coaching? If not, here it is:

-Guys: What type of labor coach are you? Number one answer was MLB manager with 50% of the vote.

-Ladies: Which type of coach do you wish your husband was? Last place was MLB manager with a whopping 0% of the vote. (That's right, MLB manager received 0 of 24 votes).

In other words, the style that most husbands tend to use is the same style that most women find least desirable. I guess shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens, and 'Till Death have been right all along - men and women are very, very different. Who knew?

So guys, if we learned anything from this post is is this - Mark Eaton is really, really sweaty. I guess the second lesson is that we need to give our wives a little bit of space during labor while we immediately fulfill all requests for ice chips, Sprite, pillows, blankets and medications.

Just don't call yourself a coach while you do it.


Vlazny's said...

I shoud have thought of this from the beginning: I am Farm boy from The Princess Bride. "As You Wish" was my motto during our week in the hospital, and so far this pregnancy has been no different. I guess from now I should only answer to Westley, Farm boy, or the Dread Pirate Roberts. However, Farm boy seems more fitting, i'm not much of a pirate.

8:06 AM
Shelle said...

Okay this post was totally hilarous! I blog surfed over to your blog and I wish I could have put in the vote...because I love the ring side one...I think for sure that best describes my husband during labor! I was laughing so hard...

and Mark Eaton was really sweaty!


11:42 AM
Michelle said...

It does seem a little sad that the father's role in childbirth is becoming less and less. I think if I actually had to do more than lay there with my arms strapped down (c-section), I would love to have my husband's encouraging words and support. As long as it didn't turn into "advice". Because let's face it, I probably wouldn't recieve it very gracefully. :)

9:16 AM

Our mom (Bonnie) told us that we should check out your blog because it was so funny. We have to agree....this was really funny. We just had our fifth baby 6 months ago and wish we had this information back then. It would've come in pretty handy. We're going with the above, Princess Bride Farm Boy role. "As you wish" seems to work well for us in any situation. Congrats on your new baby!!!

6:12 PM
The Petersons said...

I think your blog is the best thing out there! And now I have my husband hooked! ha ha Thanks for checking out my blog, that was really sweet!

10:11 AM
Joni said...

I would call my husband Something to Smell. His smell was so reassuring during those contractions. Other than that I just needed him there. Nothing else. Though "As You Wish" is a great idea.

12:18 PM
danny ainge said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.


10:17 PM
Stylecoach said...

This is a great article. Thanks.

11:11 PM