On Monday a Las Vegas Fire and Rescue crew helped
deliver a baby girl
. This nice story, with its mildly enjoyable wordplay, isn't particularly newsworthy. But it does suggest something worth pondering: Could it be that Labor Day is a missed opportunity to honor motherhood? Yes, we already have Mother's Day, but it's a bit sentimental and abstract and is just as often observed out of guilt as it is out of respect. Nothing wrong with flowers once a year, but it's also good to contemplate the effort your mom expended to bring you into this world. Not just the labor (although I hear it can be painful), but the carrying before and the nursing after. A healthy pregnancy will subject a woman to all sorts of physical and psychological strain; there are many complications that can make the suffering far worse. Nor should we forget the rare but very real risk of death. Statistically speaking, giving birth in America in 2023 is about as dangerous as being a roofer.
Just because childbirth happens all the time doesn't make it any less remarkable. Overheated talk of "toxic masculinity" and the like in recent years have prompted a necessary corrective. Men do some good things too, actually — such as the building and maintaining of civilization. It's tempting to take this too far and accuse the ladies of freeloading, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. For civilization, you first need to keep humanity going — and that's women's work.
There is men's work, of course, but it's not quite the same. Even those jobs most suited for men can be filled by a woman. She may not thrive, but she will experience it firsthand. On the other hand, can any men really understand the visceral experience of pregnancy and childbirth? We have a stake in it, of course, and are permitted — if not obliged — to opine on ethical issues like abortion. But when it comes to advocating for motherhood in general, those of us not eligible for the position might want to display a little humility.
"Her life doesn't revolve around her family and kids so instead it revolves around TV shows and pop stars. Worst of all she's too stupid to realize how depressing this is." So
wrote Matt Walsh
when her shared the TikTok of one Julia Mazur describing a typical Saturday as a childless, single woman on the verge of 30. Walsh's point about the selfish vapidity at the heart of the "child-free" movement is worth making, but he fails to justify singling out a relatively obscure "influencer" (Mazur has 24,000 followers to Walsh's 2.5 million) to represent it. Moreover, the way Walsh reads sinister intent into Mazur's innocuous, tossed-off commentary is worthy of the most hysterical wokester. Does she really mean to "promote a life of meaninglessness and despair"? A more charitable reading would be that she's putting on a brave face and making the best of a bad situation (in other videos she mentions a recent break-up, as well as the fact that she works from home and feels isolated). That Mazur doesn't want to have children or thinks her current single life is superior to having a house full of kids is just extrapolation
There's simping, and there's ... this. Neither is a good look for guys. We'd do better to offer her encouragement and prayer, if we must say anything at all. Anyone who's been through it knows that the birth of a child tends to redeem the life preceding it. Was the time really "wasted" if it somehow led to this unrepeatable miracle? The article about the girl born in Las Vegas didn't include the mother's name or age. We don't know if this was her first baby or fifth, or if she's married. We can't even speculate about her "body count." None of this matters, of course. She had a job to do and she did it.
Like many God-given gifts, the capacity to bear life can also be a burden. It creates huge expectations without necessarily conferring any respect; expect to be ignored, but do it "wrong" and you'll never hear the end of it. Are we so sure we'd handle the pressure better? Mothers are similar to firefighters: we take them for granted until we need them. The Labor Day laboring is thus a heartening display of solidarity in keeping with the holiday. Men, in the course of their unsung labor, helping a woman perform hers.
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