OCTOBER 13, 2010

Birthing pains
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Microseconds after a couple becomes pregnant, the wife signs them up for a preparation for parenting class, which, more appropriately titled, would be called something like “How to have a baby just like millions of other people on the planet have done for untold millennia.”
Why anyone would think it’s necessary to have a class to learn what young women anywhere in the world already know how to do is beyond me.

So, here’s the picture. Right now, at this very moment, somewhere in the jungles of New Guinea there is a teenage girl with no education, no experience, no doctors, and no hospital giving birth to a baby. Right now, at this very moment, there is a highly educated American couple in their late twenties taking a multi-week, detailed course to find out how to do what the New Guinea girl is doing right now.

The secret, untold truth is (Spoiler Alert!) nobody needs to take this class. And that is for a couple of reasons:

1] You’re not going to remember anything you learned when the big moment finally arrives. Having a baby is a lot like planning an exciting trip to Tahiti. You wait, plan, and prepare for this wonderful adventure for nine months. The excitement is almost tangible as the moment comes for you to finally board the plane. About halfway into the flight when you‘re over nothing but ocean the plane starts to nosedive. Panic is sweeping over the airplane as everyone around you is shrieking, clutching their armrests, and saying their prayers. At that very moment, the person next to you leans over and asks you what your driver’s license number is. Or to name your anniversary date. Or your birthday.

The point is, it doesn’t matter. You’re not going to remember, for the same reason you won’t remember anything you learned in a preparation for parenting class. And that is, it’s always hard to remember stuff when people are screaming. Especially when one of those people is you.

2] You are paying medical professionals to deliver the baby for you. These same medical professionals will tell you that the classes are helpful and that they want to you be informed, that they want the patient to be an active participant in the process, but this is total nonsense.

Don’t believe me? Okay, how about this: the next time you’re sick, go to the Internet, read up on your symptoms, and then try to have a discussion about your medical opinions with your doctor. Then come back and tell me how that went.

And the truth is, there is not much you can add to the process. The type of information the nurses need to hear from you isn‘t, “Okay, I’m ready now. I think we should start thinking about delivery.” Believe me, they are already on it.

No, the things they need to hear from you are the things that you don’t need a class to know. Things like, “Wow, this hurts” or “Wow, this really hurts” are the only things they find helpful.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good idea to educate yourself about your options. Take your spiritual options, for example. Basically, there are only two ways to go: God’s way or our way. It all comes down to choice.

God‘s way is kind of like having a baby. It usually involves some hardship, struggle, and sacrifice, but in the end, you wind up with life. Man‘s way, on the other hand, is like telling your wife you don’t want to take the preparation for parenting classes; it might seem like a good idea, but it’s very likely to cost you your own life.

So, my advice is go ahead and go to the classes and learn stuff that you don’t really need to know. How will you know that it was the right thing to do? Well, you’ll still be alive for one thing.

(Next month: Don’t mess with the pregnant lady!)

Charles Marshall is a Christian comedian and author. Visit his website at charlesmarshallcomedy.com