A rousing, almost philosophical debate broke out in a recent email thread forwarded to Jezebel from the dads section of the Park Slope [Brooklyn] Parents listserv, when one father posed a significant ethical dilemma to the other dads: Is it okay to see Pearl Jam for the 19th time just four weeks out from when your baby is due?
How comfortable would you feel about going up to Boston for a night to see your favorite band 4 weeks before your partner’s due date?
This will be my first child and 19th time seeing Pearl Jam. Also, it’s at Fenway. She was initially against it and I didn’t fight her. Then she went down to DC to see Beyonce and Jay-Z and came back being more open to the idea of me going. She won’t be coming, mostly due the pregnancy, but also has no interest in the show.
Anyway, I’m very likely going - unless she has even the slightness indication that it’s go-time before I leave. I will also be checking my phone fairly regularly throughout the show for updates. Also, I’m going to leave Boston first thing in the morning and will arrange for her parents to be on call while I’m away.
Curious about what you all would do in this situation.
Even though you might argue that four weeks is not cutting it THAT close to the due date, others in the thread quickly, might I say wisely, advised him not to do it. Some choice quotes in the responses include:
“Which would you regret more - going and missing the birth or not going and missing the show and the baby isn’t born.”
“I would skip it. If you’ve seen Pearl Jam 18 times already, you can miss one more concert. It would be much more supportive of your partner if you stayed.”
“I wouldn’t go but I know my wife and things that she is OK with in the future often go south quickly all of the sudden when the future becomes the present :)”
“The statistical odds of her going into labor a month early and being in labor for less than the 3-4 hours in would take to get home can’t be much different than the odds of her giving birth while you’re at work right around the due date. The only thing holding you back in my mind is whether this is a battle worth fighting.”
But other Park Slope dads didn’t really see a problem with it, especially since car-sharing services could easily whisk away the OP to the hospital, god forbid his wife goes into labor:
“You should go. It’ll be fine, and you’re only 4 hours away or less via car or Uber etc.”
“First babies are slow. She’ll most likely go before or spot on for her due date. And labor will be a good while. If you get in a car and leave the second she says she’s going to the hospital, your odds are excellent. Also, it’s going to be harder to go to concerts in town let alone out of town once the baby is out and about.”
Then shit started getting... deep.
The risk is absurdly small that anything will happen. But the penalty is huge. Your wife may never forgive you and you would be missing the most important event of YOUR life.
On the other hand, the chances are tiny. If the OB doesn’t see any problems then the odds of being that premature are basically zero.
This is where logic can’t help you.
A very small chance of something bad happening times a huge loss of missing the birth and your wife never forgiving you.
Suddenly this wasn’t just about a Pearl Jam concert, but a discussion on the foundation of the OP’s marriage and his soul. Calculations were made. Risks measured.
I think this may be the greatest number of posts on the Dads list since that “dad hacks” email when everyone just responded with waffle recipes.
The reason you’re getting so many responses is because you hit on a nerve. PJ is the kind of band that is important to a lot of people; that connection means something. And the fact that it’s the first time or the twentieth doesn’t matter so much. It’s something that is important to you. But that doesn’t mean you should go.
Like others, I first went straight to the calculations: how many hours, how many shows, probability of seeing Eddie another time, probability of missing the baby. Because yeah it probably turns out fine, though the folks who mentioned risk/reward are right: Never make a bet you can’t afford to lose.
Which brings me to the fact that this isn’t just about whether you miss your baby’s birth or get in trouble with the boss. [Editor’s note: Boss?] It’s about the fact that marriage is a partnership built on the bedrock foundation of trust that, no matter what, person A will be there 110% when the person B needs them most. And no one wants to break that trust, because broken trust may be the hardest problem for any relationship to overcome.
And then, I don’t know man, some of these dads started to sound like a mythical troll who lives under a bridge and dares you to answer a riddle in order to cross.
I’d answer the original question with another question: are either you or your wife the sort of person who buys insurance that isn’t required (life or disability, or even little things like the warranty on a new TV or dishwasher), or would if you thought about it?
If the answer is “no,” and you’re certain of it, then maybe you decide to gamble. If the answer is “yes,” or you think it might be “yes,” then you stay - that is your insurance against the low probability but very bad outcome (i.e., not being there to support your wife through the birth of your child).
Personally, I buy the insurance.
Eventually, our dear OP came to a decision, one he assures the group that his wife is fully on board for:
...Collectively, you made a lot of great points - some I had considered and some I had not. I would say that there was a slight majority in the ‘Don’t Go’ camp, though there were many who suggested that I go. Additionally, a number of you messaged me privately, and I think those were mostly affirmatives.
Now to my decision. After carefully reading all the posts and sleeping on it, I’ve decided to go to the show. Ultimately it comes down to the minimal likelihood that my wife will go into labor during the 22 hours or so I will be away. I understand that there is risk and that missing it would be THE worst thing that would ever happen - something I would never be able to forgive myself for, but I just think it’s not going to go down like that. Also, we’ve arrange for her parents, who live in Manhattan, to be on call while I’m away.
And somehow nobody asked the one question I wanted someone to ask which is: WHY HAVE YOU SEEN PEARL JAM 19 TIMES??????????