At last - I've got on to a proper computer so that I can blog. Meet Anna, my new granddaughter - whom we're currently waiting to greet home. She's wonderful and well and her big sister can't wait.
All this had me reflecting on my own experience of childbirth, and how things have changed. When Anna's father was born, in Dunoon Hospital, I stayed in for a week - not because I was ill, but because that's what we did. It was very restful and we all had a good laugh on the ward, doing one another's hair and eating chocolate cake. I daresay we moaned a bit too. One thing we didn't see all that much of was our men; they appeared at evening visiting, which was for fathers. Grannies, friends and siblings came for an hour in the afternoon. The rest of the time was for us to slob around in, look like frights, sleep with our mouths open, have showers - all without caring. There was no-one to see. The babies slept in the little nursery; we could have them when we wanted and fed them when they wanted - but when we wanted some down-time, they were looked after and we didn't worry. Time enough for that when we got home.
Now, it seems, fathers take up residence in the ward. They lie on the bed, sit holding the baby while mum takes a shower, chat to other dads. Other visitors have regulated times, but the dads are there all the time, apparently. The baby is beside the mother's bed, and she changes nappies as if she were at home. Dads are pressed into service. The atmosphere is a far cry from the peaceful space I remember. I would find it completely stressful to have other people's husbands in the same space as my dishevelled self - we used to spend the hour after teatime putting our faces on and washing our hair so's to look wonderful for evening visits. Progress? Total involvement?
Of course, there was a time when childbirth was Women's Work. Men were banished from the cave/hovel/whatever, and the Sacred Mysteries remained just that. I would never want to return to the perils of childbirth in the raw, but I wonder if the ancients didn't have something. Maybe we need a kind of via media.
Now, back to the kitchen. Someone has to do the cooking, after all ...