Boy oh boy! (or girl oh girl!) we seem to be running out of things to argue out, so let's close 2010 with the raging dispute about how horrible it is that a hospital in Western Maryland is not allowing fathers, brothers, aunts, Steven Spielberg, or anyone else to bring a camera and their artistic eye in the delivery room for the first five minutes of a baby's life.
Imagine that! Check the news story about a woman who has had the tradition of snapping the lens for all seven of her previous young'uns, and now bemoans the fate of #8, who will not be photographed as he or she plummets into the great new world that she or he just became a part of, a world in which every breath, every movement, every moment of even the tiniest significance is digitally recorded, enhanced, and shared with the world via YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and Judge Judy.
I can understand wanting to have pictures of Sonny Jim shortly after the blessed event takes place. In our day, the fathers were required to pass the time in a lineoleum-tiled waiting room, smoking Old Golds and pacing. They durst not go near the delivery room for fear of being asked to boil water. Now it's much better, and the father, having attended most of the LaMaze classes, and having studied on the current standings of the LaLeche League, is in touch with his inner self and is ready to be of assistance as needed. But, having been to medical school, the doctor is pretty much ready to handle the birth, leaving dear old dad to set up lights, tripods and those umbrella things for the flash, the better to record the very moment of Stewie's arrival.
Those who are yelping about the policy of the Meritus Hospital, which tells PhotoDad to just cool it with the camera for five minutes, are claiming that the first time they make eye contact with little Junior is a valuable moment that cannot be forgotten. Therefore, they have to have a picture of it.
Over the years, I have been shown still photographs of the wife of a co-worker, nekkid except for a coating of Betadine all up and down her strike zone, as she lay awaiting the birth of her child. I am absolutely not making this up. Much like a flip book, the stack of 125 following photographs could be riffled through to make like a little movie...first you saw the woman and then you saw her giving birth, or you would have, if you hadn't handed the stack back to the dude and run screaming for the door.
Then we were at a friend's once and she asked if we would like to see the baby's video. Act 1, Scene 1, was our friend's private parts in extreme close-up. I ran for the door and watched Live With Regis and Kelly to bathe and soothe my eyes.
So can we agree that birth photos and videos might be a nice thing for the parents to have, and certainly a fine souvenir of the day little Whoosit came to be, but the rest of us are not interested in, or comfortable with, seeing splayed pudenda and legs akimbo of someone we actually KNOW?