No work in labour

A Breaffy Man in Castlebar
There’s no work to labour

Edwin McGreal

Apparently I was a tough birth.
My mother doesn’t tire of telling me that. Most men are familiar with the spiel - ‘you don’t know what I had to go through to bring you into the world’.
Women never tire of using that line against men. How tough they have it and how men can never truly know the meaning of pain.
‘How could they? They never have to endure childbirth,’ they moan.
If we had a Euro for every time we were told that, we could have put ourselves through college.
Any pain you ever endure down through the years is treated with an illusion of sympathy before the old line is wheeled out.
‘Broken shoulder? Ah you poor lad. It reminds me of when you were born, except that was worse. Way worse’.
‘You’ve a cold? God you’re an awful bad patient, you don’t know the meaning of pain’.
Yes, we get it hot and heavy and we’re not expected to understand.
I’m sure it is mildly painful but I’m going with the view that women around the world are using the ignorance of man to put one over on us.
It is probably barely painful at all. But, ‘ssshush, don’t give the game away ladies, it is our own little secret. We’ll always have this one up on them so let’s flog it for all that it’s worth’.
And who are we, as men, to argue? Modern medicine may have made quantum leaps but childbirth has remained the function of women.
It is their own little weapon against us.
It is, I think I am right in saying, a worldwide conceit perpetuated by every mother in the world to make us feel guilty.
All those screams during labour? Merely the act of a drama queen.
And the health service is in on the trick as well. All the money spent on maternity wards is all just a cod. And don’t get me started on the fraud that is maternity leave.
It was twenty-eight years ago today that I entered the world weighing nine pounds eleven ounces.
I can recall that weight as quickly as my own name. To most people 9-11 is a reminder of a day of disaster in America. In the McGreal family home, it means only one thing - every last ounce of suffering I inflicted on my mother.
Funnily enough my two sisters don’t get reminded as much about their arrivals. But then they weren’t three weeks overdue and the size of a calf.
Okay, maybe I was a tough birth. Maybe labour is difficult. There you go, an admission. Just don’t expect it too often. It’s not what we do well.