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Labor and Delivery, Starring Betty Draper

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The childbirth scenes made me happy I had my kids in this decade!

mad men betty draper and don draper

Liesl Bradner: The Emmy-winning AMC hit "Mad Men" (featured today on "Oprah") is well regarded for its story lines that remain loyal and true to the clothing, trends, current events, and social attitudes of the early 1960s. It's the scenes displaying primordial parenting skills that cause many viewers to wince: Kids without seatbelts climbing in the front seat, playing with dry cleaner bags, little Sally sneaking sips of Daddy's martini, and all that second-hand smoke.

A recent episode centered around the birth of Betty and Don Draper's third child, which was a painful reminder of the birthing process (and lack of comfort) during that time. When Betty was wheeled into the labor room, a burly nurse abruptly stops Daddy Don and sternly tells him "Your job is done" (as if it ended at conception) and banished him to the "father's lounge," where he meets another dad-to-be with whom he shares a bottle of scotch whiskey. The first-time dad is kept in the dark about his wife's progress until a graduate from the Ratchet School of Nursing nonchalantly informs him that he has a son, he was breech, and his wife, who had a transfusion, "is recovering, as she lost a lot of blood."

In the next scene, Betty is informed that her regular doctor is unavailable, and to deal with her delivery. When asked if she'll be "giving the baby the breast," she quickly snaps "NO!" as if it was beneath her. Mind you, at this time in our past, many believed that breastfeeding was for the lower-income families that couldn't afford formula.

Betty is eventually knocked out in a Demerol-induced "twilight sleep," hallucinates, and wakes up with a baby in her arms.

Do you think husbands should return to the waiting room? Do they have a place in the labor room? Have we lost intimacy by revealing, uh, a little too much?


next: Mom Fights to Save Lives After Daughter Dies
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