dear boomer

Dear Boomer,

While I’ve never given birth to a child, I am a mother, and I have a few thoughts regarding your comments made about New York Mets’ second baseman Daniel Murphy and his paternity leave that prevented him from playing on Opening Day.

1. C-sections are not games. Very rarely are they offered because a woman wishes to have her child on a certain day to avoid some type of “scheduling conflict.” They are almost always reserved for women who have health risks or who’ve had prior babies via C-section. Why is that? Because they are dangerous. They carry a higher likelihood of complications for both mom and baby — running the gamut from minor breathing issues to uterine rupture. 13 out of every 100,000 women die after C-sections each year, compared with 3.5 out of 100,000 vaginal deliveries (source).

2. Childbirth, in general, is not a game. Regardless of the method in which your baby makes it into the world, and regardless of when that occurs, anything can happen in the days after a child is born (says the woman who watched as her daughter spent nearly six weeks in the NICU for a variety of issues). He or she can develop unforeseen complications, as can mom. Just ask someone like Matt Logelin, whose world was turned upside down when he lost his wife after their daughter was born. Ask any parent who has lost their baby suddenly after birth — and there are plenty to ask. Nearly 19,000 babies died in 2006 during their first 28 days of life in the United States alone.

But the interest in a father being present at his child’s birth and immediately following isn’t based on fear of tragedy occurring. I imagine it’s mostly just about doing the right thing. Which brings me to my final point:

3. Being a dad is not a game. In a society that’s consistently harping on men to be more involved with their families, to be better role models, I find it refreshing that Murphy wanted to take a few days off to spend with his wife and newborn child. 24 MILLION children in America live without a father in the home. I’m sure that number would be higher if you counted the households where Dad is constantly focused on work instead of engaging with his wife/partner and children. Instead of berating Murphy, we should be celebrating him as an example to which ALL fathers — famous or not — can live up to.

The only game here is baseball. Murphy understood that it needed to wait, and kudos to him for having more brains (and balls) than you and anyone else who criticized him for stepping up and being a man.

Sincerely,
Katie

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