Have you, folks, heard of the covada?
It’s a tradition that existed among some primitive tribes in South America, Indonesia, and Europe (among the Basques, for instance). When time would come for a woman to give birth, the baby’s father would take to bed and start pretending to go into labor. Everybody would gather round him and go, “Push, just push! It’s ok, txiki, you can do it! We can almost see the head!” The father would huff and puff and scream like he’s really in labor.
In the meanwhile, the laboring woman would go alone into the field or the woods, give birth without any help or company, come back, and hand the baby over to the father. Then she’d go back to work while everyone would gather around the beaming father and congratulate him with giving birth. The father would stay in bed for a few days, recovering from “labor” and pretending to breastfeed the baby, and everybody would fuss around him.
Covada was common in matriarchal societies that were on the verge of transforming into patriarchal societies. Men would pretend to be women to rob women of their power. By pretending to take over the female childbearing role, they signalled that women were dispensable, unimportant. We all know how that transition worked out for women.