By Tania Kurd Mirza:
She is in childbirth, she is in so much pain, she feels like she is going to die…but the pain is joyful pain, she is giving birth to her child…yet why is her husband not allowed to be with her?
In Kurdistan, hospital employees do not allow husbands to stay with their wives during childbirth, but why not – for what reason is this not allowed? There is no impediment to prevent a man from being in the same room as his wife as she gives birth, not in State law or Sharia law (1). If it is a matter of ethics then how cruel these are; there is nothing worse than giving birth to your child alone.
In fact it is only right that a man be with his wife when she is giving birth; who better to comfort her through this pain, wipe away her tears; it is only right that he be the first person to smell his baby! This is not the men’s fault. Doctors and employees in the birthing unit are female; why do they not realise that a woman needs her husband by her side during childbirth and implement changes so that it is allowed? Why are they behaving and thinking like uneducated men, without compassion?
When a woman goes into to labour, she is taken to the hospital and accompanied by her mother, sister or a woman from the neighbourhood, and her husband is notified by a telephone call that his wife is in labour. All he can do is wait outside the front of the hospital for hours while his wife is alone in a room, screaming in pain!
Women doctors are responsible for keeping them apart; what is wrong with them, do they not understand how a woman feels under these circumstances?
Another big problem, is the fact that women going through childbirth are all together in the same place within the birthing unit, even the ones who tragically have stillborn babies. These poor women have to witness other mothers’ joy at the birth of their babies, whilst being in despair at losing their own. I once saw a woman whose baby died during child birth, and she was crying and screaming, “Why am I here with these women”? I need to be alone, my baby has just died and I can’t bear to hear the cries of other women’s babies, I feel like I am going to die!”
You…Madam Doctor! Do you understand me? Do you know what I am talking about? This is mine and my husband’s baby, so let him be with me to help me stay strong, I need my husband with me while I give birth to our child!
During pregnancy, husbands should be informed on how to make their wives comfortable and happy; they should be taught how to welcome their child after the birth. Why don’t women doctors speak with new fathers? Why don’t they teach them how to treat their wives during and after pregnancy?
Isn’t it punishment enough that a woman has to go through childbirth alone? Her pain would be relieved so much if her husband could hold her hands during childbirth, and husbands would gain so much respect for their wives as mothers, after witnessing the pain they experience to give them a child.
You know we have to change many things.
Let’s be the modern community…..
(1) Islamic Canonical Law based on the teachings of the Koran and The Prophet (Hadith and Sunna), prescribing both Religious and Secular duties and sometimes retributive penalties for law-breaking. It has generally been supplemented by legislation adapted to the conditions of the day, though the manner in which it should be applied in modern states is a subject of dispute between Islamic Fundamentalists and Modernists.
Tania Kurd Mirza is a lawyer and women’s rights activist