It goes by many names, including but not limited to the "Daddy Stitch," the "Husband Stitch," or sometimes just the "Extra Stitch." It all refers to the same thing, though: a procedure after a birth that involves either an episiotomy or tearing, when the doctor sews a woman's vaginal opening to be smaller than it was before birth for the purpose of making sex more enjoyable for her male partner. It's mostly discussed as a joke... because it's so, so funny. Here are some responses to the daddy stitch joke that will, hopefully, stop it from ever being told again. Because blagh.
The daddy stitch is shrouded in mystery, and seems to be half urban legend and half something that actually goddamn happens because this world is a trash fire of epic, mind-numbingly painful proportions. Sometimes this "joke" involves a secret deal between a dad and a doctor who, apparently, is all too happy to oblige. Such a funny, funny joke. Ha. Ha. Other times the doctor just merrily "does everyone a favor" and obliquely hints about it after the fact. Again, so hysterical.
Hopefully you've never encountered anyone making this stupid and deeply problematic jest, but if you ever find yourself overhearing (or being asked), "So, after she was done pushing... did she get the daddy stitch?" Here are some ways you can respond:
Because, seriously, WTF? Who even are you? Number one, the term itself is so, so gross and for another... ew. Just shut up. You need to say fewer words.
"That's Not How Vaginas Work"
Just think about it for a minute, because this whole concept makes absolutely no sense with just the tiniest bit of thought. Making the vaginal opening smaller isn't going to get the inside any tighter. That's like making a smaller front door and claiming it's somehow changed the square footage of your apartment. No! You've just made it more uncomfortable to get inside... you idiot.
"What About Painful Sex Is Appealing?"
OK, so let's say "the daddy stitch" makes sex more pleasurable for the penis involved (which, per my point above, is debatable). What about the person with the vagina? I'm going to go ahead and say "no." Beyond that, I'm going to say that making an artificially smaller opening is going to make things straight-up painful, because it's affecting the vagina's natural elasticity. Would anyone seriously be so selfish to suggest making their partner suffer through sex so that they can have the delusion that she's "tighter"?
Ugh. You know what. Don't even answer that. I don't want to think about it.
"Can You Say 'Medical Malpractice'?"
So often with this oh-so-hilarious joke, the implication is always somehow that the doctor "snuck it in" or did it without being asked as a "favor" to the woman's husband or partner or whatever.
Here's the thing, though: doctors are morally obligated not to sneak in unnecessary procedures. Particularly not ones that can (and likely will) negatively affect your life. Honestly, what kind of psycho goes around giving unrequested medical transformations without someone's consent? That's not funny or sexy. That's the plot of a horror movie.
"Why Are You Talking About My Vagina?"
They're called "private parts" for a reason. My children understand this concept. Jeez.
"A Postpartum Vagina Doesn't Need To Be Fixed"
Of course there are times when some stitches are necessary to help heal tears and lacerations. But there need be no extra stitching to fix imaginary damage because, somewhere along the way, sex education failed the dude brah bro man in someone's life.
Does your vagina change after birth? Sure, it's possible. You gave birth. An entire human came out of there! But does your vagina transform from a snug tunnel of muscle between your thighs into a gaping, cavernous pit of despair? Absolutely not. Vaginas are awesome. They're very stretchy, but hold their shape super well. It's not like childbirth dooms you (or your partner) to a life of joyless, frictionless sex.
"That's Really Insulting To Good Men Everywhere"
Good men would never, ever advocate for a procedure that would hurt their partner or be performed without her explicit consent. Assuming "the daddy stitch" is something new fathers would universally advocate is insulting to the good men out there who would never dream of such a thing. It's assuming but, moreover, validating that sexist and abusive behavior should be the norm.
Seriously, I just had a baby and all you can do is think about how quickly my vagina can go back to making penises feel good about themselves? No. Stop.
"My Vagina Doesn't Exist For A Dude"
The "daddy stitch" concept highlights the unfortunate belief that vaginas aren't so much an intimate body part attached to a person with thoughts, feelings, and ideas. It's certainly not a source of pleasure for the vagina-haver. No, when you get to this level of rhetoric it's clear that a woman's vagina exists to give another person pleasure.
"You're Joking, But This Actually Does Happen And It Shouldn't"
While there are no official statistics out there on this "procedure" (which seems way too polite a phrase), anecdotes abound on message boards, mommy groups, blogs, and even doctor's offices. Even the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists admit that it's something that happens.
Now sometimes a new mom can be in on it which, OK, fine. Again that's not how vaginas work, but fine. It's your body you do what you want. But the truth is that, among these anecdotes, many women did not consent to this absurdity. This is completely unacceptable.
"I Didn't Need It, Bro! He's Big Enough To Satisfy Me Without Modifications!"
Because, hey, if you're going to play this selfish, objectifying game, I'll play right back.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.